Commodore’s Blog January 30, 2020

Great Lakes Dock and Dredge, Inc crew heading out to work on Hunting Island using Dataw Marina as home port. Photo by Skip Hoyt

Our marina is finally fully functional and open for business. The improvements, repairs and actions we voted on last year have been substantially completed. Dock is built, wet slips are open, electric is on, pilings removed, equipment repaired, many major improvements completed, fuel is for sale, Outpost is open, dry stack is filling, transients are visiting and a restaurant is soon to open. However, it has not been a smooth passage. We had major hidden defects, regulatory changes and challenges, manufacturers defects, unknowable major equipment failures, contractor issues, and on and on. As our boaters know, when you have a rough journey, you are cold and wet, or too seasick get out of your bunk, it is easy to forget where you started from and where you are going. You just want to get through the next shift, or the current night.

As I reflect back to where we started from, just a bit over a year ago, the marina property was a mess. There was no potential in water dockage; the in water area was a dangerous eyesore full of pilings; the land side was dirty, degraded and not functional; there was a failing management organization in charge. In summary, there was NO FUTURE. At our many meetings, we frequently heard members say, “we need a marina”, “we moved here because of the marina”, “we will leave if we don’t have a marina”. We voted, and almost unanimously, we wanted a marina. We became the owners of our own marina. That was not long ago.

Where are we going? I hope our marina journey will continue with ongoing improvements. That is up to us, the owners of this marina. I think about another facility we own, the golf course. The golf course has been in operation for approx. 35 years. Yet 35 years later, we, the owners, are still making improvements, with well over $ 10 million invested over the last 10 years, and multiple improvements that continue today. All of us here on Dataw benefit from having outstanding facilities, including an active and viable marina, and as improvements continue those benefits also increase. Ostensibly, our yacht club and our boaters benefit the most from our marina. I fear however, if we are not using and filling the marina we own, but are instead supporting our competition, it may be impossible to get the majority of our marina owners to support continued improvements. Again, I think to the golf course we own. A few years ago, the cart paths were a rough, bone jarring experience, but our members did not pack up and only play at other courses; they came up with a plan to improve the situation and our owners approved it.

We have made a lot of progress in a year, but I believe our marina journey is not complete. The destination and beyond is ours to determine. As part of the Dataw Island Yacht Club, which includes the majority of our boaters, we can work towards a destination we can all look forward to. Storms will come and storms will pass, but we need to remember where we started from and where we are trying to go. I look forward to feedback from our DIYC members as to where we want to go with our marina and how we can get there.

Scott Johnson
Commodore – DIYC

Great Lakes Dock and Dredge, Inc Crew boat renting space at Dataw Marina