Port Personalities: George Bassett
“It’s been one hell of a wonderful ride” — George Bassett is retiring after 30 years at the helm of the Nantucket Boat Basin.
George accomplished a lot in his 26 years in the Coast Guard and 30 years spent as manager at Nantucket Boat Basin. Here are a few of his accomplishments: Interstate Hotel Corporations Manager of the Year award (1995), “Mr. Hospitality” of the year award from the Massachusetts, Governors Council on Travel & Tourism (1997), Best Marina Offshore Magazine (2008), Best Marina Northeast Boating Magazine (2009), Marina Dock Age Magazine Best Marina (2013), Marinalife Best Marina (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)
- Where were you born? Brockton, Mass. — where boxer Rocky Marciano was born and raised.
- How did you get into the marina business? I came into Nantucket Harbor as the captain of an 82-foot Coast Guard Cutter. At the time, the harbormaster of Nantucket Boat Basin was Joe Lopes. He and I truck up a conversation and he mentioned he would be retiring soon and that I should apply for the job. Three interviews later, I got the job.
- What is the first thing you are going to do after you retire? My only definite plan right now is to fly to Fort Lauderdale the day after I retire to spend a month with my son, George III.
- What is the craziest thing that has happened at the marina? During my first year as harbormaster, when the marina was constantly booked, I got a call from a charter captain (without a reservation) that said he had a VIP on board and he had to get into the marina. I told him it was full and I started getting calls from senators and congressmen and finally I found out the VIP was [Former Ford president and Chrysler CEO] Lee Iacocca. My boss called me into his office soon after and asked if it was true that I had turned away Lee Iacocca. When I said yes he pounded his fist on the table and said, “That’s the way I want my marina to be run.”
- What is your favorite pizza topping? Onions and peppers.
- Tell us your biggest fish tale. My wife Sharon, was the angler on this tale. In the Bahamas she was struggling with a catch and when she got it closer we could see that a tiger shark had tried to eat the yellow fin tuna she caught. In the end the shark got half and we got half.
- Clam chowder or beef stew? Clam chowder in the summer and beef stew in the winter.
- Besides fishing, what other activities do you enjoy? I love skiing in New England. When I turned 50, I learned to ski with my kids.
- What is your beverage of choice? That is easy — Bacardi Limon (lots of it) with splash of cranberry and soda and no fruit (it takes up too much room).
- What is the most important thing on your desk right now? The 227 handwritten thank-you notes that I have written in the last month to send to customers who have been to Nantucket Boat Basin.
- If your boat broke down and you only had one tool with you, which one would you hope it was? Water pump pliers — a great universal tool.
- Who is the most famous person that ever stayed at the marina? Nantucket gets lots of celebrities, but three who had an impact on me are: [Former British Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher, [Former First Lady] Laura Bush and [longtime companion to Jacqueline Kennedy] Maurice Tempelsman.