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Port Personality: Leigh Diemert

Marina Spotlights
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Marina Spotlight: Danfords Hotel, Marina & Spa
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Aerial view of yachts at Danford's

LOOKING OUT ONTO LONG ISLAND’S GOLD COAST, Danfords Hotel, Marina & Spa is a hidden treasure found along the North Shore in a cove off Long Island Sound.

The convenient location lies in the heart of Port Jefferson’s historic shipbuilding hub and is the only resort marina along the island’s North Shore. The boutique hotel offers 86 luxurious nautical-themed guestrooms with white colonial-style waterfront balconies and upscale amenities. With a gorgeous ballroom and grounds lined with trees and flowers, it’s an ideal venue for weddings, private parties, business conferences — or simply a tranquil escape.

The spacious property boasts more than 100 slips and 730 feet of linear dockage, as well as a 14-slip yacht dock accommodating vessels up to 120-300 feet. Floating docks make up most of the marina with several fixed linear options available. The full-service fuel dock offers two gas and diesel pumps and another private diesel pump at the yacht dock.

Marina guests can enjoy newly renovated showers, access to laundry drop service and free Wi-Fi. Treat yourself to a relaxing session at the hotel’s Butterfly Salon & Aesthetic Spa open Wednesday to Saturday.

Aerial sunset view of the docks at Danfords

Connected to the marina, Wave Seafood & Steak restaurant serves juicy NY strips and everything from the land and sea in an elegant setting. The Wave Lounge bar is open late during summer for guests to unwind in the evenings.

As soon as you leave the parking lot, you’re just steps away from downtown Port Jefferson’s historic village where you can find entertainment, shops and dining nestled along the water’s edge. Check out Port Jefferson Village Center and Harborfront Park for social activities, historic exhibits, and outdoor movies and concerts. Take the kids to the Long Island Explorium and Bayles Boat Shop to learn about wooden boat building and restoration.

Seasonal members can enjoy a private- gated entrance with direct access to lower floating docks from the parking lot. New shower facilities and electrical system upgrades are soon to come.

“In 2022, we’ve re-recruited our top dockhands from the past five years to bring our marina guests the best and most experienced team we’ve ever put together,” says James Dunn, dockmaster and marina general manager. “I have to say, this quaint, seafaring Long Island town makes a wonderful boating experience.”

Be sure to catch the weekly farmers’ market through the summer, Harvest Fest in the fall or the internationally recognized Charles Dickens Festival in the winter.

This year, Danford’s Marina began a three-year renovation plan that will culminate in 2024. Stay tuned for updates at danfords.com

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Celebrating The Wharf's Grand Opening: Harbormaster Spotlight
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Line of drummers on the street
Credit Alexa Zizzi

The Wharf in Washington, DC, had two big reasons to celebrate this week: The first part of the waterfront development reached its five-year anniversary, on the same day the second neighborhood expansion along the Potomac River was completed.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony, live music, fireworks and attractions lit up the shoreline of the Nation’s Capital.

The highly anticipated conclusion of The Wharf’s revitalization welcomes more green space, restaurants, offices, shops and events. You can now grab sundries and supplies at the new dock shop, relax at The Clubhouse boaters’ lounge and gas up at one of the few fuel stops on the Potomac. 

In honor of this past Harbormaster Appreciation Day, Marinalife is spotlighting both general managers of Oasis Marinas at The Wharf — Leigh Diemert and Reggie Cox — to get their take on this fantastic boating destination.

Marinalife: What in life prepared you for this job at The Wharf?
Leigh:
I started my career working on yachts and eventually earned my 100-GRT Master Captain’s license when I was just 20. I feel like my leadership as a captain prepared me to head an amazing team here at The Wharf, and my boating experience makes me well equipped to run a world-class facility.

Leigh Diemert in front of the water
Leigh Diemert

Marinalife: What’s new and exciting at The Wharf Marina and waterfront district?
Leigh:
The Wharf Marina itself is new and exciting! The marina was just finished this past April. It’s a top-notch facility with amenities to match, including a new club house, fuel dock with high-speed diesel, a dock shop and more.

