In this year’s WorkBoat Construction Survey, we listed over 700 new vessels under contract, under construction, or delivered between February 2013 and February 2014. The real number is closer to 1,000. Many of these workboats are the most sophisticated vessels in both design and technology ever built. They’ve gotten a lot of attention, as have the shipyards that built or are building them, and they deserve it.

But what happens if that shiny new OSV or tug has an allision or collision 18 months from now? We might hear about the accident that damaged the boat. But once the boat goes into the repair yard, it disappears. Maybe it will get some publicity when it comes out, maybe it won’t.

The fact is that the repair part of the shipyard business is as important as the newbuild process. I know there’s a deep divide between the two as it relates to money, but often the repair side of the business is the only side making money.

“Through the entire recession we had no newbuilds,” said Bette Jean Yank, marketing manager, Yank Marine, Tuckahoe, N.J. “We had plenty of work, just no new construction. We got a newbuild contract for an 85' party boat in 2012. It was the first one we’d had in five or six years.” (Yank Marine rolled out the first of two new 400-passenger catamaran ferries earlier this week. Designed by LeMole Naval Architecture of Tuckahoe, the 110'x31'x5' ferries are being built for Port Imperial Ferry and operated by NY Waterway.)

Leevac Shipyards has operated its newbuild yard in Jennings, La., for many years. Several years ago, Leevac opened a repair yard in Lake Charles, La., to handle large vessels working primarily in the offshore oil and gas industry because some of its customers encouraged yard officials to make the move. This past year, Leevac bought one of the old Quality Shipyards properties in Houma, La., again at the request of its customers.

“The customers wanted it,” said Dan Gaiennie of Leevac, “and we’re definitely seeing traction there.”

For more about repair yards, check out the upcoming October issue of WorkBoat.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.