BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Matthew Hinton says wooden boats offer even more than aesthetics - they offer floating history lessons.
"A wood boat, you can touch," Hinton said. "You can feel the grain. It has a love, a passion. There's a soul to a wooden boat, where a fiberglass boat does not have a soul."
Hinton bought the Mystic in 2009, but only after a long love affair. The 65-foot boat was built in 1939, and saw service in the Navy and wildlife service before retiring to civilian life.
"I just had a love for the boat as a young child growing up in Ocean Springs. Always saw it in the harbor," added Hinton.
The 25th annual Billy Creel Memorial Wooden Boat Show at the Schooner Pier in Biloxi featured 50 boats; some big, some small.
"Well it's like one gentleman just came by, he looked at it and he said, 'It's just right,'" said Joel Turner, owner of a mini-tug named Lil Gal.
Bill Miller of Gulfport doesn't own a wooden boat, but knows their value.
"We have good craftsman today, but to see these boats restored to 100 percent to what they originally looked like, it's just outstanding. They are awesome," said Miller.
Kim Ross Bush, president of the board with the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, says the boats are the backbone of Coast culture.
"The craftsmen of our early ancestors created these beautiful vessels that harvest the waters here, built an industry that without the wooden boats," Bush said. "We wouldn't have had shrimp processing, you wouldn't have had oyster processing."