They may have been slowed down, but not shut down.
Between juggling work around cold and wet weather, and others fighting off sickness, Destin’s charter boat captains have stayed the course in getting their vessels ready for the upcoming season.
The Fisherman’s Boat Yard, located on Hales Lane near Four Mile Creek, was abuzz last week with more than a dozen charter boats getting that last coat of paint before getting splashed in the water and heading back to Destin.
“The yard will hold about 22 boats,” said Mike Snell, who manages the boat yard.
Snell said he has had about 17 to 19 boats on regular bases, with some popping in and out every couple of days.
“If we can keep it about 20 we’re doing good … (It's) been fairly busy this year,” he said.
The majority of the boats in the yard are getting ready for Coast Guard inspections, prop repairs, paint jobs or getting their names put on.
“They must have had a good year, they are all looking sharp,” Snell said.
Although the yard is about full, some of the boats have been there a bit longer than planned due to inclement weather this month.
“The weather has got us … we had a couple of snow storms to contend with,” Snell said. “Yesterday, it wasn’t good for epoxy but today is good for epoxy. It’s up and down during the winter.”
Capt. Tony Davis of the Anastasia was one of those who were slowed down due to weather.
“I actually hauled out about three weeks ago, but the weather was so bad we couldn’t work over here,” Davis said.
He said the temperature was in the 40s and below for about a week.
“We can paint in the 45 to 50 degree weather, but the boats that are doing the spraying stuff need it warm," Davis said. “They actually painted yesterday and it was 52 degrees and their paint held up pretty good …. The warmer the better.”
Capt. Chris Couvillion of the Sea Winder said “50 degrees is the magic number” for painting and fiberglass work.
Couvillion has been at the yard for two weeks and missed four days of work due to cold weather.
While at the yard, he replaced the trim tab system on the bottom as well as doing some bottom-type work and running gear.
“It was really simple,” he said.
On Thursday of last week, his boat was basically done and he was pitching in and helping others.
“Every year it seems like there’s more and more effort. I think the fleet is awesome. We’re all excited and ready to get back in the water,” Couvillion said.
Capt. Allen Staples of the 100 Proof said he’s been at the boat yard for eight weeks.
“We didn’t have eight weeks worth of work, but the weather has been so bad,” he said.
During his time at the yard, they have stripped the bottom down to the bare glass, sanded all the paint and putty off and then put the bottom back.
When The Log caught up with him last Thursday, he had plans to be back in the water by last weekend.
“I’m getting ready to paint the boot stripe now,” he said.
Capt. T.J. George of the High Cotton was busy mixing up epoxy Thursday afternoon to put on his boat.
“I pulled the boat out and then I got the flu,” George said. “Now I’m trying to make up for lost time.”
After he applied the epoxy to the hull, all that was left to do was paint the bottom and he had hopes of splashing down and heading back to Destin soon.
Capt. Scott Robson of the Phoenix was polishing up the wheels on Thursday.
He brought the boat out on Monday to the yard. While there he has cleaned the bottom, painted and waxed the hull and clean the running gear.
“She’s done,” he said, noting he was just waiting on a part to come in before he could head back to Destin.
Capt. Kyle Lowe of the Special K was getting ready to paint the top side of the boat on Thursday.
“We’ve been here about a week and a half,” Lowe said.
They had a new wrap put on the boat with their logo and did routine bottom work, he said.
Lowe hopes to be back in his slip at HarborWalk Marina by this week.