After three years of work Forrestdale Heart and Soul Men’s Shed president Terry Thompson says the world’s first ever Marine Men’s Shed is almost ready to accept members.
Mr Thompson first got the idea for a boat-based men’s shed while his Forrestdale shed was working on a to-scale Endeavour replica in 2013.
“When we built the Endeavour we realised we were using the same shipwrights that built the actual Endeavour in Fremantle,” he said.
“We asked where the rest of the crew was and found there was a lot of people in the marine side of things that weren’t getting serviced by men’s sheds because they’re all on the land.
“All around Australia they concentrated on that but they forgot about these marine guys that were out there too.
“The more we delved into it the more people have put their hand up.”
Mr Thompson asked Yachtswest’s Adam Greer to help him find the right boat and they found a former customs boat the Randall 42 Edwin Abbott.
He said since getting the boat in January they had been fixing it up to proper working conditions.
“It’s an ex-customs boat and it worked up in the Gascoyne and Kimberley chasing illegal fishers and all that sort of stuff,” he said.
“They were million dollar boats when they were built and they’re as strong as.”
He said they had three smaller boats as well and would be doing a raft of marine activities from work for councils to taking people with Autism to see dolphins.
“The boat’s mainly for taking out people, the big job is taking out people with Autism and they’re going to interact with dolphins,” he said.
“The other thing is guys with PTSD, they’re guys we can get out and quietly go fishing somewhere or take them out to the reef for some diving or just go for a quiet steam.
“We’re going to be working with the fisheries and with three other little boats we’ll be working up rivers on all the invasive species.
“We’ll also help clean the harbour and the councils have asked us while we’re doing these things to pick up illegal fish traps and this sort of stuff.
“Back at the shed these guys will be doing what they normally do, fixing the boats and trailers and building welding skills.”
Mr Thompson said the Marine Men’s Shed was a world first and it would help former and current men in the marine sector.
“Men’s sheds are designed that every town and community has one in it so this being the first ever marine men’s shed we find its not just an Australian first it’s a world first,” he said.
Mr Greer said the Marine men’s shed was a fantastic idea.
“There’s plenty of guys at the yacht club who are ex-sailors and I’m going to start pumping them to Terry and say to him this guy needs your help,” he said.
The Marine Men’s Shed will be holding its first meeting to select its committee before Christmas with its first official outing soon after.
Anyone interested in joining the shed should visit firstmarine.org and sign up for more information.