Abandoned shrimp boat to get new home at Augusta Farmers Market

Friday, March 22, 2013 1:47 PM
Last updated Saturday, March 23, 2013 2:15 AM
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An old, abandoned shrimp boat will soon be getting a new home at the Augusta Farmers Market after being pulled from the Savannah River on Friday morning.

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Diver Steve Arnold (left) and Dockmaster S.A. Daly prepare the boat to be lifted from the water.  BIANCA CAIN JOHNSON/STAFF
Diver Steve Arnold (left) and Dockmaster S.A. Daly prepare the boat to be lifted from the water.

Phin Hitchcock, the director of Fireside Ministries & Industries, said he plans to restore the boat and turn it into a stage for attractions at the market.

“(Fireside Ministries’) whole mission is restoration of people and places,” he said. “This is an object that needs saving and restoring. We want to use it for good.”

Hitchcocok was first attracted to the idea of restoring the shrimp trawler left abandoned in the water for several years after reading stories in The Augusta Chronicle about the problems abandoned boats were causing.

Hitchcock asked the boat’s owner, Ray Thompkins, to donate it to Fireside Ministries, a program started in 1992 when Hitchcock closed his nursery business and began work as a agricultural evangelist, planting gardens in local public housing and sharing the word of God.

Employees at Riverfront Marina and White Crane Co. lifted the 15-ton boat from the water, with the assistance of a diver. The effort took about one hour.

“When I first heard I thought it was a great idea,” said Chuck Young, a board member at Fireside, as he looked on. “Phin’s a real visionary.”

Hitchcock said he is required to submit a plan to the state before the boat can be moved to its new home at the market, where restoration will begin. He expects the restoration to take about three months.

The boat, which was taken behind the marina, will sit at the market on the lot next to the country store, also run by Fireside, and will serve as a stage for speakers and performers. Hitchcock said it will be a sort of “novelty” that adds to the market.

Young said it’s not only a positive for Fireside, but for the Savannah River too.

“I think people were glad to get it out of the river,” he said. “It was an eyesore.”

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 03/22/13 - 02:36 pm

If it was an eyesore in the river, it will also be an eyesore in the market.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 03/22/13 - 02:37 pm

Who owns Augusta Farmer's Market? Is it the city? If so, then we taxpayers will become the owners of this boat and we will have to maintain it. What a deal!

GiantsAllDay 03/22/13 - 04:52 pm
It would have been more

It would have been more fitting to send the shrimp boat to Greenbow, ALA-BAMA!

Sweet son
Sweet son 03/22/13 - 05:19 pm
Wonder how many shrimp the boat caught in the Savannah

River? All kidding aside I am glad someone has a vision for the boat and is willing to take a chance on it adding back to the community.

I believe the farmer's market would be part of the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture.

seenitB4 03/23/13 - 11:14 am
Dress up that shrimp boat

And make it shine...this is a good thing.....put some purty paint on it....have music playing from the rafters....make some lemonade out of this thing.

Also sell shrimp & seafood from the decks...

palmetto1008 03/23/13 - 11:50 am
Beware of benefactors bearing

Beware of benefactors bearing white elephants.

Jake 03/23/13 - 01:52 pm
Shrimp Boat

Remember the "Shrimp Boat" restaurant on Walton Way back in the 60's? It was nothing more than a house trailer converted into a restaurant with plywood cutouts attached to make it look like a boat along with a ramp type of entry. My sister said they had pretty good fried shrimp there. I bet that was back in the day of real fresh Gulf shrimp.

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