Gunboat opened its new catamaran production facility in Wanchese Friday evening. The production hall based festivity was filled with local dignitaries, and supporters of the company’s efforts to create jobs for the year round community in the Outer Banks. The yards first project is the Nigel Irens designed Gunboat 55
|Peter Johnstone - Gunboat Founder|
Gunboat founder Peter Johnstone cited the area’s long fishing and sportfish producing history as a key element in their decision to relocate to the area. “We are so grateful for the labor force here. The can-do attitude of this island area is unbeatable. We could have set up shop anywhere. We chose Wanchese. We will do our best to meet everyone’s expectations. We’re incredibly grateful for the warm welcome to the community, and the outpouring of support. This is a very special area.”
NC Governor Beverly Perdue's office, the State Department of Commerce, the Boating Services office of the State's Small Business Technology Development Center, and the NC Rural Center played an integral role in Gunboat’s relocation effort, finding suitable sites, securing key grants to refurbish state property, and assisting at each step. The local Employment Security Commission, the regional Workforce Development Commission, and the College of the Albemarle helped further with the employee search and training.
Also attending the event was NC State Senator Stan White who formally welcomed Gunboat to the state. Representatives of US Senators Burr and Hagan's offices were also on hand.
Reverend Mary Johnstone blessed the staff, the facility, Gunboat and its neighbors and local suppliers. The ceremony concluded with the ribbon being cut by Laura Harvey, wife of Gunboat’s Chief Boat Builder, Phil Harvey.
Gunboat has a busy year planned. A number of contracts have been secured. Twenty people are already employed, with plans for up to 70 in the coming years.