Reader's Picks: Service Yards

Yachting reader recommended service yards.

Back in June, in George Sass Jr.'s Editor's Letter, "Are You Being Served," he asked Yachting readers to let us know their favorite service yards. Since then, responses have come in from all over the world. Here, in alphabetical order, are the service yards recommended by you, the Yachting reader.

Allied Richard Bertram Marine Group Stuart — 110 North Dixie Highway Stuart, Florida 34994-1108, Tel: (772) 692-1122; www.arbmg.com

Allied Marine in Stuart, Florida, is number one in my book. I've been doing business with them for over 10 years.

- Peter Luloh

Unfortunately, Allied Richard Bertram Marine Group Stuart closed their service facility as of January 1st 2010. However, the marina is still fully operational and they are still conducting brokerage there.

Anchor Bay East Marina — 8500 Cove Road Dundalk, Maryland 21222, Tel: (410) 284-1044; www.anchorbayeastmarina.com

George,

Re: ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

I read your article in last month's issue and I couldn't agree with you more. I have totally had it with the big-time commercial repair yards and their outrageous rates. I recently got a quote from a national retailer to change the oil in my Cummins QSB's and my Onan generator. The quote was $1274.00, which I considered to be outrageous. Looking further into the details I discovered that they were charging me eight hours of labor at $100.00 per hour. Needless to say, they didn't get the job.

So I took my boat back to my favorite little marina and low and behold, the job was done for a little over $500. While the boat was there I said, "What the heck, you might as well paint the bottom, wax the hull, sew the tear in my front canvas and check out the intermittently working auto pilot." My final bill came out to little more than double the national chain's quote for an oil change. The final job was perfect and completed in just three days. When I came to pick the boat up it was in the water and ready to roll. By the way, the boat is a 2007, Sea Ray 40' DA, so this was a significant amount of work.

The name of this favorite little marina of mine is Anchor Bay East, located on Bear Creek, in Dundalk, Maryland. The property is owned and operated by Art and Tina Cox and they work there (along with a full staff of mechanics, detailers, canvas repairs, custom painters and some of the friendliest bartenders I've ever met). They're open 362 days a year for parts, haul-outs and mechanical work. Seriously, a marina, with a well stocked parts store open seven days a week!! What a novel idea. Who would have ever thought of being open for boat repairs and parts during the days that boaters really need them...weekends??? In addition, their prices are lower than the chain stores and stocked with just about any part that a routine boater is capable of replacing.

Their Tiki bar and restaurant (The Hard Yacht Cafe) is also one of the best around. The food is home made, and both the food and drinks are very reasonably priced. Stop by sometime and see what you think. It's tough to get there by car, but easy by boat. Here's the information for your readers:

Directions from the Chesapeake Bay:

-Head East/Northeast up the marine channel through the 53-foot fixed Key Causeway Bridge

-Continue through the Peninsula Expressway Bridge (25-foot vertical clearance when the bridge is closed)

-Continue on through the swinging railroad bridge

Anchor Bay East will be on your port side. Bob Jones Gibbstown, New Jersey

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Basin Marine — 829 Harbor Island Drive Newport Beach, California, Tel: (949) 673-0360; basinmarine.brilogy.com & derek@basinmarine.com

Hi George:

I enjoyed reading your editorial "Are you being Served?" in the June issue of YACHTING, and agree that we should celebrate the positive-tough economic times or not. You asked your readers to share their positive experiences with boat yard establishments, here is mine.

My homeport is Newport Harbor, in Orange County, California. My positive experience is doing business with Basin Marine of Newport Beach, California. Basin Marine is a family owned and operated business, now managed by the third generation of the David New family. How does the firm compete among much larger service yards? by consistently providing service with high value. Can yachting be an expensive hobby? you bet...but enterprises like the New's are a breath of fresh air. Just like nearby Disneyland, New's boat yard is the "happiest place on Earth."

