A longtime marine facility on the Savannah River is under renovation to become Savannah Yachting Center. Jim Berulis is at the helm as vice-president for Colonial Group, the Savannah, Georgia property’s owner. Berulis brings his vice-president experience from two years at Rybovich in West Palm Beach, Florida and 15 years at Trinity Yachts.
The deepwater yard has been known by many names, including Intermarine, Palmer Johnson, Saylor Marine, Savannah Machine & Foundry and, most recently, Global Ship Systems.
“We’re in planning stages,” Berulis said by phone from the yard on Feb. 24. “The intent is to be a yachting facility.”
The property, with its 535-foot graving dock and 1,000-ton marine railway, has served as several mixed-use facilities and has been closed since 2007, according to media reports.
But maintenance crews are on the graving dock, inspections are underway and contractors are onsite to reopen, Berulis said.
“We’re well underway with work on the graving dock, the basin needs some upgrades,” he said. “We’ll replace the bulkheads, the floating dock and the power in the basin.”
The yard is able to accommodate most yachts since the water is 47 feet deep in the river and 25 feet deep in the graving dock.
“There have been some large yachts on that rail, Blue Moon and Meduse, but now it needs upgrades,” Berulis said.
“We are making a decision whether to keep the railway and add a large syncrolift or remove the rail. We’re making these changes to get the targeted yachting client, but we have some major decisions to make,” Berulis added.
“This is a wonderful spot and Savannah is a good destination.The yachts that have been here, like to be here, and this is perfect for repairs and refits.”
No date has been set for the opening of the facility.
“We would like to say we are up and running, but it will be months,” Berulis said. “I’ve just been here two weeks.”
Dorie Cox is associate editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.