The Art of Boat Building

Down in the Gulf of Mexico, it isn’t all shrimp boats and oil rigs. Master Boatbuilder, Bill Holland grew up in Biloxi, MS where his father served as a schooner captain. Holland grew up playing around the neighborhood boatyards, and became obsessed with watching the men build and repair the local fishing boats. He got started building model boats made from scrap wood from the yards. By the time he was twelve he had built his first boat and had begun working in the boatyards, learning the trade from the builders. During his teenage years Holland worked for a number of Biloxi’s renowned wooden boatbuilders.

After a stint in the Coast Guard, Holland learned about the construction of steel hull ships through work as a production welder and burner at the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. Later he purchased a piece of waterfront property across the bay from Biloxi in D’Iberville, a spot that had been known for over 100 years as Shipyard Point. Holland built his own boatyard on the property, along with a home for his family.

Holland builds and repairs a wide range of boats in his yard, from small skiffs and sailboats to large schooners. He has built 43 boats in his lifetime. Although he has done a wide range of work, his favorite projects are constructing new boats using the older forms and designs. One of his more recent projects in this vein was Mascot, a 39 foot steam launch built for a New Orleans businessman.

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