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1 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, Massachusetts
617-884-8586
Facility / History | Print |  E-mail

Our current facility is comprised of:

  • Ten acre waterfront site
  • Five permanent buildings
  • Two docks
  • One 60'-wide, 1600-ton West Marine Railway Dry-dock
  • The East Basin 300’ X 75’ (under rehabilitation)

Fitzgerald Shipyard is located in historic Chelsea, Massachusetts, on one of the nation’s most vibrant harbors – The Boston Harbor. Since 1996, we have made considerable improvements and capital investment to the site and have consistently created jobs and training opportunities for workers.

Fitzgerald Shipyard is also home to several small, privately owned maritime businesses (boat building, shipping, fishing) that when all totaled employ more than 100-people. These companies include:

 

  • Davin Machine – specialty machining and welding company serving the maritime industry.
  • Stillwater Design – designers and builders of lightweight composite boats.
  • Amerasia Trade – Live and frozen seafood wholesale.
  • Inspectorate – International ship cargo testing laboratory.
  • Crandall Dry Dock Engineers – Design and inspection of dry-docks.
  • Massachusetts Bay Lines – Passenger ferry fleet operator.
  • Smith Marine – Marine construction and inspection services.

 

HISTORY

1600’s The shores stretching along Chelsea, Charlestown, and Boston, Massachusetts served as New England’s maritime hub for nearly 400-years. This natural estuary of the Atlantic Ocean was first discovered in 1614.

The site of Fitzgerald Shipyard’s maritime operation dates back to May 1631 when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony granted rights to operate the first passenger ferry in the country. The Winnisimmet Ferry was first propelled by men with oars crossing the Boston Harbor between Chelsea and Boston until 1917 — a period of 286 years. The Ferry service saved passengers the 20-mile-long day trip by land between Chelsea and Boston.


1700 / 1800’s The Winnisimmet passenger landing and slip was improved and larger steam powered ferries were put into service to compete with steam railroads, horse railway, and electric streetcars that offered passengers alternative travel over bridges and through the tunnel to reach Boston.

The earliest naval shipbuilding of the Continental Navy began all along this harbor’s edge during The American Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783) and neighboring Charlestown Navy Yard was designated in 1801. The USS Independence was the first US Navy ship built there in 1814 and the first naval dry dock in New England was inaugurated in 1833. Upgraded ferries transported soldiers and cannon along the Eastern Seaboard during the Civil War.

Green Shipyard took ownership of the Winnisimmet Ferry in 1897. Considerable earthworks and dredging was performed and new sea walls constructed to form the present-day East Basin Dry-dock area.


1900 During WWII, the Green Shipyard (present-day Fitzgerald Shipyard) was taken possession under the Wartime Powers Act by the Department of the Navy creating an Annex of the Charlestown Navy Yard and adding the much needed Dry-dock capacity to handle the steady stream of US, British, and Allied merchant and warships damaged in the Battle of the North Atlantic. The repair and refit work remained active through the end of WWII when the property was sold and continued operating successfully for the next 40-years as Munro Shipyard.

In the early 1980’s, a property developer took possession with plans of creating a luxury condominium development. When their financial support and building plans failed, the waterfront site fell into a state of disrepair for nearly a decade.


1990’s Fitzgerald Shipyard, stepped in as a tenant and begin initial rehabilitation of the maritime waterfront in 1992 by reactivating the antiquated yet, operable wooden West Marine Railway Dry-dock. By 1994, the restored West Marine Railway Dry-dock and 1000-ton Dry-dock resumed commercial viability. Fitzgerald Shipyard created the demand by securing a growing list of reputable, repeat clients, reestablishing jobs and expertise in the maritime services business on this historic site. Fitzgerald Shipyard acquired the property in 1996 operating as overseeing initial restoration of the facility and ongoing phased improvements.


2000 By 2004, the original 1920’s wooden West Marine Railway Dry-dock was completely upgraded with the construction of a new steel Dry-dock. Overall capacity was increased to service wider and larger vessels establishing the only 60'-wide, 1600-ton Dry-dock in the Boston Harbor.

Since 2004, Fitzgerald Shipyard has completed work on more than 65-vessels (barges, tugboats, and ferries) and accomplished numerous water repair jobs at our Pier #2 and Pier #4.

 

Please contact us today for your specific requirements, to scheduled routine work, or for emergency repair services. We welcome request for proposals (RFP's) on single vessels or maintenance of entire fleets.