SCRAPING SEASON: Captains work to get vessels in ship-shape for future fishing

About 16 boats are in dry dock right now at the Fisherman’s Boat Yard in Freeport. Manager of the yard Mike Snell says he’s had as many as 24 boats at the facility at one time.

If you've been looking for your favorite charter fishing boat and it’s not in its slip, it may be in dry dock getting spruced up for the upcoming season.

About 16 boats were in dry dock at the Fisherman's Boat Yard in Freeport earlier this week when The Log visited the facility on Hales Lane near Four Mile Creek.

Most were there for painting and an inspection of  the bottoms of their boats, according to Mike Snell, manager of the boat yard.

"I've been painting and scraping," said Capt. Mark Walker of the Bounty Hunter. "I've been here about a week, and I've got another to go."

Walker said he completely remodeled the inside of the vessel and was working on the exterior when The Log caught up with him.

But he wasn't alone.

With sander in hand, Capt. Chris Schofield of the No Alibi had the dust flying.

"I've been up here two weeks and I figure I've got another month to go," Schofield said.

His agenda while at the boat yard includes fixing the blisters on the bottom of the boat and painting the hull.

"It's been 14 years since the last time it was done," he said. In the next few weeks he will be filling in the blisters with polyurethane resin, and then sanding it down before painting.

The crew of the Destin Princess with masks on faces and sanders in hand were also getting to the bottom of things.

"We're taking it all the way down to the glass, getting it ready for a brand new paint job," said Capt. Chris McConnell.

Wednesday was only the second day for the 65-foot boat to be at the boat yard. McConnell said it would take about five gallons of paint for the bottom and another five for the hull. And the paint for boats is not cheap, costing anywhere from $200 to $400 a gallon.

McConnell said it would take about a month to finish the work.

Dressed in a white suit, that almost looked like he was ready to walk on the moon, Capt. Casey Weldon of the Fish-N-Fool was busy working with fiberglass among other things. His to-do list while in dry dock included such things as work on the motors, transmissions, shafts, bulkheads, propellers … and a paint job.

"It's going to be a new and improved Fish-N-Fool," he said, noting it should take him about four weeks to get the boat ship-shape.