In 1947, the first boat building facilities started operating on the north waterfront.
For the next 50 years, that industry would continue to change and evolve with new technologies. From building fishing boats to pleasure cruisers to ferries the boat building industry changed to meet the growing needs of the fishermen and pleasure cruisers who worked and played at the Port of Everett.
The Morris Brothers were key figures in the boat building and repair industry of Everett. They began building speedboats on the north waterfront in 1948, moving from a boat-building plant in Bellingham. Morris, Inc. disassembled the buildings in Bellingham and reassembled them at their new Everett location near 14th Street Dock. J. Paul and Walter “Walt” Morris were sons of J. O. and Almeda Morris, principals of the Everett Packing Company. Morris Brothers produced the racy, all-plywood style of boat often referred to as a runabout.
Morris Brothers also affected the fishing industry with the design of their 32-foot Bristol Bay gillnetter. These wooden-hulled vessels with red-cedar planking were “barebones and built quickly, but had the typical Morris quality.” At least one of these vessels, the Robbie, was still being used by an Everett fisherman in 2010.
Today, the waterfront remains a dynamic and history making place. All of the lumber and shingle mills are now gone, but fishing and boat building operations remain an important part of the waterfront fabric. The fishing and boat building operations support the Port of Everett’s 2,300 slip marina, the largest public marina on the West Coast.