“Fortunately, we're in a business that we've pretty much been uninterrupted, so we're blessed.”

    -Robert Helmick, Calcutta Marine

A local luxury boat builder is riding a wave of increased sales – despite this uncertain economic time – and that means everything to the company’s 14 employees.

As the pandemic continues to bear down on the country, some businesses suffer.

Others thrive.

And the people at Calcutta Marine in Palmetto are filled with gratitude as their orders pile up.

“We build custom factory direct power catamarans,” company foreman Robert Helmick said.


After getting ahead of backlogs, they began ordering boat parts — like engines — early.

“It's just nice to be able to help run a company, a small company, where you've got a group of employees that are really basically like a big family,” Helmick said. “We rarely have any turnover here.”

Helmick says the employees are their lifeblood.


“I never wake up not wanting to go to work, I can tell you that,” Helmick said.

The company is preparing to expand its warehouse space in Manatee County to accommodate their growing boat reservations. This will help double their output to about 50 boats a year. They hope to have this expansion completed over the next 18 months.

The boats are about $180,000…but the get bigger and fancier, the more costly.

Since March, Virginia Johnson has taken us all over the Tampa Bay area to see how folks are dealing with Life in the Time of Coronavirus. To watch her previous stories, visit here.