Fernald Carter’s family, originally from Swan’s Island, came to Waldoboro by way of Vinalhaven in 1950, settling on Gross Point, where other relatives joined them. The Carters were resourceful, hardworking do-it-yourselfers. Fern dug clams, lobstered, and cut wood and Christmas trees. He repaired and rebuilt old boats, but he always wanted to learn to build.
In the 1960s Fern and his brother Burt turned an old “hen pen” into a boat shop. Fern built his first boat in 1966. Ernest Poland, Sr. of Bremen, a master boat builder and Carter friend, provided a model and design, and offered oversight and assistance as the Carter Boat Shop became established.
After building 10 or 12 boats in the old chicken house, the shop was moved into a former cow barn next to Fern’s house on Gross Neck. The Carter Boat Shop built two or three 28- to 34-foot wooden lobster boats a year, mostly for family members, friends, and other customers who lived not far from Waldoboro.
Fern Carter built boats until about a year before he died in 2008. Some of his boats from the 1970s are still in use.
The audio components of this exhibit are excerpted from an April 15, 2015 interview with Eugene (Bimbo) Carter and Ruthie Poland, son and daughter of Fern Carter, and Ronnie Poland, son and boatbuilding partner of Ernest Poland, Sr.