Joey Miller of Sinepuxent Boatworks of Berlin, Md., continues to turn out boat after boat inside a chicken grow-out house that he uses as his boatshop.

Throughout the south and over the years, this NF reporter has covered commercial fishing boats being built in deserted fertilizer plants, abandoned oyster shucking and vegetable packing buildings, seine storage sheds, Quonset huts, hay and tobacco barns, inside the family car garage, and under the sky in the backyard. A chicken grow-out house is a bit different but it just goes to show a good boatbuilder can build a quality boat most anywhere.

In August, Miller delivered a 22' x 9' glass-over-wood deadrise skiff to Matt Strong of Chestertown, Md. Strong is working the skiff in Maryland’s blue crab trotline fishery and to harvest catfish.

The keel and frames on the skiff are made of fir, and frames are set on 20-inch centers. The sides are strip-planked with 1-inch-wide juniper fastened with stainless steel ring shank nails driven every 8 inches. The bottom is made of 1/2-inch fir plywood, and bow deck and washboards out of 3/4-inch fir plywood. The bottom is glassed with 1708 biaxial fiberglass cloth and epoxy. The bow deck, washboards and floor (ceiling) are glassed with 1-1/2-ounce mat and epoxy. Miller delivered the boat unpainted as Strong finished off the skiff himself. The boat is powered by a 90-hp Suzuki outboard.

At his shop, Miller currently has 25-, 30- and 32-foot deadrise boats underway for sport fishermen. “I’m seeing more demand for sportfishing boats than commercial fishing boats,” says Miller. “I’m a former commercial waterman. I know their challenge. I wish more commercial watermen could afford new boats.”

Myles Cockrell of Cockrell’s Marine Railway in Heathsville, Va., has several commercial fishing boats at his yard there for repair and has an order to build an aluminum “davit” fish bailer rig for a pound net fisherman.

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Larry Chowning is a writer for the Southside Sentinel in Urbanna, Va., a regular contributor to National Fisherman, and the author of numerous books.

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