Home 9 Industrial & Marine 9 Ports of Confidence:
The Engineering of Economic Development

Ports of Confidence:
The Engineering of Economic Development

Historic aerial of Lunenburg Shipyard

Being a captain ain’t easy. Critical, life and death decisions, ensuring the seaworthiness of the ship, handling payroll, staffing, and grievances all while being responsible for all persons and cargo on board; the daunting weight of all these responsibilities are tough to shoulder, even for the saltiest of sea dogs.

But these pressures are what fills the sails of master mariner, Captain Bradison Boutilier. In fact, Boutilier has now undertaken the role of marine port re-fitter, bringing some of Nova Scotia’s neglected marine ports back into working, viable and profitable centres of trade.

Marine Railway Inspection and maintenance in Lunenburg Shipyard, Nova Scotia, Canada

Back in Action – Marine Railway First Haul

There is nothing more quintessentially Nova Scotian as the Lunenberg Waterfront.

The historic UNESCO designated town is world renowned for its fishing and marine industry. However, although the town has not lost an ounce of charm, it is missing what had made it a port of prosperity – a working shipyard.

Supported throughout the summer by the tourists that flock the iconic schooner, Bluenose II, Lunenburg is doing quite well. But when the rains of November fall upon the wharves, business dries up, leaving a gap of employment; unfortunately, synonymous with maritime life. But it wasn’t always that way, and Boutilier is determined to fix it.



There is an undercurrent in Atlantic Canada to revitalise the ports and develop the economic potential that has long been overlooked. Adam Langley’s Superyacht East Coast has poised itself on the bowsprit of this initiative.

By developing portside infrastructure and strategically marketing to traditionally overlooked sectors, the organisation is increasing awareness and driving investment and visitors to the region’s ports and marinas. But actual “superyachts” are only the tip of the proverbial economic iceberg.


CEO Brad Boutilier inspecting newly installed Marine Railway in Lunenburg Shipyard, Nova Scotia, Canada

Captain Brad Boutilier at his refitted Marine Railway in Lunenburg Shipyard, Nova Scotia, Canada


Both Langley and Boutilier are keenly aware of the need for a diverse, all-season industry that drives new economies into these seaside communities. This two-punch of international marketing and marine know-how has birthed a kinship that will benefit the whole region.

Langley spent years at Develop Nova Scotia, formerly the Waterfront Development Corp., revitalising the Halifax harbour to much deserved laudation. While at the same time Captain Boutilier worked the tugs, a gruelling job where seamanship and stress are delivered in equal measure.

Now, with a combination of passion and business acumen, Captain Boutilier has undertaken the revitalisation of the Lunenburg Shipyard. After successfully retrofitting the East River Shipyard near neighbouring Hubbards, Nova Scotia, Brad has brought his dogged determination to the once-defunct Lunenburg shipyard.

“We were actually losing larger boats and yachts to New England because there was no facility or service team around.” explains Boutilier.  “Even local yacht owners were going to the States to store their boats for the winter and get service work done. The yachting and boating industry on the Eastern seaboard and New England is huge, all the way up to Booth Bay and then it just stops!”


Hauling Out and Laying Up

An integral service to all marine industries is periodic maintenance. To properly inspect, maintain, repair, and thus ensure seaworthiness, the vessel must be removed from the water.  But after decades of neglect, the integrity of the marine railways that haul and launch boats from the Lunenburg harbour were in a dubious and undetermined state.

This hulking problem for the shipyard presented a lack of safety and reliability that would be, quite frankly, uninsurable.

To service a burgeoning clientele, the marine railways would have to be operational, and complete confidence in the structures and mechanisms would be essential.

A short sail away, in the city of Halifax is Enginuity Inc., is an engineering team comprising a compliment of sailors. Captain Boutilier, familiar with the extensive marine experience of the firm, commissioned Enginuity to perform a thorough inspection of one of the two marine railways.

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of Marine Railway Infrastructure Installation located in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of Marine Railway Infrastructure Installation located in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

To confidently operate and get the shipyard ready for business, a “Holistic Inspection” of the marine railway would need to be performed. Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and a submerged inspection were the focus areas of the majority of all the components of the railway. This included the cradle structure, pulling mechanism, and railway, including the shore support structure and submerged support structure.

“It is the foundational infrastructure on which to build opportunity.”


The testing and marine railway inspection established a maximum operational allowance. This meant that Lunenburg Shipyard could start to bring boats in immediately and begin doing work. This nominal amount of investment propelled Boutilier and his team and expeditated their service offering immediately. Lunenburg Shipyard would now be open for business.

Having experienced engineers Enginuity certify the railway allowed Lunenburg Shipyard to service clients without the added, costly expense and initial overhead of rebuilding and replacing all components of the railway – an expense that can easily exceed millions of dollars.


A Rising Tide Floats All Boats

The economic offshoot of this work reaches across various trades and businesses in the town and surrounding areas. But this is no localised endeavor. Adam Langley and his team can now add Lunenburg Shipyard to the growing list of marine ports in the region that are open for business. This evolving endeavor will inspire other shipyards to follow suit, incentivising boat owners and operators from around the globe to choose Nova Scotia.

Captain Boutilier has embarked on an altruistic mission that is bigger than himself. There is a concerted effort to return the Lunenburg waterfront into viable year-round commercial hub. Exciting new operations such SOAR (Sustainable Ocean Applied Research) and the overhaul of the historic foundry into an incubator for ocean tech companies are making waves.

This rejuvenation of the Lunenburg waterfront as a shipbuilding, repair and maintenance destination also makes great economic sense. The historic and financial journey requires great partners like Langley to deliver the message, and Enginuity to secure a confident foundation on which to build, to which Langley adds, “Boats attract people and people attract boats.”

Enginuity at a glance

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