The Words of the Taylor Family

Master Marine Gel Coat

Karen Taylor
March 20, 2001

Yes, we Master Marine members worked hard, it was basically the MFT work ethic that we followed. We worked 6 1/2 days a week, and our only recreation was occasional soccer games and a video night on Sundays.

Shortly after I arrived, the CF, Bobby Wilson, was replaced with Louis Burgess, as T Kamiyama was assigned the responsibility of MM. Bobby W. was a good hearted, decent guy, but it appeared to me that he lacked the organizational abilities to reach the goal of one completed boat per day. We had been instructed by Rev. Moon to complete 300 boats in one year's time. Hustle, hustle, hustle!

To this day, I still admire Louis, because he pulled it off. Louis had a dramatic sort of character, but he was no, and I really appreciated that. He organized an assembly line and production procedure and soon we were cookin'! I used to watch those Good Gos trailer out of the assembly area on their way up the Sawmill Pkway to Belvedere each night.

"Questionable circumstances", oh, yes! We had no proper ventilation system, so the styrene fumes generated by the resin as it cured could make you feel pretty dopey. The acetone we used to clean resining tools emitted fumes as well, and my nose was often bleeding as the lining was corroded. There was no vacuum for cleanup of the fiberglass dust. Surely a few Shopvacs couldn't have cost too much, but brooms were commonly used. The dust was everywhere, it could be seen floating about, and it got into our clothing and into our pores. We all had the "glass itch" which was excruciating, particularly when I showered, and the hot water amplified the problem. I took to singing, "Torturing every part of me, fiberglass rules my bod", to inject a little levity into the situation.

I worked in the gel coating booth in the Small Parts section for a while. I must have inhaled I don't know how much chemical particles. There was no mask other than an ineffectual gas mask. No ventilation system to suck out the fumes. The catalyst for the gel coat was a very strong peroxide and when it was airborne it would burn the sensitive skin around my face and neck like crazy.

I asked to research and set up a professional mask system with an internal air supply. My Small Parts CF screamed at me, "You have no idea of how to build one boat a day", i.e., I was slowing them down. SHE then marched into the gel coating booth to prove how tough she was (what a macha muchacha!) and began to spray wearing only a particle mask. In a couple of days she became quite ill, and I figured that she had too much exposure.

Louis moved me from Small Parts into the Stockroom. I worked with Dale Garratt to completely renovate and organize the place. He was very thorough, and did a good job.

I learned a few things while I was there, and we gained a sense of achievement and self confidence, which was valuable. There was a lot of needless suffering, however, and only because there was not sufficient responsible care for the workers exercised. We had a few cut fingers, but nothing major, in terms of injuries. I was asked to become a first aider to provide emergency medical care, so I was enrolled in a Red Cross advanced 1st aid course. That was worthwhile.

I some times wonder what happened to all those boats that we built. That was 20 years ago, but some times it feels like yesterday.

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