He was just nine years old when he first started helping out on his father’s commercial fishing boat. At 18 he was already a captain. By the time he was 22, Kurt Cochran (with the help of his dad, Craig) purchased The Marathon, a 90-foot trawler. Today, Kurt and his wife Kimberlee also own and operate a second vessel, the 80-foot New Life.
The Marathon fishes primarily in Alaskan waters for cod, pollock, sole and rockfish. Periodically it travels to fisheries near Newport, Astoria and Westport. The New Life fishes exclusively in Alaskan waters, although Newport is its home base.
For the Cochrans, fishing is definitely a family business. Their son Keith, now a senior at George Fox University, also started fishing at age nine and has continued working on the boats every summer. Their daughters Daisy, a sophomore at Western Oregon University, and Kristin, a freshman at Newport High School, have also fished on the family vessels.
But it’s not just the Cochran family that is supported by The Marathon and The New Life. Kurt and Kimberlee believe that giving crew members ample and regular off time makes for healthier family relationships. For 10 months of the year, each of their boats operates continuously with a three man crew. Each fisherman typically will work 30 straight days on one of the boats and then spend 30 straight days with his family. The unique arrangement means that 11 families, almost all who live in Lincoln County, are able to make a healthy living from The Marathon and The New Life. Of course as the owners, much of Kurt and Kimberlee’s off time is spent managing the business, but they also find time to be active in their church, community and their children’s lives.
Expenses in a commercial fishing operation are extensive. In order to maintain and upgrade vessels, a good source of financing is essential. Ask them to recommend a bank, and Kurt and Kimberlee will talk enthusiastically about their relationship with Oregon Coast Bank. In Kimberlee’s words: “Everyone at the bank is so helpful and they’re great with fishing loans… They’ve even customized repayment schedules for us to correspond with fishing seasons.” One of the things that has impressed Kurt is the fact that their bankers at Oregon Coast Bank seem to take a genuine interest in their business. “They’ve come out and visited us on our boats; you just don’t expect that of bankers.”
Unquestionably commercial fishing still remains one of our most important local industries. At Oregon Coast Bank we have a tremendous amount of respect for fishing families like the Cochrans and we’re honored that they’ve chosen to bank with us.
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