Consider this an introduction to a friend that you’ll have time to get to know better in Professional BoatBuilder No. 185, due out next month. Here’s what you need to know right now about Teak Isle, the Ocoee, Florida manufacturer of everything from bait wells, cabin doors, galley and head cabinetry, to CNC-cut plastic outdoor nativity sets—At a time when the world is reeling from the crippling impact of the Covid-19 virus and most of Teak Isle’s 200-plus boatbuilder clients have stalled or ceased operations temporarily, the company, known for fast turnarounds of complex components, looked at the shortages of medical protection equipment, and did what it does best.
When Teak Isle President Pat Brown gave me an update on April 9, the company was in full production of face shields and intubation boxes for hospitals, and clear Plexiglass protective screens for cashiers and receptionists anywhere who must interact with the public. Aside from finding and refining designs for these components, and programing some of the company’s CNC routers to cut them, they had reworked the entire nativity-scene production shop to accommodate a workforce manufacturing face shields, all from new workstations and with a workflow that achieve required social distancing for employees.
Yes it is a challenge on the OEM boat side right now with most of the builders either shut down or limited in production due to other key vendors being closed. We were able to pivot a couple of weeks ago to building face shields and the intubation boxes. We are supplying the State of Florida and local hospitals with these products and are looking to supply whoever else may need them. The great thing here is that we have a way to help the situation with our manufacturing firepower and also to keep people working and stay viable as a supplier. I have attached a link to our Covid19 page on Boat Outfitters .
Our other engineering focus right now is on protective products like cashier-stand sneeze guards. With the world being a changed place going forward, these products are getting a lot of attention right now. Our biggest challenge with all of this is finding enough material to build all of these parts with.
It’s a testament to the skill, adaptability, and humanity of Teak Isle’s management, design department, and shop crew that they can quickly turn out new solutions in a time of danger and need when the stakes are high and the future less than clear. But I can’t say I’m surprised; there’s nothing like a few decades meeting the individual needs of a couple hundred boatbuilders to keep you sharp, nimble, and empathetic. We’ll explore that history in the next issue.
Our thanks and admiration to the Teak Isle crew and to all the other boatbuilders and industry affiliates who are focusing their expertise, abilities, and manufacturing capacities on the public-health crisis at hand. Please send us any accounts of projects and problems springing from Covid-19. We want to know how everyone is faring in what are strange days indeed.