Mainers and visitors will get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the state’s biggest industries next week during the first Open Boat Yard Days.

Twenty-six boat builders will open their shops for the event organized by Maine Built Boats, the state’s boat-building trade group.

The event is free, and participating manufacturers have agreed to give hourly tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at their yards.

“I believe that the best way for anyone to understand that there’s a tremendous craft involved is to see it firsthand,” said Jane Wellehan, president of Maine Built Boats.

In addition to educating people about the manufacturing process, the event will bring prospective buyers into the shops.

“We wanted to take advantage of the summer months since there’s lots of visitors and potential buyers,” said Bentley Collins, a Maine Built Boats board member and vice president of marketing and sales for Sabre Yachts in Raymond and Back Cove Yachts in Rockland, both of which are participating. “We want people to understand what we are and what we offer to the local community.”

The event will piggyback on Rockland’s Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show this weekend. The show is the state’s only in-water boat show and will feature crafters, gear vendors, live music and food.

“It seems like a very logical link,” Wellehan said. “It’s a great trade to go into.”

Boat building in Maine dates back more than 400 years, and it is the state’s third-largest manufacturing industry. About 450 companies and 5,000 jobs are tied to Maine boat building.

“There’s a tremendous amount of financial activity around the boating industry,” Collins said.

 

Staff Writer Stephanie Hardiman can be contacted at 791-6301 or at: [email protected]