WHAT'S the hardest part of building a boat?

According to Colin Mather, it's coming up with a name.

For the past nine months, Mr Mather has worked on building an aluminium trawler from scratch, which is set to be the first new prawn trawler launched in Maclean in over 20 years.

The trawler, named Sea Jay after Mr Mather's wife and children, started as a weekend project in the front yard of Mr Mather's fathers house in Woolgoolga.

From Monday to Friday Mr Mather worked as a commercial fisherman, before heading to Woolgoolga to work on the hull of the trawler over the weekend. The boat was turned over in January and brought to Townsend, where the fitout work continued when Mr Mather had a spare chance.

Mr Mather, who used to work as an aluminium welder building boats, said the trawler was an investment for the future.

"I wanted to go with aluminium for the maintenance side of things," he said. "Timber costs thousands of dollars every year to paint and replace bits that rot out, so I wanted to go with aluminium because it's lighter and stronger and there's less maintenance each year, so it saves a lot of money.

"Plus I thought that while I'm still young in the industry, if I get in now and build it, the trawler will last me a career, and I'll save a lot of money each year throughout my career on maintenance, and less breakdowns."

Mr Mather said it was exciting to be the first in over 20 years to launch a new fishing trawler in the Clarence.

"A lot of the older blokes have talked about building a boat, but none of them have done it," he said.

"There's not that many aluminium trawlers on the river, it's only the third one in total here.

"Most trawlers are old wooden boats that are rotted away and patched up with fibreglass, you wonder how half of them are still floating.

"I didn't want that sort of nonsense. I wanted new gear that will work really well and does its job and build it properly and set it up so I don't have to touch it for the next 30 years."



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