EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 14, 2013

A life on the water

Newburyport's Bob Yeomans fetes 45 years at sea

NEWBURYPORT — Veteran boat captain Bob Yeomans has a saying about life on the Atlantic: There are no 401(k) plans to be had by fishing Jeffrey’s Ledge.

So Captain Bob continues on, taking out the Erica Lee II on fishing trips and coastal discoveries as he has for decades.

He recently observed his 45th year on the water. Family, friends and crew mates from over the years threw him a party Saturday to mark the occasion.

Close to 100 attended, and they may have been celebrating a man — and a career — that will be difficult to replicate.

The season is ending, and Yeomans is finishing another campaign in which he took his 48-foot craft out almost every day.

Sometimes Captain Bob takes out a dozen or so fishing; on other occasions he’ll host a crowd of youngsters, as they learn more about the bay, marshes and ocean.

His tenure includes 25 years of Coastal Discoveries, a summer marine program for kids. Or, as is said on the website, “We take kids fishing.”

Most every day is different, but they add up to a unique career in which he made a wage — in changing ways — on the water.

“I’ve done what I wanted,” said Yeomans, a certified ocean captain who started his career in the Coast Guard. “To be on the ocean, and make a living from it has been a great experience.

“I’ve enjoyed hosting our guests, and now am seeing children of former crew members and regular customers. I’ve enjoyed the people.”

All vocations have changed over the years, either through technology, market forces or a combination of the two.

Fishing has been affected more than most by foreign ships, the disappearance of fish and by government controls.

Enormous factory vessels, carrying modern sonar and mammoth freezers, dragged away much of the fish stock of the North Atlantic over the years.

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