Next time you are in town, I recommend that you drop by Basin Marine, get a feel for the establishment. I'm betting that you'll find Basin isn't too different compared to the boat yard you described in Galesville, Maryland, that has provided high value service to your family.

Best Regards, Marcus Crahan Irvine, California

**Catawba Island Marina South — **4235 E Beachclub Rd Port Clinton, Ohio 43452-3009, Tel: (419) 797-4424; www.cicclub.com

This is a full service yard you can confidently trust and don't need to "babysit." They are reliable, timely, pleasant, and appreciative, and there is excellent communication with boat owner. Dr. Richard C. Spinale

**Cortez Cove Boatyard & Marina — **4522 121st Street West Cortez, Florida 34215-0623, Tel: (941) 761-4554

This is a nice, clean, small, yard that allows some DIY. They are reasonable, considerate, and timely.

Thanks, Ron

**Deckelmans Boat Yard — **201 Oak Ave Essex, Maryland 21221, Tel: (410) 391-6482

This yard was recommended to me two years ago. Best thing I ever did. Service related companies are notorious for starting jobs and not finishing on time. For the past two years I tell them when I want to be hauled out, the work to be performed and the day I want the boat back in the water. Everything was been done exactly to the schedule we set up. Deckelman's is a full service yard located in Hopkins Creek off Middle River in the Upper Chesapeake Bay.

Regards, Paul Page Shanghai

**Gambol Industries Inc — **1825 West Pier D Street Long Beach, California 90802-1033, Tel: (562) 901-2470; www.gambolindustries.com

Gambol Industries in Long Beach, California, is an environmentally friendly yard, its owners, Bob Stein and John Bridwell, run a first class operation. Many of the employees have been with the company since the early 1990s when the yard first opened, and demonstrate daily a stake in taking good care of customers' vessels. Bridwell is particularly knowledgeable about every problem a boater and a boat can have, and does his research thoroughly when giving advice in general or discussing specific repairs-you can count on what he tells you. Jeff Mallian, a naval architect, knows boat design from A to Z. It is a boat yard where it is a pleasure to work with the management and staff.

Fred Balitzer Burning Daylight

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Hampton Watercraft & Marine — 401 Montauk Hwy Westhampton Beach, New York 11978, Tel: (631) 288-2900; www.hamptonwatercraft.com and 44 Newtown Road Hampton Bays, New York 11946-1433, Tel: (631) 728-8200

Hello George, In response to your Editor's Letter in the June edition, we would like to bring attention to you and all your readers Hampton Watercraft, in Hampton Bays and Westhampton, NY. We purchased a 2008, 40-foot Formula PC in the fall of 2008, and over the winter months dreamed about being on the water. When it came time to have her launched, Hampton Watercraft went beyond our expectations to make sure that every single detail was taken care of.

Our sales person suggested we stay on the boat a few weekends at their Hampton Bays Marina to familiarize ourselves with the vessel. Anything that needed to be repaired or adjusted was promptly attended to. (For example, our Raymarine E120 GPS kept losing our position. After attempting to fix it once they replaced the entire unit with a new one without us even asking!) Joe Villareale and Mike Friscia couldn't do enough for us, the service was amazing and the personal attention given to us by all their personnel in both locations was overwhelming. In the past we have owned a 29-foot SeaRay AmberJack and a 34-foot Formula PC, purchased from a Connecticut dealer. Neither dealership came close to being as service oriented as Hampton Watercraft. Kudos to them for their professionalism, sincerity, and kindness. And kudos to you for giving your readers a chance to thank wonderful boat dealers that deserve to be recognized. Happy YACHTING readers, Maryann and Herb Rocchi Long Island, New York

**Kelly's Port Marina — **5250 Dude Ranch Road Osage Beach, Missouri 65065, Tel: (573) 348-4700; www.kellysport.com

George,

I boat at The Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. A few years ago, I pulled into the gas dock at Kelly's Port Marina, where I have been going now for 20 years or so. The owner, Randy Kelly was walking by and said to me "Ben, your bilge pump is running." I said, "I know it, that's why I'm here." "Let me have the boat now," Randy said, and before I could get to the service office my boat was already being hauled out and on it's way to a service bay. The problem was found and the next morning the boat was ready. That's Service!

