During the summer months Fethiye harbour is a hive of activity, with rows of boats offering everything from daily boat trips, private hire and fishing trips to longer trips on one of the many gulets.

You can spend a day in Fethiye bay amongst the famous 12 Islands or enjoy a cruise further afield. There is a boat trip to suit all tastes and budgets.

But what happens to the boats at the end of the summer when the visitors go home?

In the Karagözler area of Fethiye you will find the boatyard (tersane in Turkish). Whatever time of year you come here the boatyard is busy however, winter time is especially so as it is the time when the boats come out of the water and undergo annual maintenance.

Boats out of the water for annual maintenance.

Fethiye Times went along to have a look.

Boats of all shapes and sizes

You are immediately struck by the number of boats of all shapes and sizes that are perched, in what appears to be a precarious manner, on steel or wooden props in various stages of the cleaning and painting that takes place each year.

The 63 meter, 18 cabin Grand Admiral
Double decker ketch (aynakıç) – one of the many daily boats
Boats of all types come to the boatyard for maintenance or repair

A well-built wooden boat can last a lifetime with the correct care. This includes cleaning and painting the hull.

Hull being scaped and cleaned ready for painting
The hull of the Grand Admiral being repainted

Cleaning and painting the propellors

Propellor encrusted with barnacles

Painting topside

Dragon Boat being repainted

Sounds and smells

The sound of hammering and sanding machinery fılls the air.

Sand blasting a propellor
Hull and topside being prepared for painting with an electric hand sander

Smells of paint and epoxy resin mix with the aroma of köfte and kebabs coming from the local lokanta where it will soon be time for the workers to stop to drink çay and eat a well deserved meal.

Just finishing off the paintwork
Time for a break

Where are the cranes?

The boatyard uses traditional methods and there are no cranes or modern equipment to winch the boats out of the water.

A series of steel cables and pulleys are used, along with sheer hard work and brute force.

Miles of steel cables
Getting the pulleys ready
The Lycian Princess being winched carefully back into the water

A tractor unit with a steel framework is used for the smaller boats

Back in the water! from fethiyetimes on Vimeo.

Calış Boats

If you visit Çalış in the winter you will see the Çalış boats propped up by the river where the maintenance takes place.

Çalış boats out of the water
An almost empty river in Çalış

And what happens if the boats aren’t maintained regularly?