Women on the Working Waterfront

Katie Doughty was raised a mariner

Thu, 05/12/2022 - 10:15am

    On the anniversary of the 60th year celebrating Windjammers Days and maritime history, we pay homage to our founder, Captain Marion Dash for her contribution as a female role model in our maritime community. It is her legacy that has inspired the Friends of Windjammer Days to celebrate the women who are working on the waterfront today who in turn inspire young girls and future maritime generations to come.

    Whether it was summers sailing the coast of Maine or days spent at the shipyard, Katie was raised on the water and on boats.  It was, therefore, a natural progression that led her to a career building some of the finest commercial vessels in the United States and the world, all from East Boothbay.   Of course she doesn't do this by herself, but as President of Washburn & Doughty Associates, Inc. which employs a highly talented  crew of roughly 90 shipfitters, engineers, pipefitters, welders, electricians, designers, mechanics,  carpenters, and painters.  Katie takes enormous pride in the work of Washburn & Doughty and the legacy of Maine shipbuilding that it represents.

    Washburn & Doughty was started in 1977 by two friends, Bruce Doughty and Bruce Washburn as a side business.  Katie Doughty Maddox, daughter of co-founder Bruce Doughty took over the company as president in May 2019.  The yard has a niche building mostly steel boats including tugs and ferries such as the Dennis Moran, an 86’ x 36’, 5100 HP, Z-Drive Tug launched at the end of March for the Moran Towing Corporation. 

    Katie has always loved being on the ocean and anything else that brings her outdoors. Growing up, she worked on schooners out of Camden, enjoyed a position at Outward Bound, and appreciated her time as a trip leader at Chewonki.  Mixed in there she also did some work for her dad's company.  It's not surprising that Maddox eventually followed in her dad's footsteps. "Talking tugs and building boats was always part of the dinner conversation growing up." she shared.  Today, the family business carries on with Katie's husband as CFO and her sister Kristen, an attorney, helps out with the legal side of the business. 

    Maddox has a passion for what her company produces.  She  would much rather rattle off stats about the tugs in production, vessel specifications, hull numbers, etc. then talk about herself.  It is clear that she has great admiration for her team.  Noting the countless man hours that go into designing and building each one of these vessels,  Katie remarked "We are very proud of the craftsmanship.  We work hard at living up to our reputation for building good boats."

    If you want to hear Katie really light up, ask her about a launch.  "A launch is a very special event. Everything you see and everything you can't see from the paint to the bridge, from the engine room to the hydraulics, someone here did that.  Our team put it together. It takes a lot of man hours, a lot of time out of someone's life to build each vessel. A launch evokes a great sense of fulfillment in all of us here." 

    With that kind of dedication, it is no wonder that Katie Doughty Maddox and her team of craftsmen continue to live up to their world class reputation for excellence in building steel vessels right here in East Boothbay, Maine.