Pate Boatyard is something of an institution on Goose Creek island, or more specifically, in the village of Hobucken, NC. When white settlers first sought refuge here some 300 years ago they did so primarily for the abundance of seafood that was readily available as well as the numerous well protected creeks and bays. Generation after generation of Goose Creek islanders grew up knowing that the bounty of blue crabs, oysters and the many species of native fish would sustain them and their families, just as they had the native populations for thousands of years before. Located where the Neuse and Pamilico rivers empty into the Pamlico sound, this area today not only continues to support various commercial fishing enterprises, but also an increasing number of recreational fishermen.
Integral to fishing these waters have always been the various types of watercraft used to get out to the fish, oysters and crabs. From the humble dugout canoe to wooden skiffs, to modern steel-hulled trawlers and fiberglass yachts, this island has seen virtually every type of vessel known to man ply its waters and brave the elements in the pursuit of seafood. It was as part of this tradition that Herman Pate opened Pate Boatyard, first in the 1920s along the shores of the intracoastal waterway, then moving to its present location in the 1950s. From all indications, Mr Herman always built a "pretty" boat, long and lean with plenty of shear, and was also something of a pioneer, experimenting early on with various types of hydrofoils.
After he passed on, Pate Boatyard was purchased by a local fisherman named Charles Spain, who after a long career of shrimping along the Gulf coast, returned to Hobucken to "semi-retire," maintaining a 50' trawler that he used for "fun". Charles made many improvements to the property before he too passed on, leaving the boatyard to his widow Mary. Mary in turn leased the boatyard to a local seafood company, and for a number of years an incredible amount of crabs and shrimp passed over the docks of the boatyard. In 2004, the boatyard was again sold, this time to an "outsider" who saw past the piles of rotting rope and rusting crab pots to realize that he had at last found a place for which he had been searching for over 20 years.
In the weeks and months and perhaps even years to come, this space will be used to pass along some of the rich heritage that this lucky fellow stumbled across when he purchased Pate Boatyard.