The yard whose success built the Marina Punat Group on the isle of Krk is celebrating its first 100 years
In 2022, the Punat Shipyard celebrates its 100th anniversary, after a century that brought prosperity to the island community, which has developed from a small coastal town into a modern nautical center of European relevance. The beginnings were modest, as they often are. One hundred years ago, the yard was just two dry docks for repairs.
On one of those, in 1920, young shipbuilder Nikola Žorić built his first boat to order, and in 1922 he obtained a permit for opening a shipbuilding business. This was the foundation of the future shipyard, as well as several other businesses gathered today under the umbrella of the Marina Punat Group.
The first boats built in Punat were smaller private and fishing boats, but soon the shipyard began building wooden motor boats
Early in the last century, all ships were built in wood, so the new yard employed locals who were skilled in either shipbuilding, or with wood, like caulkers or carpenters, as well as sailors. Between the two world wars, diesel engines entered shipbuilding, steel began to be used, and in the mid-1960s, fiberglass.
The number of electrical components grew, and the makeup of the yard’s workforce adapted, adding mechanics, engineers, welders, electricians and painters, specialists in electronics or plastic work. Sailmakers remained popular, as sailing never went out of fashion in the area. Like the founder Nikola Žorić, who trained his first apprentices, the Punat shipyard continues the tradition of educating its workers in the shipyard, in cooperation with secondary and occupational schools in Punat, Krk, Novi Vinodolski and Senj.
After the Second World War, the shipyard became property of the state, and the founder and owner Nikola Žorić left the country and moved to Italy. For the next 45 years, the company was self-managed by workers, and in the early 1990s the shipyard went through a process of privatization, the division and sale of ownership shares to employees, who are still the majority shareholder today.
The first boats built in Punat were smaller private boats and fishing boats, but soon the shipyard expanded their production and began building wooden motor boats.
In 1940, the construction of the cargo ship Primorje began – with 114 ft. in length, this was the largest ship they had built up to date. After the war and with significant development of shipbuilding in steel, the Punat shipyard focused on overhaul work, and the construction of fishing and recreational boats. Among the most significant builds is certainly the hull of Jadranka, a 114 ft. luxury motor yacht built for the leisure-loving president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito. The impact of Punat Shipyard on the community is immeasurable.
The impact of Punat Shipyard on the community is immeasurable
In addition to securing more than 1,300 employees through, the yard and their related businesses have also had a direct impact on shaping life and developing the town and the surroundings for over one hundred years. With the support of the shipyard, the first power plant Munjara was opened the town in 1930 and the electrification of the place began, later a water supply system was built, as well as a modern sewerage system.
Among the most significant direct results of the presence and activity of the yard is certainly the deepening of the entrance canal to Puntarska draga in 2010, which significantly improved the flow in the bay.
Today, the shipyard is mainly oriented on maintenance and upgrade of ships up to 165 ft. in length and up to 600 tons. Ferries and boats of Jadrolinija and Rapska plovidba, as well as patrol vessels of the Ministry of the Interior and local tourist boats are regular clients, as are as leisure yachts from Marina Punat, that, as do other yachts from other marinas come to Punat for major overhauls and upgrades.
Photos Marina Punat & Kristijan Žic