Good Repair Yard Discovered in Southern Georgia (off St. Marys River, on North River, near St. M. 712)
Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 09-04-2012
Now, here’s a note from a satisfied customer of a boatyard (St. Marys Boat Service) that I’ve somehow managed to miss knowing about for the past 30+ years. After seeing Captain Sipe’s note below, which originally appeared on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list, I e-mailed and asked for more specific data on this yard’s location. Captain Sipe promptly replied, and placed this position at 30 44.628 North/081 31.518 West, on the eastern shores of North River, north of the pulp and paper mill overlooking the western banks. North River itself runs off St. Marys River, a short hop east of the like named village.
Sounds like this place may be a good one to know about!
Just a note . . . about my experience at St. Mary’s Boat Service.
I made the run from Brunswick Landing Marina to St. Mary’s after spending 3 months at BLM to have Maerin hauled to replace the transmission coupling, do the bottom and buff the hull. I had visited SMBS [St. Marys Boat Service] in June to look into having the haulout done when I completed my project on a 46 GB Classic at BLM. Rocky, the manager told me to get in touch about 2 weeks prior to my anticipated arrival to arrange for a date. He was most helpful in accommodating my needs, and although he was at capacity, made room for me and assured me he’d be able to help me out. He was as good as his word, and I arrived in the morning on a high tide. The North River is fine for my 5 ft draft but can be a bit skinny at low tide, and the haulout well is nearly dry at low. I arrived just after the high, and tied up on the end of the well. He had originally planned to haul me late in the day, but hustled some boats around to get me hauled shortly after my arrival.
The whole experience was outstanding. The care with which they handle the boat was impressive. I was hauled, pressure washed and blocked by 2PM. They require dust collection for sanding, and they provide a portable dust collector and sander with sanding discs for DIY use,
included in the cost of the haulout. I needed some help with tools for the coupler replacement, namely a jack and blocking. Rocky provided a porta-power with different attachments, and told me if I needed some manpower I needed only ask.
I was there for 10 days, and completed all the work I set out to accomplish. There are a few sets of Biljack scaffolds available which I utilized for buffing the hull, and when all was completed, he made sure he was ready to get me back in the water promptly, today- Sunday! In addition, I needed to return my rental car to JAX, so he followed me to the airport and brought me back to the yard. Wouldn’t let me pay for his fuel for the trip.
All in all, I’d heartily recommend the yard for anyone needing a place to haul and do their own work, or have them do it. They have 2 travel lifts, the largest is 50 ton. The haulout well is about 19 ft wide, and about 12 ft at high tide. Rocky says they can do about 65 ft. length. Customer service is the objective there, and I don’t know what I’d have changed to improve the experience I had, other than perhaps temps lower than 97 and a little less rain! The cost of the haul and 10 days blocked was less than $1K for my 43 foot boat. Quite reasonable IMO.
Oh, perhaps the question as to why I ran to St. Mary’s when BLM has a yard with a 50 ton lift? Absolutely no DIY.
Solo 4303 “Maerin