- Ben Sharp

Keys Boat Works — 700 39th Street Gulf, Marathon, Florida 33050, Tel: (305) 743-5583; www.keysboatworks.com

George,

I would highly recommend Keys Boat Works. They are honest folks and very professional. They keep to a schedule and are reasonable on their rates. I have dealt with the for the five years that I have lived here.

- Richard Dugan

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Krenzer Marine Sales — 8495 Greig Street Sodus Point, New York 14555-9752, Tel: (315) 483-6986; www.krenzermarine.com

George,

Krenzer Marine Sodus Point, New York. Always on top of the game when it comes to service.

- Jim Foley

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**Marine Max - Baltimore — **2780 Lighthouse Point Baltimore, Maryland 21224-5055, Tel: (410) 732-3360; www.marinemax.com

George, Like you I am tired of hearing about nothing but bad news. I know the media is very focused on the plight of the Auto Industry and there has been next to no focus on what this downturn has done to the boating industry. Last October I got tired of dwelling on it and decided to pull the trigger on the purchase of a used 2003 54 foot Hatteras from Marine Max. Guess what – the world didn't come to the end for me. I really enjoy boating and especially my Hatteras, it's a great way to relax and spend quality time with my family and friends. It really helps me take my mind off of everything else that is going on around me. The logistics of the purchase were complicated by the fact that we were deep into winter and I had a trade that was already winterized and the boat that I was buying was located in Florida and it needed to be delivered to Baltimore, Maryland for a close date of December 31st. Marine Max in general, and the crew in Baltimore, Maryland, did a great job taking care of all the details of getting my trade moved, and getting the Hatteras up from Florida during less than ideal conditions. After a successful closing the next phase of the deal moved to an April commissioning date with a punch list that was a mile long and that required the coordination of various vendors. The crew at Marine Max, Baltimore lead by the service manager, Robert Janes and the Sales Manager TJ Rose, did an outstanding job of communicating with many phone calls, emails and pictures. I was able to contact Robert and TJ at virtually any hour of the day. Because we were all on the "same page," we were able to work through many issues that were unknown at the time of closing. Had it not been for this outstanding level of communication and follow through I don't believe the delivery in April would have been as smooth as it was. Also there were several items that Marine Max just took care of without "nickel and diming me." I would highly recommend this facility to anybody that is either buying a used or new boat, or just looking for repairs. Thanks for giving us an avenue to highlight the good news that is out there.

Kevin Harakal Saratoga Springs, New York

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MarineMax - Dania Beach — 490 Taylor Lane Dania, FL 33004-2534, Tel: (954) 926-0308; www.marinemax.com

In 2005 my vessel, Burning Daylight, a 78 foot Hatteras, was laid up for a number of weeks at AMT boat yard (its name was changed when Marine Max purchased it) in Dania Beach, Florida just outside of Ft. Lauderdale. The staff was wonderfully professional, and knowledgeable about every detail of boats and making a boat seaworthy. If they did not know something, they knew whom to call upon to address a problem. Boat yard staff went out of their way to make you feel at home and welcome in their boat yard family.

Fred Balitzer Burning Daylight

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**Marlow Marine — **4204 13th Street Court West Palmetto, Florida 34221, Tel: (941) 729-3370; www.marlowmarine.com

Hi George, In response to your recent article, "Are You Being Served," I would like to thank the folks at Marlow Marine for their caring attitudes. The yard boss Tim Conway and his assistant Pam keep it all in check. Marlow builds an awesome yacht, but, as in all products marine related, when you have so many parts making up a great boat there will be failures. Tim and everyone at the yard and customer service go out of their way to remedy the issues in a timely manner. Many of us think we are the only yacht in need and sometimes lose our patience but need to understand in yachting things go wrong and a cool head keeps you safe. Once again I would like to thank everyone at Marlow Marine for making boating a pleasure.

