Daigle Welding and Marine has been building custom aluminum boats in Campbell River since 1985.
After relocating from Prince Rupert, where he built and designed boats and worked in marine and general fabrication, Steve Daigle opened up a welding and separate rigging shop in Campbell River and hired three tradesmen.
“Prince Rupert didn’t have the clientele and the resource base to keep a boat manufacturer busy but Campbell River seemed to be a good place to start with the forest industry and the aquaculture industry was just starting back in 1985,” Daigle said.
Three years later Daigle’s company had outgrown the old facility and he built a larger plant with a marine store.
The business grew and expanded so much over the next 17 years that they again built a new plant and marine store in 2004.
The building has overhead bridge cranes and new modern equipment making it much more efficient.
The store is also four times the size of the previous one.
Daigle has a naval architect as well as welders, mechanics, cabinet makers, finishers, and office and support staff under his employ. They add up to 34 in total.
As well as building custom boats, Daigle Welding and Marine does restorations as well as refurbishments to bring existing crafts up to Transportation Canada’s regulations.
In the beginning Daigle was building sport fishing lodge boats, passenger vessels, work boats and patrol boats. When the new decade rolled around a new market emerged for well built commercial boats for pleasure use.
He says there is no difference between the construction of the rugged commercial hulls and the finely finished pleasure vessels as both are constructed to deal with harsh weather and stand up in emergency situations.
Daigle chooses to construct aluminum boats because of their strength, seaworthiness, durability and ease of maintenance.
He said that designing and constructing boats fell into place because he has been in the marine industry his entire life.
In his spare time, Daigle travels the world on his motorcycle. So far he has seen North America, Vietnam and Europe.