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Most people have never built a boat house; Shawn Dumas, Operations Manager at Kennebunkport Marina, has built two. During his time with Yarmouth Boat Yard, Dumas was closely involved with the bidding and selection process for their steel building contractor. They decided on PATCO Construction. He was extremely impressed by PATCO’s quality work in Yarmouth; when the time came for him to find a contractor for Kennebunkport Marina’s boat house, the choice was clear. “We already trusted the PATCO guys. It was an easy decision. We just gave Jon [Bell] a call, and away we went.”

The exterior design of a boat house might not win an architectural beauty contest, but its value is in its use of interior space. Dumas asked the PATCO design team to keep the ceilings as low as possible (while still accommodating the tall yacht garage doors); this in turn helps to keep heating costs as low as possible. In order to maximize floor space, the building design also minimized encroachment of interior support beams. “I know this created some unique steel loads for [PATCO] to solve,” Dumas admits, “But they put it together pretty quick.”

Steel loads weren’t the only challenge to solve on the Kennebunkport project. The building went up in the winter, when all aspects of construction–from pouring and curing concrete to crew exposure–are the harshest. Fortunately, [PATCO Senior Superintendent] Ron Mercier was constantly on-site, overseeing the progress. “Ron’s commitment to quality is overwhelming,” says Dumas, “Sometimes he’s frustrating to have on the job, but for all the right reasons: he refuses to rush the process. He makes sure he and his people do it right the first time.”


Between weather and timeline pushbacks with city permitting, the odds seemed stacked against Kennebunkport Marina’s opening for the boating season of 2020. “Lucky for us, PATCO has the people and resources to manage every environment and accommodate on the fly,” Dumas observes, “We recognize that it’s nothing but headaches for them, but they always find a way to make it happen. They’re big enough to have the resources and contractors, but not too big that you’re some client lost in the pile. With PATCO, it’s personal.”