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The brown fabric is scuffed and stained, evidence of the kind of work that wears and tears on jackets and their owners.
On this day, it’s shielding Rick Jones from the slight chill of a day in mid-May on the north east coast of Newfoundland.
A stiff breeze blows across a clear sky towards a cove in Trinity East, rippling the navy blue water along the forest green hull of Jones’ brand new longliner, the Pease Cove Endeavour.
A small crew of men, including Jones’ sons Travis and Matthew, are busy squaring away the last of the to do’s on the vessel.
Construction began on the 45-foot fishing boat last summer, her keel first touched salt water on May 2, 2020.
An aluminum spar lies on the beach at the water’s edge, awaiting a boom truck to lift it into place on deck.
There’s also a 500-gallon water tank to install, concrete ballast to add to the keel to increase stability, and other bits and bobs to finish off in the wheelhouse and crews’ quarters to make the bright green longliner ready for work.
She was built with capable hands.
Tim Marsh of Marsh’s Construction in nearby Bonavista supervised the build, with the help of his father, Wayne.
Wayne Marsh is known in these parts as a master boat builder. One of his best known projects was the 1998 construction of a replica of John Cabot’s 1400s-style sailing ship The Matthew for the Town of Bonavista.
Boatbuilding was once the majority of his livelihood, but downturns in the fishery changed that.
Over the past several years home construction and renovation projects have kept them busy.
“This is the first longliner we’ve built in five years,” said Wayne. “There’s not a lot of them being built these days.”
It’s the first longliner ever built and launched at Trinity East, according to local history, says Rick Jones.
It’s the fourth longliner Jones has owned in the four decades he’s been fishing.
“We started our last boat in 1992 during the cod moratorium,” he says with a grin, “and now we’re finishing up this one in COVID-19.”
He can’t help but chuckle at the irony.
In his years in the industry, he’s seen a lot of ups and downs, success mixed with worry and frustration.
Yet he remains positive about the fishery, and so far his optimism has been on the mark.
It’s given him a livelihood for all this time, and it’s doing the same for his sons.
Thanks to re-investments in the fishery, they now have four inshore crab licences to fish from this boat.
“All my sons like it (fishing) and we makes a pretty good living at it. And we’re (working) close to home,” said Jones.
He added he’s never ever thought the fishery could not be a future for his three sons.
Travis and Matthew fish with him and his other son, Corey, fishes with an enterprise out of Port de Grave.
With this new boat, the Jones’ hope to increase their odds.
“The boys figured we needed a bigger boat, because the herring and mackerel seems to be on the rebound.”
This boat is 34’11” long, The same length as the longliner they used from 1992 until last year.
The bigger difference with this new boat though is the width.
The older boat was just 12 feet wide on the beam. This one, designed by TriNav, a company specializing in fishing boat design, is twice that wide.
That translates into a larger carrying capacity.
The Pease Cove Endeavour will carry up to 170,000 pounds of herring or mackerel, more than twice the amount the older boat could hold.
That could mean more money made per trip and a good chance of success each fishing season.
And that’s important when you aim to carry on a fishing legacy to the next generation.
As their fathers are busy making the new boat ship shape, two young boys play along the beach, watching as the work continues.
Ten-year-old cousins Maddox and Sebastian Jones are two of Rick Jones six grandchildren. Three other grandsons and one granddaughter are part of the clan.
Jones figures some of them will someday work on the deck of the Pease Cove Endeavour.
“My granddaughter is 12 and she’s already going out in boat with me sometimes to help haul lobster pots,” he says, his pride evident.
Ask Sebastian if he’ll ever be a fisherman and he knows only one answer. He nods his head enthusiastically and smiles, “Yes! Definitely!”
If things go according to plan for this season, and there’s no reason to think they won’t, the Jones brothers and their father will fire up the engine before the end of this month to head for the crab fishing grounds 18 miles off Catalina, Trinity Bay.
After that they’ll switch out the crab pots for the purse seine to chase the capelin.
That will be followed by mackerel and herring.
There’s also turbot, a fishery that’s also seen a revival in this province. That will put the Jones’ and their new boat up to 150 miles offshore in pursuit of these fish as summer turns to fall.
That’s a lot of fishing, with some limited times for each season.
To get there, though, they have to meet the next important deadline. The Pease Cove Endeavour is set to have sea trials within the next week. That’s the process whereby Transport Canada determines whether the boat is deemed worthy for the open ocean.
All the to do's have to be done before the inspector shows up to test this boat for stability and maneuverability.
So at the small wharf in Trinity East on this clear day in late May there’s a “hurry up and get ‘er done” momentum to get this job finished so they can get to the real one, at sea.
There are sounds of men shouting — some words as salty as the water rushing in to meet the pebbled beach — where two young boys play, watching progress being made and dreaming of a day when this longliner might also take them to those distant fishing grounds.