Making a living

Satrohan Sookdeo of Sookdeo’s Fishing and Boat Building began building boats at the age of 15. Today, he operates his own successful small business located at Pump Road, Mon Repos on the East Coast Demerara. He says he has been in the business for 10 years.

Sookdeo, who ‘born and grow’ in the Mon Repos community says that there was a group building boats there, and so he chose to learn the trade with them. “I like build boat,” he said. During his apprenticeship, Sookdeo said the group moved to Berbice to pursue their boat-building trade, and he moved with them.

Sookdeo (centre) looks over the construction of a boat frame as another boat is left to “dry”.

Returning some years later he opened his own boat-building business.  He employs five men from the community and they build mostly fishing boats.

At the construction site, Sookdeo had dropped off lumber for the men. The workers were putting together the frame of a boat as another boat which Sookdeo said was 85 per cent completed was “drying.”

“Boat is a far different thing to build from a house,” he said. It takes about eight to 10 weeks to construct a boat with three different kinds of wood. Sookdeo explained that mora and tatabu wood are used to make the frame of the vessel, while silverballi is used for the sides and greenheart for the bottom.

The boats he constructs are for “outboard use,” and are powered by 48 Yamaha outboard engines.

Here Sookdeo double checks the measurement on a boat that is being built at his Pump Road, Mon Repos location.

When the boat is put together, Sookdeo said that the creases are sealed and the vessel left to dry in the sun: “The work is a outdoor wuk. You can’t work under shed; the more you work in the sun the wood gun be dry faster.”

When the boat has been dried and all the creases properly puttied, it is placed in the water. “The business good but bad weather and difficulty in getting the material, that does be lil hard,” said Sookdeo.

Apart from boat-building, Sookdeo is also into deep-sea fishing. He said he employed a small crew to go out to sea because “me nah like the idea fuh deh pun sea.”

He sells the fish he catches, such as trout, shark and mackerel at the Medowbank wharf. “Fishing wuk is lil tuff. Is so much a problem ya know how much times dem hijack me?

We trying in the business’ ya done invest, ya got to try,” said the boat-builder.

Sookdeo believes that more should be done for fishermen and small fishing businesses like his. Many people in the country are involved in fishing, he continued, including the majority of those in his community.

“More attention should be paid in fishing; we don’t get duty-free fuel like them trawler that does go out. We need some sorta benefit to help out.”


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. Convicted drug trafficker Barry Dataram about to be handed over to local enforcement officials by the Suriname police. Inset is the information page in the fake passport for “David Persaud” that was being used by the fugitive. (Royston Drakes photos)

    Dataram, wife returned to Guyana

  2. Back in court: In this Keno George composite photo, Barry Dataram (left) and his wife Anjanie Boodnarine at court yesterday to answer three charges including fleeing the jurisdiction.

    Dataram to serve eight years in jail after guilty plea to new charges

  3. Yansen Brusche

    Ulverston mom of four stabbed to death by children’s father

  4. Ameer Subrati

    Man dies after bandits target overseas-based couple at Herstelling

  5. US Ambassador Perry Holloway and Finance Minister Winston Jordan shake hands after the signing of the agreement yesterday.

    Guyana inks pact for reporting to IRS on holdings of US citizens

  6. Bharrat Jagdeo

    Crime has never been this bad – Jagdeo

  7. Updated: Man dies after bandits attack overseas-based Guyanese at Herstelling

  8. Barry Dataram

    Datarams getaway passports had been issued to other people

  9. Dr. Prudence Lewis-Bhola

    Prudence Lewis-Bhola appointed as CEO of broadcasting authority

Recommended For You