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The Triton

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Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm facilities expand and upgrade for yachts

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Lauderdale Marine Center (LMC) continues to make changes since being purchased last summer by The Carlyle Group, a global asset manager.

Personnel changes include Doug West named as president and Eric Hruska as general manager. West started with Carlyle last October and began full-time at LMC in December. West was previously president of Rybovich. Hruska, also from Rybovich, worked for nine years with that company’s facilities and infrastructure. LMC’s former dockmaster, John Terrill has been named as business development manager.

LMC is a do-it-yourself yard with tenants on property and West said the company is reevaluating those partner businesses.

“We’re looking at our mix of contractors versus what services you can get in a full service yard,” West said at the marina office in March. “We realized there are some of those core categories that we didn’t have on site, so we’re attracting some of those folks in here now.

LMC expands

LMC expands

“We found other trades where we had way too much competition, it was tough for all those people to survive,” West said. “We need to get the mix right, so when a boat comes in here they can get everything done that they need to, so it’s all right here at their fingertips.”

Historically most of the tenants are on short-term leases, from one year to month-to-month leases. The reorganization may take about a year, he said.

“There are not that many changes we need to make,” West said. He said the yard is light in mechanical and heavy in paint, “but the rest is in pretty good shape, we’re not kicking anybody out.”

“We’ve had some tenants that didn’t either renew or we didn’t renew,” West said. “Some it doesn’t make sense for the long term because they do long term projects. That doesn’t work for this yard because those companies only work on their own projects.”

The new management also established a set of contractor guidelines.

“If you want to work in here, here’s how you need to conduct business; you need to provide warranties, estimates up front, schedules, employees in uniform, just stuff you would expect,” West said.

The company started hosting meetings twice a week, first with tenants, and next with outside contractors.

“Ninety-eight percent want these changes, the minority don’t see the need. But our customers want to see professionalism,” West said.

West said LMC discovered was their pricing for the bigger boats was out of line.

Eric Hruska, general manager at Lauderdale Marine Center show an area where upgrades are being made.

Eric Hruska, general manager at Lauderdale Marine Center show an area where upgrades are being made.

“So we’re dropping those prices, both in the water and on the hard,” West said. “For the 125-foot and up, we dropped those rates after we looked at our local competition.”

The company also added  scheduling software and staff.

“Now we take reservations in advance and we will schedule a haul out,” West said. “It was a critical piece that we heard from almost every customer, because we would not take reservations. We would put you on the list and call you.”

“The other critical piece was, we waited on customers to call us for haul-out, now we schedule their haul-out,” West said.

“All of this helps to make things consistent both for internal employee and contractors,” General Manager Hruska said. “They can plan and know if the yacht can sit for six weeks.”

“Of course when we get, ‘I’m taking on water and need to be hauled now,’ we’re going to take care of that as well,” Hruska said. “But the more you can plan, the more you can control your costs.”

Palm Harbor Marina completes expansion

Slips were filled at Palm Harbor Marina’s debut dock expansion during the 31st annual Palm Beach International Boat Show held in mid-March. Construction was handled by MarineTek, the same contractor that built the existing docks at the West Palm Beach marina.

“The changes give us a net gain of six slips for megayachts,” Marina Manager John Smundin said. “We have six slips for 160-foot yachts, two slips for 120-foot and one for a 100-foot yacht.”

Large yachts, including M/Y Steel, fill Palm Harbor Marina's expanded dock during Palm Beach International Boat Show in mid-March. Photo by Dorie Cox

Large yachts, including M/Y Steel, fill Palm Harbor Marina’s expanded dock during Palm Beach International Boat Show in mid-March. Photo by Dorie Cox

The marina did additional dredging in the expanded area to create a turning basin, Smundin said. “We have 11 feet of depth at low water. We also added a lot of power.”

Smundin said they offer power to all the 160 foot slips with twin 100-amp, 480v, three-phase power with the option to use single phase. Motoryachts Cherosa, M3, Four Wishes, Steel, Gravitas were on the new docks during the Palm Beach show.

Personnel on the move

In other marina news, Ernest J. D’Alto has been named president of Thunderbolt Marine in Savannah, Georgia. D’Alto started with the company in 2007 in the cabinetry department after a career in manufacturing with Mainship. He then ran the mechanical department before being named general manager in 2015.

“We’ve had the same tremendous group here for a while, so my job is primarily orchestrating the work and getting new business,” D’Alto said.

Dorie Cox is associate editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome at dorie@the-triton.com.

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