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Locally Built Boat Known Across the Country

READ MORE: Locally Built Boat Known Across the Country
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The Simmons Sea Skiff is a classic type of wooden boat known though out the world. What might not be as widely understood is that it was originally made in Wilmington. Troy Allen bought this original Simmons Sea Skiff almost 15 years ago. It was a purchase that brought back memories. Allen said, “My dad had one, still does. He bought it when I was 2 or 3 years old so I learned to ski behind it and it was what we went fishing in." Simmons Sea Skiffs were made in Wilmington by Thomas Simmons from 1950 to 1973. The Cape Fear Museum's maritime specialist, David Carnell, said the boats are sold across the country. “They are the first boats that allowed out board motor boats to go out to the Gulf Stream and go fishing,” Carnell said. The Simmons Sea Skiff was designed so that the engine flips up into the boat for easy repairs. It is also made for shallow waters. “You can go up into creeks and shallow areas. This is a 20 foot boat and I've been up in places where little john boats were, and they look at me like wow how'd you get that big 'ole thing up in here?" said Allen. It’s those design characteristics that set it apart from other boats made at the time. Not only is it versatile, but also unique. “The history behind it is very important. It's a local boat, built locally. You can’t go get one exactly like this there weren't two exactly alike ever built, so each one's unique,” Allen said. Simmons only made 800 of these classic boats in his 23 years of building them. “You can find one in real bad shape for $500 to $1000, all the way up to for $25,000 to $30,000” said Allen. The building plans of the Simmons Sea Skiffs are now made by David Carnell. The plans are sold at the Cape Fear Museum for $40 to $60. All the money raised from sales of the plans goes back to the museum.

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