Ship building makes return to South Coast

Ship building makes return to South Coast

CHARLESTON, Ore. -- The shipyard at Giddings Boat Works in Charleston is a lot louder these days.

They're building not just one, but two boats, the first to be built in the bay area since 1999.

Mike Lee, the general manager at Giddings, says it's nice to see the activity again. "When you came out here you could see all the steel laying on the ground, you get to see all the cars parked around here, all the guys that are working here," Lee said. "This feels beyond belief good."

For the last 14 years, the shipyard only repaired boats with a small crew.

Now they've hired 20 new employees and they're looking for more.

Tyler Harden is a welder, and he says the work couldn't have come at a better time. "I actually had my first kid on the way, and so I was really looking for a job and I came down here to take a weld test," Hardin said. "I started really not knowing anything, and I've been learning a lot, so I think I have a good career going here."

Ship building is definitely not new to the bay area. Asa Meade Simpson built the first major shipyard in the 1850's just north of where the Mill Casino's RV park is today.

Giddings Boat Works is reviving this part of Coos Bay history.

"It's great, I mean, building new structures and stuff like that you know, it's a part of history," Harden said. "It's important."

Lee says that he hopes the future will be bright for the company. "We're hoping that this is a stepping stone to getting our name back out there, that Giddings Boat Works can build boats," Lee said.

The boats should be completed by fall, and are staying local.