The Fisherman's Boatyard in Freeport was busy this week with many of the Destin fishing fleet there for a bit of maintenance.

The Fisherman’s Boatyard in Freeport was abuzz with sanders on Wednesday as about 18 boats from the Destin fishing fleet were on blocks and undergoing basic maintenance. 

“It’s too pretty of a day not to be smearing something,” said deckhand Danny Brennan as he prepared a mixture of paint to go on the bottom of the Special K. 

The sun was out and the temperature was in the mid-60s by mid-morning. Deckhands and captains were already starting to shed their jackets as they sanded, painted and buffed. 

Brennan wasn’t the only guy with a paint brush or a roller in his hand. 

Capt. Tom Schmitz of the dive boat Under Pressure was lying on his back and brushing paint on the bottom of his boat. 

“We’re just doing a quick bottom job,” Schmitz said.

The Under Pressure has been at the boatyard since the first week of January and Schmitz hopes to be headed back to Destin soon. 

Lending him a hand was Capt. Don Dineen of the Sure Lure.

“We try to help each other out,” Dineen said as he painted. 

Dineen’s boat, Sure Lure, was there and on blocks across the gravel parking lot and was getting taped up for a bottom paint job as well. 

“We’re going to do a little fiber glassing and wax the hull,” Dineen said of the Sure Lure. 

Capt. Rusty Gilbert of the Done Deal pulled his boat out on Jan. 17 and is there for some “normal bottom things … like clean the hull,” he said. 

For the most part, most of the boats at the boatyard are easy in and out. 

“The fleet is pretty healthy … so they are coming out faster,” said Mike Snell, manager of the boatyard. 

Snell said the boatyard has been busy since November with as many as 22 boats in the yard at one time. However, they should be finished with most of the charter fleet by the end of February. 

“By March 15 they’ll be done and already running,” Snell said. 

Capt. Kyle Lowe of the Special K said they hope to be done in about two weeks with their to-do list. They have plans to paint the top side, replace some underwater lights and do some regular maintenance. 

Although most of the captains would be quick to say they’d rather be fishing than doing maintenance on their boat, they like doing it at the Fisherman’s Boatyard. 

“I love this boatyard,” Lowe said. “It’s peaceful and quite up here. And Snell knows his stuff.

“I don’t like boat work, but if I have to do it, I like to do it here,” he added. 

The boatyard is off the beaten path and is located on Hales Lane in Freeport on Four Mile Creek. It’s nestled back off the road and boats can make their way there via, Choctawhatchee Bay to LaGrange Bayou to Four Mile Creek. 

Capt. Joe Quaranto of the Silver Linings speaks highly of the yard as well. 

“I love it up here,” he said. 

Quaranto has been at the yard since right after Thanksgiving. The Silver Lining, is a 46-foot wooden boat and takes a little more work than most. 

“It’s a 51-year-old boat … one of the last wooden boats that’s over a six-pack,” Quaranto said. 

The capacity of the Silver Lining is listed at 13 passengers. 

“We’re putting a new roof on it,” Quaranto said, adding to the height of the wheelhouse. 

Plus, he’s taking the boat down to the wood. Wednesday, he spent a lot of time sanding. Next up will be to prime it, then paint. But the biggest project is the new roof on the wheelhouse. 

If weather holds, Quaranto has plans to be back in Destin in his slip behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar by the first or second week in February. 

But while they are at the boatyard, the guys make the best of it. 

“The best thing about dry dock is, we have a big cookout,” Schmitz said, giving a shout out to Quaranto of the Silver Lining. 

The crew at the yard gathered up on Jan. 17 for a cookout. They had hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, brats, coleslaw and potato salad. 

“I try to do a cookout once a year while we’re up here,” Quaranto said. “Do it out of tradition.” 

Source: The Destin Log

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