Looking over the steel frame, William “Buddy” Davis explained his vision for his made-from-scratch boat.
Pointing, he showed where the deck will be installed, the engine room, and a small window into the part where fish and shrimp will be kept in coolers.
It’s a project the 76-year-old started last year, he said, and has worked on it on and off with his sons over time. It’s something fun for him to do between shrimping seasons.
“That’s all we’ve ever done, fish and shrimp, work on boats,” Davis said of his family. “That’s all we know.”
Davis is one and the same with Davis Seafood in Sneads Ferry and said both his and his wife’s families have been in the fishing industry for years. Davis said he was shrimping with his father almost as soon as he could walk.
Working on boats between fishing expeditions has been a constant in the Davis family, but prior to this boat it’s been general maintenance.
The family’s other boats have been named after family members. There’s Niecia Ann after his wife, Barbara Joe after his daughter and son, Capt. Davis after his father, and Capt. Red after his father-in-law.
This boat, which doesn’t have a name yet and will be 72 feet long, was started as a hobby just to keep Davis busy.
“I can’t just sit around,” he said.
He works on it mostly in the winter and the in-between months, he said – that steel gets too hot to touch under the North Carolina summer sun. The boat will be made completely of steel since good wood is so hard to find, he added.
It isn’t just working and keeping busy that keeps this 76-year-old spry, though.
“I eat a lot of chocolate,” Davis said, smiling. “I love sweets.”
Davis has no idea when the steel boat might be water-ready, but “finishing” the boat isn’t how he’d describe it.
There’s always something to do on a boat, he said, from sand blasting to painting and other maintenance jobs. Just like anything else, Davis said you have to keep a boat up in top shape.
“You can work on a boat all your life and you wouldn’t never finish it,” he said.
Reporter Amanda Thames can be reached at 910-219-8467 or Amanda.Thames@JDNews.com