Marinalife: What is the number one attraction you recommend for visitors to the Washington, DC, area?
Leigh:
It may be too obvious of a choice, but definitely the monuments near the National Mall, especially during cherry blossom season. You can’t go wrong with any of the Smithsonian Museums either, but my favorite is Air and Space.

Marinalife: If you could own any type of boat or watercraft, what would it be?  
Leigh:
Midnight Express. I love fishing and going FAST. So, they’re the perfect combo!

Marinalife: What are the advantages or challenges to being a woman in the marina business?
Leigh:
As a young woman in this industry, it was a little intimidating for me to approach a yacht captain and ask questions about how I can be a captain one day. But I thank God every day that I did and that my captain was receptive — never questioning my ability because of my gender. However, not every man in this industry has believed in me as much as my first captain did. I’ve had my competency questioned countless times and still feel like I must work overtime to prove myself in my role to my male colleagues. Ultimately, it’s made me better at my job. I’m confident that more women will occupy roles within the maritime industry as awareness increases.

Marinalife: Describe the first time you remember being on a boat.
Reggie:
My first time was as a child growing up in the Tidewater, VA, area. I enjoyed going out with friends and family on boat rides. That started my love of the water.

Reggie Cox in front of the water at the marina
Reggie Cox

Marinalife: What is the top attraction you would recommend to DC visitors?
Reggie:
I would suggest that guests catch a show at The Anthem or walk to the nearby Smithsonian Museums. There’s so much to see.

Marinalife: What is the best compliment a boater said about your marina?
Reggie:
The best so far has been that our staff is very friendly. I love getting those compliments.

Marinalife: What is your favorite part of the day at the marina?
Reggie:
I enjoy arriving early in the morning to greet the staff and guests. It starts the day off with a clean slate and sets the tone for the day. 

Marinalife: What can visitors look forward to at the newly completed Wharf community?
Reggie:
We are really excited to see everyone enjoying the wonderful new amenities The Wharf has to offer. We have two new Gordon Ramsay restaurants on-site that are almost finished, and one is located directly above the new upscale boaters’ lounge. I think they're going to be a big hit!

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River Dunes
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Southern hospitality just got a bit cozier at this North Carolina marina community.

In the town of Oriental, River Dunes’ 28-acre inland basin marina boasts 126 slips with full-length finger piers for vessels up to 150 feet. The protected deep-water harbor along the Pamlico Sound and mouth of the Neuse River offers easy access from the ICW.

When you arrive at River Dunes, not only will you find upscale amenities and friendly customer service, but you also step into a bustling Harbor Village packed with provisions, shopping, activities and luxury accommodations.

Unwind in the 4,000 square-foot wellness and fitness facility overlooking views of Grace Harbor and the Neuse River, or have a spa day in the lounge offering three treatment rooms for massages, facials and relaxation.

Dine on-site at Yawl’s Café in the heart of Harbor Village, grab ice cream, snacks and shop retail at Grace Harbor Provision Company, or explore interior design at The Red Rickshaw home furnishings showroom. Enjoy activities such as biking, exploring beautiful scenery, paddling the backwaters and fishing at the Lakehouse. A fuel dock and concierge boating services are available.

River Dunes is pleased to announce that they were chosen as this year’s 2022 Southern Living Idea House, an annual tribute to home design. Gorgeous wrap-around porches, hardwood floors, hand-painted stairs and more than 4,000 square feet of art, lavish furniture and intricate details make up the design of this home.

“We’re honored that Southern Living chose River Dunes,” says President Ed Mitchell. “Their selected team; architect, interior designer, builder and many others came together to create a magnificent house.” “They’re familiar with River Dunes’ quality of architecture and design, and they wanted to put this year’s house in a community that shares those same standards as their publication,” says Mitchell.

Marina guests and visiting boaters can tour the Idea House Thursday-Sunday until December. Guests can witness the harbor transform into a holiday village as the Southern Living team will return in November to decorate the house with seasonal cheer. Take advantage of the River Dunes Harbor Club and Marina for a uniquely relaxing stopover on the ICW or a longer stay with monthly and annual leases also available.

Marinalife members can enjoy a 10% discount on Idea House Tours at riverdunesideahouse.com; code: MARINALIFE.

