Ship to shore: Camping in a fishing boat

·2 min read
Jacob Boy was a working lobster boat for years before being relocated and retrofitted for camping. (Shane Fowler/CBC News - image credit)
Jacob Boy was a working lobster boat for years before being relocated and retrofitted for camping. (Shane Fowler/CBC News - image credit)

A fish(ing boat) out of water.

That's the draw of Jacob Boy, a lobster boat buried up to its waterline in the southeastern New Brunswick woods just outside Alma.

"We were looking for something unique," said Melissa McMillan, the co-owner and operator of West River Campground.

After considering parking a transport truck and converting that into accommodations, Melissa and her husband Scott decided a former fishing boat would be more suitable.

"I said to Scott, I said, 'We need a fishing boat. You know, we're in Alma, this is a fishing village, we need to have a fishing boat,'" said Melissa McMillan "So, of course, we laughed about that. And off he went."

WATCH | Check out the lobster boat turned into rustic accommodations

For about 32-years Jacob Boy sailed the waters of the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy fishing for lobster. The boat's registry, still on display in its cabin, shows it was built in 1988, and first fished out of Yarmouth. It was later sold to fishermen in Alma.

"It changed hands here probably three times before it retired, and then we bought it from a gentleman up the road," said Scott.

The McMillans purchased Jacob Boy and moved the boat from the ocean to their campground last fall.


From then until June they've worked to restore and renovate, turning the working fishing vessel into a "cabin" of sorts, suitable for hosting a family.

"There was a lot of cleanup," said Melissa. "They had to get down in the bowels of it. And then the building started. Of course with the building, nothing's straight on a boat. It took a lot of figuring and whatnot to try to try to get it to come together."

The end result is a fishing boat that no longer smells like a fishing boat. It sports a full bathroom, bedroom and kitchenette.

On the main deck, where lobster used to be hauled onto, there is now a hot tub where guests can simmer.

Submitted by Melissa McMillan
Submitted by Melissa McMillan

The prow, which sported four bunks for fishermen, still has four bunks but, Melissa said, the sleeping area is now aimed at kids. Adults can still sleep there if they're OK with the cramped quarters the fishermen were accustomed to.

"It still has the original helm and the gearshift so that the kids can pretend they're bringing the boat ashore," said Melissa.

Shane Fowler/CBC News
Shane Fowler/CBC News

Despite originally targeting families with up to four children, along with pets, Melissa said Jacob Boy is proving popular with the Instagram-savvy.

"We figured it would be an attraction for kids, but there's a lot of adults," said Melissa McMillan. "Which is awesome."

What the customer pays depends on demand, but a night in the Jacob Boy is currently listed at $248.

Scott said relocating and restoring the Jacob Boy was a massive undertaking, and despite his wife pushing for another he has reservations.

Submitted by Melissa McMillan
Submitted by Melissa McMillan

"Would I do another boat? As of today, absolutely not," he said, laughing.

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