Giving up your solid day job in science... for the challenges of wooden boatbuilding

Apr 8, 2019

Athena Aicher at Gannon & Benjamin dock in Vineyard Haven
Credit Photo by Sarah Schewe

Athena Aicher is a boat builder on Martha’s Vineyard, but she wasn’t always. Seven years ago, Athena moved to Woods Hole to work in a lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Athena gave up life in the lab to work in a boat yard. Today, she hears sea birds while she works and can smell the salt air. Her dog, Clio, runs on the beach. The work is hard – bending straight planks of wood into a new, curved life is not easy -but that’s part of the appeal.

A boat inside the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway
Credit Photo by Sarah Schewe

This piece came to us from our production partners at Atlantic Public Media through their media training program, The Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole. Sarah is a graduate of the workshop and you can find out more about that program at


Ways of Life is edited by Jay Allison and made possible by the Circle of Ten - ten local businesses and organizations committed to local programming on WCAI.