Because Canada continues to lag in fishing boat sales, Prince Edward Island’s oldest producer of fiberglass fishing boats is shifting its focus to a new and growing industry.
Gordon Campbell and his son Jay, owners of Provincial Boat and Marine Ltd. in Kensington, are diversifying by manufacturing oil tanks for home heating.
In 2012 the provincial government banned the installation of metal oil tanks, leading to high demand for the fiberglass the Campbells use to make their boats.
“Fiberglass is much safer and much better for the environment,” Jay Campbell told CBC News.
Low lobster prices and a saturated market mean fewer fishermen are buying boats and fewer Americans are buying Canadian products because of fluctuations in the dollar.
“It was hard. We were used to being busy for quite a number of years, and you never really imagined it was going to slow down the way it did,” Gordon Campbell told CBC.
He said things got bad for the company in 2009 and never quite bounced back.
“We started looking at other things we could do, and one of those was fiberglass home heating oil tanks,” Jay Campbell said. The Campbells see the industry as being more reliable and one that is looking for their expertise.
The company has spent years getting everything in order and is now ready to start production.
The Campbells will continue to build boats, although they see fiberglass oil tanks as the company's future.