Boat Peter built to keep himself afloat

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MECHANICAL fitter Peter Davis proved he was unsinkable back in 1984 – even in the face of redundancy.

For Peter was staying afloat in the Lady Patricia – described by the Mail as a “boat cum insurance policy” – which he had just completed after three years of spare time toil.

Peter, aged 37 at the time, invited the Mail photographer to the official launching ceremony, where the traditional bottle of champagne was cracked over the bows of the vessel by his young daughters, Carmen, three, and Melanie, six.

The keen fisherman was planning to take to the seas in search of the lucrative salmon catch in June, followed by gill nets and prawn trawling.

Peter told the Mail: “I always wanted to get involved in fishing and wanted to build my own boat.”

He had had some experience of fishing in his youth but had spent most of his career as a mechanical fitter with McGraw Edison, which would be taken over by Cooper Industries the following year.

“When things started looking precarious,” said the Mail article, “Peter’s eyes turned towards the sea and a new job reaping the North Sea’s abundant fish life.”

He teamed up with skipper Sarnk Reed, who held one of the few remaining salmon licences at Hartlepool Fish Quay.

The first few salmon, wrote the Mail, would probably go to Peter’s brothers, who helped him build the inshore trawler at Ken Davis Fabrication Company.

When launched the Lady Patricia was just under 10 metres long, displacing eight tonnes, and was fitted with an 120hp motor.

Hartlepool’s 900 year-old fishing industry still supports over 100 workers and 20 skipper-owned fishing boats operating out of the Fish Quay, which was rebuilt in 1998.

Bottom feeding fish such as cod, whiting, haddock and a range of flat fish are landed during the summer months and prawns in the winter, with the smaller boats concentrating on lobsters and crabs.

If you have memories of Lady Patricia or trawler fishing in general you would like to share with readers contact Andrew Levett by emailing andrew.levett@northeast-press.co.uk or write to him at Hartlepool Mail, New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX.