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Day Trips

Shipbuilding in Port Aransas

By Gerald E. McLeod, Fri., Nov. 2, 2012

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

The Farley Boat Works in Port Aransas is back after an absence of nearly 40 years. The Farley brothers, who started building pleasure crafts in 1915, are long gone to their happy fishing spot. A group of volunteers have reopened the brothers' former workshop and turned it into a maritime museum. In the back of the shop, behind a 1940s example of a Farley Boat, you can watch future sailors build a boat or, maybe, build your own wooden skiff.

Three generations of Farleys built sport-fishing boats in Port Aransas. The iconic wooden boats were constructed specifically for local conditions. They had high bows to cut through the choppy waters and low sides to give anglers a clear casting space. President Franklin D. Roosevelt took a fishing trip in a Farley Boat.

The maritime museum occupies the last of the Farley Boat factories. On the walls surrounding the restored Farley Boat "Tina" are placards telling the maritime history of the town. In the backroom is the classroom where a new generation of boat builders gets hands-on experience. For the cost of materials, usually about $1,500, students build their own skiff over the course of three weeks.

The Farley Boat Works and Port Aransas Maritime Museum is open daily at 716 W. Ave. C. Visitors are welcome after 6pm, but beware; they may put you to work. For information, call 361/749-3800.

1,109th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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