Island Boatbuilders

by: John Stanton

photography by: Chris Tran

To a casual observer, the hull of the old scallop boat looks like its best days were at least a decade ago. To Mike Allen it looks like a small piece of island history, of his own personal history, that is worth preserving.

“You can look at it and say that was Manny Souza’s scallop boat,” he said. “We’ve repurposed a bunch of boats. You can say that was Eddie Davis’ scallop boat. I remember those boats when they were hot off the press and they were the thing. Now 35 years later we’re restoring them.”

Left to right: James Vincent, Mike Allen, Stacey St. Peter, Norris Feare, Randy Watson (in boats), Peter Wallace and Will Smith.

The fiberglass-hulled boats are a design called Sea Ox. They were once sold out of Prenny Claflin’s Nantucket Shipyard. They were said to be excellent scallop boats. They had a design that allowed them to work really well in shallow water, hold a lot of weight and in general just be a rugged work boat. Now, like a lot of old boats, they are a physical manifestation of memories.

Allen has two of the boats in his shop at Tidal Creeks Boatworks, one built in 1981 and one built in 1983. His team is restoring them.

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