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Triton Networking after FLIBS with Universal Marine Center

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Triton Networking returns to Universal Marine Center on the first Wednesday in November with co-hosts Ronnie’s Custom Carpet Cleaning. The old Greek yard has been revamped over the past four years with new power, new docks, a new entrance and expanded facilities. And things continue to evolve, even since our last visit in the spring.

Join us for casual networking at the yard from 6-8 p.m. Until then, learn more about the facility and its plans from general manager Laurent Bensoussan.

Q. Tell us about Universal Marine Center.

We are a maintenance and refit services yard with the marina experience. We have the infrastructure and experience-devoted crew to satisfy all the yacht requests in a quick and easy manner. We are just a phone call away, seven days a week, to adjust arrivals/departures or special needs. 

We are also happy to start accommodating yachts over 180 feet in length and to have some 190 footers coming in the near future. 

Q. Bring us up to date with the yard.

The yard had been closed since M/Y Sacajawea dropped off the Synchrolift in 2004. The actual owner bought it in 2009 and used it mostly as a “parking” area for yachts. In 2015, Capt. Bernard Calot and I joined the yard to oversee his massive investment to adapt the property for the need of larger vessels.

We widened the entrance, upgraded the floating docks to hurricane standards, grew from 18 slips to 40, installed all new power with 480 volts, added high-speed wi-fi, and fixed the seawall to add a face dock on the river.

Q. What’s new around here?

We are starting this winter to finish sealing the basin with a tow wall to minimize erosion. Those are 20-foot aluminum sheets, which we already have on site. We’re going to start on the southwest corner of the basin near the parking lot, and should have that done by January. 

We are also adding a building for more onsite contractors to improve service to our clients. 

Sealing the basin and relocating west side slips will give us about 8 extra linear feet on those docks, and a new 180-foot alongside slip, which is good news for the bigger boats coming to see us. 

Now than the bottom is stabilized, we are doing a maintenance dredging once a year to keep the basin clear to a draft of almost 11 feet. 

We will also be introducing new software for the staff to manage reservations and simplify invoicing, giving captains and yacht managers an immediate view to be able to plan or adjust budgets. We will update our website in 2020, too.

Q. What services do you offer?

Captains are in control to decide who they want to use for their projects. We can happily say that we have top-of-the-line onsite contractors who cover metal fabrication, fiberglass, electrical, electronics, hydraulics, air conditioning, plumbing, paint jobs, detailing, and tender/outboard services. Or they can bring their outside contractors for a small gate fee. 

We understand that there are plenty of qualified outside contractors who are small companies, and we encourage them at Universal as long as they can supply proper insurance to protect our customers and ourselves.

Our goal is to see a smile on the crew at arrival and see it again when they depart, because there are no surprises and no stress at Universal Marine Center. We are proud and thankful to have close to 100% of returning customers.

All Triton readers are welcome to join us for Triton Networking on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 6-8 p.m. Only the location changes. For the first Wednesday in November, find us at Universal Marine Center, 2700 SW 25th Terrace (just west of I-95 on State Road 84, tucked between Cable Marine and RPM Diesel). No RSVP necessary; just bring a smile and some business cards. You never know who you will meet at Triton Networking.

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About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

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