HISTORY OF SHIP SHOPS, Inc. ~ A Full
Service Marina Serving the Boating Needs of Bass River Since 1928
July of 2011 we mourned the passing of Ship Shop's Matriarch Ruth Priddy without whom there would be no Ship Shops. Ruth participated in the daily operation of the business for 53 years and is dearly missed by her family and friends.
On a brighter note, we still are operating with the same great core group of employee's. Steve Lassila now into his 42 nd year ! Allan Hibbert 33 years, both Matt Hagopian and Joe Tierney 19 years, Steve Peterson 5 years and Paul Dery our Suzuki and Yamaha tech completing his first year since rejoining us. Let's not forget our power boat rental crew of Judson Graham and Lynne Donovan who bring summer back every year along with Ali Grasson on the fuel dock and front desk. Congratulations on becoming a school teacher in Connecticut ! Ali's started here her first year at U Conn.
This year capitol improvements include resurfacing the entire in/out rack area to make for a smoother ride on the Taylor lift and due to the failure of the existing surface laid down in 1993. Also plans are being drawn for an improved bottom wash pad that is more effective in collecting contaminants associated with boat washing. We also have plans to install a new software program to get us into the 21st century.
Although Ship Shops has faired well in this new economy, we are all hoping for a turnaround and a return to the good old days .
Origin of a Boatyard - Reprinted
from The Register
October 16, 1973
By Ted Frothingham
"I spent upwards of 30 years running a boat yard on Bass River. How did
it all start?
How did a lad born in Brooklyn, NY,
and brought up there, find a boat yard on Cape Cod
to be his way of life? How did it
come to be a reality?
There was much that went into its origin. In the first place I had
summered on Cape Cod for 18 years, and I definitely didn't like city
life. I found myself becoming tied to it. I enjoyed my work with two
different steamshipping companies, but I was in the office at a desk and
saw little of ships and the sea except on paper. Had I been assigned to
the docks I would have been much happier. Had I been able to go to sea
on one of the vessels I would have been delighted...
Once on the Cape train there was that delightful smell of salt
marshes at Wareham, and flowering beach plum framed the sand dunes at
Barnstable. If I was to make the move I must act soon before I got
caught up in a trap of city life...
Two things happened while I was on the Cape that hastened my
decision. I talked with Charles Henry Davis. We worked out a scheme that
I would come to the Cape for a summer and make his riverfront boathouse
into a store, and sell off the marine hardware and supplies left over
from his yachting days. I could run a marine operation on his Bass River
shore. It has great appeal. I would be my own boss, working for myself,
using my own ideas, and putting my full energy into all I did. I would
be dealing with things I loved, boats. I would be away from the city and
living by the river.
...During the summer the shop was a hive of activity. It was
headquarters for the Bass River Yacht Club for almost 20 years. Many
young people worked for us in the days before the minimum wage. Some got
as much as a dollar a day, and their family would have paid twice that
price to have them out from under foot. They themselves would often have
paid to be where the action and the pretty girls were. The the boat yard
...From these humble beginnings, with the fish shanty as my office
and the gasoline house as a storage and working shed, my boat yard began
anew. We built a crude pier out over the marsh and added onto the
shanty, so I could live there. Electric light and telephone were brought
down from Pleasant Street on a pole line. We were in business again,
with a sign almost as big as the establishment.
Ship Shops Inc. on Bass River sold to Allan L. Priddy - The Register,
September 9, 1957
That was yesterday's Ship Shops - the only resemblance that
remains is Ted Frothingham's house which has been revised and expanded
to accommodate the current family of owners - Allan and Ruth Priddy.
Allan, an experienced competition sailor, brought his new bride to Ship
Shops, in 1957, to continue to provide a home to the sailors, fishermen,
and ever increasing powerboaters.
The size and number of boats were growing - and Ship Shops needed to
grow too. The marsh soon became beach, bulkheads, and the slips for
motorboats. The Beetlecat and Knockabout races of Frothingham's day,
graduated to Wianno competition.
A new store with offices was erected in the 60's, and the antiquated
machine shop was replaced with a more sophisticated mechanics building.
More than a half century since Ship Shops' birth, it is still changing.
The recently renovated store is now a lovely showplace in step with the
80's. Although, basic marine necessities are still the nuts and bolts of
Ships Shops, you can also find fashion accessories, nautical gifts and
sophisticated boating instruments.
Ship Shops certainly has grown since Charles Henry Davis' boathouse. In
the past 60 years Ships Shops has become one of the oldest and most
experiences boatyards on the Cape. You will find this nautical treasure
off, aptly named, Pleasant Street, parallel to Bass River in South
Yarmouth. It's worth the hunt.
Story from The Register
Ship Shops Today
Since Allan Priddy's passing in 1998
his daughter Alyson and husband Marty Taubert have continued to run
the family business. Ruth still lives in the original house on the
property and participates in the business's daily operation. Ship
Shops now employs 12 people year round adding 3 more in the spring
/summer season. The business is constantly upgrading to keep up with
demands of the next generation of boaters. Some of the more
recent renovations have been replacement of the old "A" shed motor
storage building, the underground fuel storage tanks have been
replaced with a larger state of the art above ground tank system and
rebuild of approximately 1000' of bulkhead. We continue to offer full
service on all brands of gasoline and diesel engines with 5 factory
trained techs on Mercruiser, Johnson and Evinrude engines. Hauling
and storage for boats up to 50'. Seasonal slip rental for 40 boats
plus in/out rack service. We also offer a ship's store with gasoline
and diesel at our fuel dock.
Plans for the 2006 season are
continuing upgrades of the bulkhead, replacement of the existing
underground water system, resurfacing the front bulkhead road and
service area and replacement of the big forklift with one of larger
Our commitment to our customers and the environment continued in
2007. We completed the upgrade to our underground fresh water
system. The parking lot was re-graded and resurfaced for better
drainage and ease of access. We purchased a new TAYLOR forklift with
a larger capacity. This will enable us to serve our customers
growing needs. Government regulations regarding water runoff for
pressure washing boats came into effect. In continuing with our
constant yard housekeeping method, we constructed a wash pit and
purchased a water recycling system which recycles water used during
pressure washing, thus eliminating the possibility of any waste
water from running into the Bass River. As we enter our 50th year
under the same family management and enter into 2008, we look back
and realize our success at Ship Shops over the years is due to our
dedicated staff and loyal customer base. We especially recognize our
current employees staring with yard foreman Steve Lassilla who began
as a dock boy when he was 17 years old in 1970. Allan Hibbert, our
head outboard Evinrude certified tech has been here 29 Years. Matt
Hagopian, who has earned the status of Mercruiser Master Tech
started here while still in high school and is entering his 15th
year. Alex Riker, also is certified in all Mercuiser engines and
Evinrude outboards has been with Ship Shops for 8 years. Joe Tierney
makes up the office support and is also entering his 15th year at
the front desk. Beverly Crampton runs the parts department has been
here for 10 years. Our power boat rental division is staffed by
Judson Graham and Lynne Donovan, both full time school teachers,
together they have over 10 years of experience. Owner / Operator
Marty Taubert is a familiar face who started here painting bottoms
in 1980. Marty’s wife Alyson who had grown up the house next door
has been in the accounting department since the mid ‘80s. Which
leads us to our most senior employee, Ruth Priddy who began in 1958
when her husband Allan bought the boat yard. Ruth continues to
contribute to the daily operations to this day. Many other dedicated
employees have put in years of service along with a great customer
base have made Ship Shops what it is today.