It was another one of those last minute bookings, but this was no small-time boat builder. This was Pease Boat Works and Marine Railway in Chatham, MA. Again, my “real job” schedule was sending me down to Cape Cod within 24 hours and again I scrambled to find a boat builder in the area. I was well aware of the reputation of Pease Boat Works, but I did not realize that they were located right in Chatham. A couple of phone calls later and I had a morning interview all lined up.
By a stroke of luck, the founder of the company, Brad Pease was to be my subject. Pease Boat Works sits on the shore of Mill Pond not far from Nantucket Sound. A walk down to the docks reveals a collection of beautiful and interesting boats lying at their moorings. From a beautifully constructed small work dory moored near the shore to the 40′ Monomoy Express named Solipsys, Pease Boat Works can claim to have built or at least worked on just about every boat in the pond.
Pease Boat Works is one of the only shops in the area to have a railway system for hauling larger boats. Constant maintenance and repairs are required on the railway system, but Brad feels that it speaks to the purist boat owners that would rather have their boats hauled by traditional railway than a monster lift of some sort. On the railway for now sits Brad’s project boat and another employee’s boat which they are hoping to have completed by fall.
In July of last year, Brad and his business partner/brother Michael were recognized by the Chatham Historical Society. Pease Boat Works and Marine Railway received the “Bringing History to Life Award.” I spoke to Brad at length about this after the interview and wished I had the recorder still running. Essentially, Brad is the creative mind of the two brothers. More often than not, the nature of running a business can be very trying to the creative mind. Balancing budgets, talking to customers, bartering over pricing, and bidding for projects all seem to interfere with what Brad is trying to accomplish; building beautiful boats our of wood using traditional methods. This award from the Chatham Historical Society meant a great deal to Brad because despite the trials and tribulations of running a business it was nice to know that someone recognizes what he set out to do when he started the company. Preserve the art of wooden boat building.
Like so many people pursuing their passions, Brad’s epiphany struck him hard and there was no turning back. Brad holds a child-like light in his eyes when he speaks of boats. His passion for his craft runs deep and it is evident both in his words, his work, and his story. I’d love to go into more detail, but Brad explains it all exceptionally well in the interview. Enjoy!
If you enjoyed this…..