Ted Bullock, shown in Barrier Island Boatbuilder’s Mount Pleasant boatyard, has completed jobs including the 17-foot yawl Exodus and this hatch for a 1954 Abeking & Rasmussen yacht. Photographs by (Bullock) Adam Collins & courtesy of (2) Barrier Island Boatbuilders
August 26, 2015
A local company helps keep the wooden boat tradition afloat
written by Stratton Lawrence
Put Ted Bullock on a boat with his eyes closed, and within moments, he can tell you if it’s made of wood or fiberglass. “The sounds and the way they move are different,” he explains. “Wooden boats just feel good in the water.”
The passion began early for this West Ashley native who started canoeing the Stono at age five. After high school jobs cleaning and maintaining boats, he took up historical renovation work. Going for a walk downtown while restoring the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul’s bell tower in 2001, he saw wood being laid out in Ansonborough Field for the tall ship Spirit of South Carolina.
“I told [shipwright] Mark Bayne, ‘I want to build this boat. Hire me,’” Bullock recalls. Bayne did, and a decade-long mentorship began. In early 2013, Bayne transferred the lease on his Mount Pleasant boatyard to his protégé, and Barrier Island Boatbuilders was born.
During a summertime visit, a 42-foot Chris Craft was receiving finishing touches next to two canoes in mid-construction and a 14-foot Paper Jet sailboat Bullock built for himself. He’d recently spent a month in the Upstate helping Edwin McCain turn an old sailboat into a Chinese junk for the singer’s Animal Planet show, Flipping Ships.
Though much of his work is in restoration, this creative gets most excited about a fresh build. “There are thousands of design options,” he says. “If you hand me the plans, I can put it in the water.”
For more articles about local businesses, click here.
To learn more about Barrier Island Boatbuilders, visit their website here.