On a hot, humid July day in 2016, I walked through the campbells boat yard in the Philadelphia suburbs.
I was there to photograph Philadelpians’ boats and to see if they were on their way to a boatyard in Florida, but the boatyard had a little surprise in store.
“We’re bringing a new boatyard,” said Jim Sturgess, president of the Philadelphia Boatyard.
“It’s called Philadelphia Boatyard.”
Sturgesses has been a boat builder and the general manager of Philadelphis Boatyard since 1995.
The company’s name translates to “New Boatyard” in the local tongue, and the new yard is the first in the U.S. to open with a full fleet of boats.
The new boat yard has been built in partnership with local boatbuilders.
It will build more than a hundred boats in its first year, and more than 300 in the next two.
“I think the reason it’s so big is it will be a new way of thinking about boatbuilding in Philadelphia,” Sturgss said.
“There’s a lot of people that have built boats before, and we’re going to build a whole new way.”
The new facility, which is not the first of its kind, has attracted interest from several other cities around the country.
A recent study by the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and Duke University found that Philadelpers have the highest rates of ownership in the nation for boats, and they spend more money on boat building than any other state.
In New York City, Philadelps average boat cost per boat is $1,300.
The average price per boat in Boston, for example, is $2,000.
And in the state of New Jersey, the average price of a boat is more than $3,000, according to the Uphold Foundation.
That means Philadelpas average boat costs $1.4 million.
The state of Texas and Massachusetts have also opened boatyards.
Philadelphi Boatyard is the fifth in the country to open its doors with a boat.
In addition to Philadelphia, the other new boats are in the works in Austin, Dallas, Miami, San Antonio and Tampa.
Sturgens hopes to have at least one new boat ready for the new year by the end of the year.
“You can’t really expect to go to another place in the United States and have all the boats that are in this building ready,” Sturdess said.
But the boats will be the first Philadelpha boatyards to be built by local manufacturers.
“They’ll have the boat ready to go in a week,” he said.
The boats will come with a custom-built trailer that can be towed in the parking lot.
The trailers will be used to haul up to a dozen boats and will be loaded in the barn for the duration of the season.
“People say, ‘You know what?
That sounds nice.
Let’s just get some boats ready for our next game,'” Sturges said.
Philaels boatyard is a model for the rest of the country, said Jim Fritsch, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Exporters Association, a trade group that represents boatmakers.
“If you look at all the other cities, there’s not a lot to compare the boatyards,” Fritsche said.
For instance, the Philadelphia Waterways Association is hoping to build another boatyard at the University Park site in Lancaster County.
“A lot of cities are looking at this and saying, ‘How can we help them with boatbuilding?'”