Boat builder launches dream vessel

For Whitewood boat builder Martin Houston, its no fairytale dreams do come true.  His childhood dream of building a tug boat never sank. After 5 years of hard work and labor, he will launch his boat into the Belle Fourche Reservoir.

“It’s very exciting,” said Houston. “I mean it’s the end of not only a 5–year work, but like over 50–years of wanting to build this boat.

But building this Pacific Powered Dorey Hull hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.

“You can’t glue, you can’t glass, you can’t do too much boat–building in the winter because they’re so cold,” said the boat builder.

Surviving the winter is now the least of Houston’s worries. He hopes the nearly 3 ton vessel named after his wife, Jani– J, will survive Saturday’s launch.

“The part about enjoying it will be a nice change rather than working on it,” said Martin’s wife, Janice. “Even if it goes over and sinks at least I did it; I wanted to build a boat of my own design,” Houston said.

After Jani christens the vessel by breaking a bottle champagne on the bow, then comes the big test. Will the boat sink or will it float?

“Jani–J is in the water; she’s floating perfectly where I want her to float,” said Houston.

It’s a dream comes true for this captain who’s glad his wife and his friends have been on board with his vision from the start.

“I’m a dreamer … but I’m not satisfied with the dreams,” Houston said. “I have to make it happen, I had to build the boat.”

Houston says he and both of his Jani-J’s will spend their weekend out on the lake. He plans to go fishing and swimming while enjoying the $25,000 boat he built.


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