Backyard Boat Building In Sitka

Sitka’s rich history of wooden boat building began with the sturdy, ocean-going dugout canoes of local Natives, and peaked in the early 20th Century, when the harbors were filled with wooden trollers, seiners, and seal boats.

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Since then, wood has all but been replaced by fiberglass, steel, and aluminum, and it’s easy to think about wooden boats more as museum artifacts than as functional watercraft.

But Sitkan Mark Howey sees wooden boats differently. He’s built three small skiffs in his backyard shop, and a fourth is on the way. KCAW’s Erik Neumann recently dropped by Howey’s shop to learn how he’s keeping Sitka’s wooden boat tradition alive.