After a relaxing summer hiatus, Triton Networking is back on the first Wednesday in August with Parker Yacht Management. Parker Yacht is a large custom yacht tender repair facility in Fort Lauderdale, recently expanded into big digs behind Lester’s.
Everyone is welcome to join us from 6- 8 p.m. at this casual networking event to catch up with industry colleagues and tour Parker Yacht. Until then, learn more about the company from founder Ole Parker.
Q. Tell us about Parker Yacht.
We are a full-service center for large yacht tenders, especially those that are towed behind or on deck on yachts of 150 feet or larger. We do custom work, and don’t refuse anything.
We are also an authorized Yamaha outboard engine dealer and repair center, and recently were named an authorized Castoldi jet tender service center.
Q. Specializing in tender repair is an interesting niche. Why tenders? Why not just do the big-boat repair?
I didn’t want to be a boatyard. I knew these tenders needed repair and generally the boatyards don’t want to deal with them. And it’s something we’re good at. We have large yards calling us now.
Tenders have evolved from an afterthought to being another tool for the owners. They’ve gotten so big that they are now being towed behind the larger vessels.
We actually have four key customers: tenders for large yachts, the local Fort Lauderdale boater, being a Yamaha full line dealer, and the restoration of classic small vessels, such as the 1970 Seacraft I’m working on now.
Q. Makes sense that you needed this big new facility. Tell us how you got to this point.
I came to Fort Lauderdale in 1982 when I was 22 years old and started working at Chinook Marine. By 1987, I was the yard foreman. I learned everything I could from the guys there. I ran the Travelift, hauled boats, painted bottoms, worked on engines, did electric. I was a jack of all trades, but a master of none. So they didn’t give me the 50-cent raise because I was not a master, so we came to a parting of the ways in the summer of 1987.
By then, I had gotten my captains license, so I got my first job on a 65-foot Kashing out of Taiwan, running the whole U.S. East Coast and the Bahamas. Then that owner bought a 92-foot Westport and we did a complete refit. (That owner now owns the big Feadship M/Y Chantal Ma Vie.)
I also ran an 86-foot Burger and stayed with that owner 11 years, running the Great Circle twice, the St. Lawrence Seaway and up the Mississippi.
In 2002, it all ended when my drinking got in the way. By 2006, I was sober and had worked at Rybovich for a year. Then I came to Fort Lauderdale with a friend to work on outboard engines, and I restored some friends’ boats. In 2007, I started Parker Yacht with me and a toolbox. Then I hired two helpers, then an office lady. In February 2018, we moved into this 10,000-square-foot warehouse.
Now, any boat we can get on a trailer, we can get inside. The doors have 14-foot clearance.
I sobered up when I was 45 years old. I started with absolutely nothing; now that we have this, I look at it all differently. It’s come a long way; not as far as I wanted, but we’re getting there.
Q. Tell us about your staff. Finding qualified technicians isn’t easy. Do you find them or train them?
We trained everybody that’s here. We’ve hired some from the vocational schools, and I then send them to school. Yamaha master technicians go through six levels of training. We also have ABYC-certified electrical and electronics installers, and some staff training in epoxy from Gougeon.
Q. You are a part of the MSHS Group of Companies. Tell us what that means.
In the beginning, [MSHS President Are Friesecke] offered me work on his boat and a place to store some boats. When it came time for Parker Yacht to grow further, his company has what i was lacking, the infrastructure, HR support, IT support, marketing.
We utilize that infrastructure. And they also have a large yacht division, so we supplement each other’s work on larger yachts, offering full service from yacht to tender.
Join us for Triton Networking from 6-8 p.m. with Parker Yacht, 240 SW 32nd Court (33315). No RSVP necessary. Just bring a smile and some business cards. You’ll never know who you might meet. For more info about Parker Yacht, call 954-463-1515 or visit www.parkeryacht.com.