Standing the test of time – the log


A historic shipyard company with over 100 years of service, Al Larson Boat Shop is an impressive landmark in San Pedro.

SAN PEDRO – Al Larson Boat Shop is a marvel to see. Located on Terminal Island in San Pedro, this store is not open to the public, but has a very significant history in the Long Beach and San Pedro shipyards. In California, with a relatively new infrastructure compared to the rest of the world, Al Larson Boat Shop has been around for 115 years. Parts of the establishment, installed in 1923, still stand today.

Peter Adolph “Al” Larson was a Swedish boatbuilder who arrived in San Pedro through his apprenticeship as a shipwright in San Francisco, seizing the opportunity to invest in the growing fishing industry.

“If you visit a shipyard, you can see how different a commercial shipyard really is,” said owner Jack Wall. The newspaper. Wall’s father Andy, who followed his father’s love for the sea, bought Al Larson Boat Shop from Larson’s son in 1959 and has been a family business ever since.

Looking around the shipyard, there is a constant reminder that industries operating large ships were part of an increase in employment in California and that there were a lot of workers arriving at the docks – in fact, c ‘is still with a large number of individuals being employed in the shipping industry in San Pedro.

When the post-WWII economy was booming in the 1950s, the port was home to many jobs, but change was not lacking, with multiple recessions and a changing economy.

Working at Al Larson

As the port evolved, so did Al Larson’s relationships with those associated with one of the world’s largest shopping malls.

Linda Shaffer, the secretary who has worked at Al Larson for more than 30 years, said the other shipyards in the port share a proximity to the boat store.

“We used to be like a family,” she says. “Well, now you can see that has changed. You can see all the containers.

Most of the staff have been here for a long time. “I’ve been here the longest. I started young, ”said Shaffer The newspaper.

Stability can be evidenced by an employee named Alan who resides in Westminster and works at the gate.

“I have been here for about 5 years. I’m the new one, Alan said.

From the large number of boats under repair, it becomes evident how important the California coast is to business owners, profit makers, artists, the military, traders and a host of others who used the waterways to transport currency one way. In front of Al Larson’s, we see how essential the world of commercial shipping has been to the economy of the coast.

Even holding out with over 100 employees, Wall said, “We have carpenters, painters and electricians – pretty much the full spectrum to work on these ships.”

There are also the awesome stages that boats go through to be repaired, including the huge dry docks that happen to be empty when The newspaper arrival. Wall’s particular fondness for this massive system can be seen; he has a photo of the drydocks holding a ship as a screensaver on his computer. The dry docks are waiting for the next ship to start work.

In addition to the dry docks, which can hold up to 1,000 tons, Al Larson also has a 600-ton maritime railway, 1,000-ton barge tracks and a 120-berth commercial marina. .

A slice of [Hollywood] Story

In many ways, Al Larson compares to a maritime museum. Just from a short visit, you can count the historic sites from the well-known ships being repaired to the original wharf buildings that haven’t changed much since 1923 when they were originally built. Wall also shows me an old abandoned building that has been cited as a historic building by the city; Al Larson’s doesn’t occupy it, but they don’t demolish it either. The fate of it is still in limbo.

“Directors love to shoot here,” said Wall, who begins to list a number of TV shows and movies shot from around “24” to the popular final episode of “Sons of Anarchy.”

Chances are, most people who have boarded a cruise ship, ferry, or tour boat from Newport Beach or other parts of Orange County or Los Angeles County have mounted on a boat that at one point or another has been repaired in Al Larson. With a large client base, Al Larson repairs almost everything from boats to Hornblower, including the late John Wayne’s boat, Wild goose, naval fleets, barges, tugs, etc. Al Larson’s repairs boats of all kinds of customers.

At one point, pleasure yachts were being repaired in Al Larson, but over the years this was phased out. “We are focusing on boats from 60 feet and going beyond that,” Wall said. As one of the few notable commercial shipyards between San Diego and San Francisco, it makes sense to focus on the business side where there isn’t as much competition.

For the past 40 years, Al Larson’s has operated without a lease. Wall explains that this means they have some sort of 90-day lease and it’s a complicated business.

“If you want to know more about it,” Wall said frankly, “you can contact the city and ask them.”

While history may be the biggest selling point, it’s worth mentioning that in 2017 the Port of Los Angeles, which is near Al Larson Boat Shop, broke the all-time record for the freight volume to 9,343,192 20-foot equivalent units.

The Port of Los Angeles, over its 110-year history, has thrived on its global maritime movement. When your business is transporting goods on the waterways – be it supplies, products or passengers – it’s fair to say that there is also a great demand for repairing the ships carrying the cargo. Al Larson Boat Shop has been responding to such demand for longer than the port has existed.

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