Jim Delellis Onboard Miss Ruth

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**Maximo Marine — **3701 50th Avenue, South St. Petersburg, Florida 33711, Tel: (727) 867-7718; www.maximomarine.com

Hello George, I am just getting started with the June issue and after reading your views I had to tell you that I have a service yard that has given me excellent, timely service. I have been boating for over 40 years and used yards from Rhode Island to Forida. The best one is Maximo Marine Service, in St. Petersburg Florida. The yard manager, Jeff Tomison, is knowledgeable, fair, and a pleasure to deal with. Bob Lain is a master with fiberglass and paint.

- Captain Chuck Stealey

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Prince William Marina — 12849 Gordon Boulevard Woodbridge, Virginia 22192, Tel: (800) 216-2628; www.pwmarina.com

George,

Publishing this list is a great idea. I have one for you: Prince William Marina – Woodbridge, VAA

- Larry Freedman Takin' To The Sea

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Progressive Boat Yard — 1351 Bay Street SE St Petersburg, Florida 33701, Tel: (727) 822-2886, www.progressiveboatyard.com

George,

After reading your letter, "Are You Being Served," I felt that I just had to give you the name and address of the yard I found in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dan, the manager, gave me a quote, told me when it would be ready and did a great job (3 times). I don't ever remember all these items being completed as promised at any other yard in the past. I wouldn't think of going anyplace else.

- W. Perce Paxton

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Robinhood Marine Center — 340 Robinhood Road Georgetown, Maine 04548, Tel: (207) 371-2525; www.robinhoodmarinecenter.com

Hello George;

First, let me say what a wonderful idea it is to "notice" those that help to keep professional and amateur yachtsmen enjoying the yachting experience. I would like to nominate Robinhood Marine Center as YACHTING's Best Service Yard.

RMC is a full service Marine facility with service, storage, repairs, marina (with fuel dock), the Osprey restaurant and a Yacht Brokerage Service run by David Perry. It is truly a full service marine service center for power and sail.

During the summer season, RMC sponsors Friday Night Jazz Night, Wednesday Night Lectures and other Special Events.

RMC's Yacht Service Manager is Gordon Reed. Gordon has had a "Hands On" lifetime of experience in boats from dinghies to 80 foot Trumpy's, in wood, glass and metal. Gordon's Service Center is run efficiently with the expert service personnel one would expect from a boat yard in Maine.

The owner of RMC is Andrew Vavolotis and he is definitely a hands-on owner. Last summer I witnessed his laying of perhaps 20,000, or more, paver stones, in a walkway and barbeque area. Literally a "hands" on owner.

Regards,

Don Kenniston

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Silver Cloud Harbor Marina — 107 Bay Ave. Forked River, NJ 08731; www.forkedrivermarinas.com/silver-cloud-marina.htm

George,

Silver Cloud Harbor Marina, Forked River, New Jersey has always taken good care of me. High prices? Yes. But I can count on them to always provide extraordinary value. Some examples include once while I was out of town, prior to a major storm, the marina owner called me to state he was on my boat and secured the spring line (which I forgot to do). After purchasing two new 125 lb. batteries from the marina, the marina owner radioed the yard to have two workers remove my old batteries and install the new ones at no charge. During July 4th weekend, the marina owner helped me troubleshoot an impeller problem-no charge for a 45 minute demonstration and directions. I have shared these events with others who all claim, this marina owner is a rarity in today's world. Hopefully many others have similar experiences to prove this wrong.

UMT International — 4013 Ravenswood Road Dania Beach, Florida 33312, Tel: (954) 316-0327; www.umtmarine.com

Experienced, dependable, excellent service.

- Justin Landman Weston Florida

Wesco Marine Systems — 29A Alanson Lane Hampton Bays, New York 11946-3201, Tel: (631) 728-9202; www.wescomarine.com

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Zahniser's Marina — Solomons, Maryland 20688, Tel: (410) 326-2166; www.zahnisers.com