Secret Dalmatia Blog - Travel Experiences in Croatia

The wooden shipbuilding tradition on Croatian shores started probably with first humans coming here. Eventually, the Illyrians became so skillful in both shipbuilding and sailing that their liburna ships were adopted by the Romans after they conquered this side of the Adriatic.

But, times are changing and ship building too. From the glorious liburnas to all sorts of big merchant ships that sailed all oceans, most of the wooden boats are now either taking tourists on cruises (most of them dreadfully modified) or they are just pride and joy of their owners serving just for fun.


These days, only few traditional ship yards are still operating and one of them is Marina Vinici ship yard in Murter.
Although Murter was not the cradle of wooden boats like it was on Brac or even more so on Korcula, this is practically the biggest ship building that can actually repair and build from scratch a wooden boat of any size. So, while I was still working on our boat Barbarinac, this was the place where I spent many days every Spring.

The forest of masts...on dry land
The forest of masts...on dry land
Boats of all sizes
Boats of all sizes

So, while many think of scents of Spring being all of flowers, most of us who spent time in the ship yard remember mostly the scents of saw dust, paint and cooked wood.
The ship yard is very busy especially from February to May as everyone is trying to get ready for the tourist season or the spring fishing.

Our "Barbarinac"
Our "Barbarinac"

But this place is also great to learn more about the traditional boats in the area as it showcases all sorts of boats: from these small gajetas to koče and gulets.

Gajete, koče, guleti...
Gajete, koče, guleti...

This shipyard is also home to some of the most interesting classic boats still sailing in the Adriatic as the owner, Marko Bašić, has purchased several classic boats. It actually should not be his business but the government should preserve our heritage… But, at least someone has the sensibility for tradition in these tough times.

Beautiful classic lines...
Beautiful classic lines...

Wooden boats have soul that modern plastic tubs will never have. There is nothing comparable to touching a big hull of a wooden boat and if you want a friend and a companion on the sea, then you buy or build one of these.

But some old boats will die here. Left alone after the death of their owners, they slowly vanish beaten by the wind and rain and merciless sun.

Mali Matej
Mali Matij

Not only the wooden boats are difficult to build, but this very spot is not an easy place to work at as the bura wind can get pretty strong coming from hills across the channel. Still remember several days when we could not even walk outside with wind “singing” it’s song through the ropes and masts. A very special song…

Bura wind picking up
Bura wind picking up

This should be a sightseeing spot for everyone interested in our heritage. But don’t come in working hours as this place is quite busy and not “tourist friendly”. Still, if you love wooden boats, this is a must see spot on the entire Croatian coast.


5 Replies to “Murter Shipyard”

  1. Beautiful post with such passion and great photos Alan! I love seeing the old boats float down the Adriatic and would love to have my own one day. Next time I’m in the area I will definitely pop in to the boat yard.

  2. You’re right, our government should be taking an interest in maintaining the old wooden boats. Thank you Alan for letting us know there are still some who will carry on the tradition of our wooden sailing vessels.

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