Back Cove Yachts plans to hire 20 more employees to staff a new assembly line at its plant in the Rockland Industrial Park.

President and Chief Operating Officer Jason Constantine said Aug. 15 the company already has 118 employees, which shows a significant rebound from the recession in 2009 when the company had cut back to around 40.

The company produces luxury, diesel-powered pleasure boats in-house from start to finish. Constantine said each vessel starts as a sketch on a piece of paper at one end of the building and comes out as a final product on the other.

The new employees, which will include carpenters, mechanics and specialists in fiberglass and lamination, are needed to produce two new models: the Downeast 37 and the Back Cove 41.

The company employs workers from towns all across the Midcoast. Constantine acknowledged that it will be a challenge to find a large number of workers with the right qualifications in the course of the next few months, but said the company is willing to train those who are willing to work.

Sam Warner of Warren has been working for the company for the past four months. He said he had a background in construction, and when he first came to the company he thought the process looked confusing.

"They taught me pretty much everything I know about this stuff," he said.

Now he is starting to pass the skills he has learned on to other new employees.

Constantine said the company provides more than the standard wage and benefits package including tuition assistance for workers seeking to further their education and a scholarship program for the children of employees.

It takes about two months to build each yacht, starting with creating the fiberglass hull in a mold at one end of the building and finishing with the polished wooden cabinetry and fixings at the other end.

Constantine said a Maine-built boat has brand recognition. "Maine-built boat, it's like Italian sports car," he said.

The vessels are purchased by people all over the country and from other parts of the world. Back Cove Yachts have home ports in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as a number of European ports.

The yachts have a primary stateroom, a guest cabin, a galley, air conditioning, flatscreen TVs, a generator and GPS, among other features. The wood used in the interiors is cherry. Many of the company's customers are retirees, looking to enjoy some time out on the water in luxury, according to Constantine.

"We have a niche," he said.

Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 122 or