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Surveyor, former yacht engineer Mark Webb dies

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By Dorie Cox

An engineer and a yacht surveyor, Mark Webb died after complications from triple by-pass heart surgery in Fort Lauderdale. He was 62.

For more than two decades, Mr. Webb worked as an engineer on yachts, including motoryachts The Daybreak, a 153-foot Feadship; Shalimar, a 118-foot Azimut Benetti; Crystal Sea, a 130-foot Westport; and Blue Guitar, a 103-foot Camper Nicholson.

After working as an engineer and project manager on the refit of M/Y Highlander, a 164-foot Feadship, he joined Florida Nautical Surveyors in Fort Lauderdale.

Mr. Webb had been with the company for the past three years and was hired after the completion of the refit project on Highlander, according to president Malcolm Elliott.

“I knew him before, but I worked with Mark on Highlander,” Elliott said. “We were surveyors from the buyer to the launch; it was a two-year project.

“We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls, even from clients about this,” he said. “Mark was an important part of my team and, as my 12-year-old daughter said when I told her of Mark’s passing, ‘That’s so sad, he was so nice’. I think that very simply, but very sincerely, sums up how everybody found Mark, ‘he was so nice’.”

Mr. Webb moved to the United States about two years after his brother, Stuart, and worked with him on yacht repairs. Previously, he was a machinist in South Africa and worked with his father in construction. 

“He was thorough, good with his hands,” Stuart Webb of KDB Engineering said. “And easy to work with. He got on with everybody. He was just an easy kind of guy.”

Mr. Webb was quick to help if someone moved to town, need an apartment or a help finding a job, his brother said, “He was always there for everybody.”

With a good understanding of the workings of engine rooms and electronics, he was quickly hired onto yachts, his brother said.

“As an engineer, he had a good understanding of systems,” Webb said. “He was a good problem-solver and on these boats there are problems after problems. He got even more involved as a surveyor. He would stick with it until he came to a solution, that’s why he got the job on Highlander. He was very trustworthy and would tell it like it is, whether the boss liked it or not. He never sugar-coated it.”

He was knowledgeable and dependable, and came up with solutions or got the right people in to figure it out, his brother said.

“Mark was always good conversation,” he said and added that his brother enjoyed fishing and golf. “He loved golf; he broke a lot of golf clubs. He was a good, sociable guy.”

Mr. Webb hired long-time friend Richard Appleton and took him “under his wing” as a dayworker new to yachting. Then he “jumped right in and worked side-by-side, hand-to-hand, with me to help get my company established and moving,” Appleton said of Appleton International.

Often a guest in the Appleton home, Mr. Webb became like part of the family and was godfather to their second daughter.

“I will always remember the look on his face when he held her for the first time,” Appleton said. “Just then, my wife and I asked him if he would be her godfather. That look is what I will remember most.”

A passionate fisherman, he and Appleton owned three boats together through the years.

“I know of a number of people who are now successful in the industry, who started on Mark’s sofa and under his wing,” Appleton said. “He never asked for any more than honest friendship.”

Friends will remember him for his focused and dedicated work ethic and his enjoyment for a good Caribbean rum, Appleton said.

A funeral service is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Dec. 18 at Fred Hunter’s Funeral Home, 6301 Taft St. in Hollywood (33024). A wake will follow at The Field Irish Pub and Eatery, 3281 Griffin Road in Fort Lauderdale (33312).

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.

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Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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