Plugging along at Marston’s Marina

I’ve written before about how April can be a tough month for us here at Marston’s Marina, but we could never have anticipated April 2020. All the marinas and boatyards in Maine, and I suppose everywhere else, are facing a great unknown. The increasing financial pressures are being felt up and down the coast, as most marinas are small businesses with a few employees.

Here in Maine we’re looking for guidance from the state on who can work and how we can continue to prep boats, launch docks and pump fuel. Marston’s is perhaps one of the smallest marinas on the coast. We’re family owned, and our family is our workforce. So we’ve been working. Right now we’re repairing docks and moorings with the intention of having the marina together sometime in May. Working outside in a large open area enables us to keep our distance from each other while at the same time handling individual projects. We have walkie-talkie radios that help us talk to each other. Hand-sanitizer bottles are everywhere. The driveway is cordoned off to stop well-meaning customers from driving too close. We yell back and forth.

Not to overstate the obvious, but this is all new for us, and we’re making things up as we go. Many shops are looking for the new stimulus bill to provide some much-needed payroll relief for yard workers, boat wrights and mechanics. Everyone is in the same lifeboat — pun intended.

So we are plugging along. We receive inquiries from our customers who are still looking ahead to the upcoming season. Governor Mills has extended free fishing licenses as a way to encourage people to get out into the fresh air and have something fun to do. We’re pursuing our business as normally as possible, but the truth is that we don’t really know if we’ll be allowed to open.

As one person said, being alone on a boat is social distancing at its best. Our thought is that if we’re able to put our docks and moorings in the river they’ll represent, to many local people, a little bit of normalcy and hope for the season ahead.

Meanwhile, we listen to advice from Maine Marine Trades Association and keep faith with all the other fishermen, boatyards and marinas here in Maine. Speaking of which, what a memorable way for Maine to celebrate it’s 200th anniversary as a state. Fair winds and be well. Hope to see you on the docks – facemasks and all.

Randy Randall
Saco, Maine