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Interviewee: Carlos Rafael

Role: Boat Owner

Date of Interview: 9/26/04

Collection: Working Waterfront Festival Community Documentation Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: New Bedford boat owner Rafael talks about how he built his fleet through a combination of hard work and business acumen.

Transcript: "I was still making extra money and I was buyin' another boat and I was buyin' another boat. Then they had an auction in Fairhaven when, really the scallops were in crisis. Now we're up to '95. I go to the auction; I already had saved $650,000 or $675,000 dollars. I go into an auction I end up buying. I buy the three scallopers for $615,000-- this is in November of 1995, when they send the boats out January or February of 1996 the scallopers came in full force and I started making money from all angles. Then everybody says, "Ah you were so lucky." But I mean then you had all the big wallets in Fairhaven when they auctioned the boats off but nobody had the nerve to step to the plate. A year prior to that, they had paid a million dollars to build 'em and they're sellin' 'em at $300 and a hundred and some thousand a piece. I says "I gotta be crazy not to invest; just the damn boat alone is worth that kind of money." And those are the boats they have saved me up to today; my scallopers they have done very well financially.

It's a future for guys with deep pockets. They're able to maneuver. And I'm not saying deep pockets like my case, but I can diversify. I got the draggers, I got the scallopers. I have alternatives but the guy that only got one boat he's in trouble. He is in a lot of trouble.

But this only came through hard work because when I was 16 years old and I was working 90 hours a week most of youse guys were having fun, you were partying, and you only started getting your act together when you were 23, 24, 25.

But nobody's successful in life unless they work very hard at it. Because nothing comes from the sky. I haven't seen anybody on this waterfront do well just by sittin' at the end of the pier and lookin' at the sky seein' if the dollars fall from the sky, I never seen it, otherwise I'd be sitting there."

To read Carlos's full transcript, click here.