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Port Personality: Leigh Diemert
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Leigh Diemert, The Wharf

What in life prepared you for this job at The Wharf?

I started my career working on yachts and eventually earned my 100-GRT Master Captain’s license when I was just 20. I feel like my leadership as a captain prepared me to head an amazing team here at The Wharf, and my boating experience makes me well-equipped to run a world-class facility.

What’s new and exciting at The Wharf marina and waterfront district?

The Wharf Marina itself is new and exciting! The marina was just completed this past April. It’s a brand-new facility with amenities to match, including a club house, fuel dock with high-speed diesel, a dock shop and more!

What is the number one attraction you recommend for first-time visitors to the Washington, DC, area?

It may be too obvious of a choice, but definitely the monuments on the National Mall, especially during cherry blossom season. You can’t go wrong with any of the Smithsonian Museums either – but my favorite is Air and Space. Leigh Diemert General Manager The Wharf Marina Washington, DC What traits do you think every marina manager should possess? In this industry, adaptability is key, because every day has new challenges. I also think effective leaders know how to be assertive and kind simultaneously.

If you didn’t work at a marina, what would your dream job be?

A chef! I love to cook; it brings out my creative side. It also gives me so much joy when my family tries a new dish that I prepare, and they enjoy it. I just love how food gathers everyone together.

If you could own any type of boat or watercraft, what would it be?

Midnight Express. I love fishing and going FAST. So, they’re the perfect combo!

What is your favorite marine animal and why?

Blue sharks. They are highly migratory and can be found off the coast of every continent, except Antarctica. Unfortunately, they’re the most fished shark species, so we should do more to protect them. What are the advantages or challenges to being a woman in the marina business? In the travel field, we often see women in secondary roles, like stewardess, housekeeping, etc. As a young woman in this industry, it was a little intimidating for me to approach a yacht captain and ask questions about how I can be a captain one day. But I thank God every day that I did and that my captain was receptive — never questioning my ability because of my gender. However, not every man in this industry has believed in me as much as my first captain did. I’ve had my competency questioned countless times, and still feel like I have to work overtime to prove myself to my male colleagues. Ultimately, it’s made me better at my job. I’m confident that more women will occupy roles within the maritime industry as awareness increases.

What book do you believe every boater should read?

U.S.C.G. Safe Boating Regs

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Champlin's Marina & Resort - Block Island, RI
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Photo Courtesy of John Bellenis

AS YOU CRUISE into the Great Salt Pond along Block Island’s western shore, Champlin’s Marina greets you with cool blue waters and a warm welcome.

Owned and operated by TPG Marinas, the spacious marina boasts 100 wet slips and floating docks accommodating vessels up to 225’ with 15’ drafts, as well as a floating dinghy dock. Amenities include a fuel station, shower facilities, gas fire pits and a swimming pool that overlooks a stunning waterfront view.

Guests can enjoy a plethora of activities on the island from watersports to sightseeing. Rent kayaks, paddleboats, paddleboards and pontoon bikes to putter around the pond or cruise along the shoreline on single-rider or tandem bicycles. Play outdoor games with the kids or kick back at the pool bar.

The hotel offers 42 nautical-themed guest rooms with waterfront views and easy access to on-site eateries. Dine al fresco and enjoy fresh New England seafood at The Galley House restaurant, sip classic cocktails at Pier 76 dock bar and indulge in sweets, treats and libations at The Sugar Shack ice cream shop. Café Boutique coffee shop offers a quick stop for convenient grab-and-go items.

In 2021, the property went under a complete renovation, updated dining offerings and added new event space with a tent area alongside the charming pier. The marina also launched the new Champlin’s Choice Program, which offers members unlimited access to bike rentals and non-motorized watersports.

Photo Courtesy of John Bellenis

Experience true island life with a 25-minute walk into town to visit attractions and unwind at the beaches. Notable sites to visit include South East Lighthouse at Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island North Light and Rodman’s Hollow. Animal lovers should visit 1661 Exotic Farm and Gardens, Abrams Animal Farm or the Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve across from Clay Head Nature Trail.

The resort neighbors a variety of Block Island’s sandy shores such as Crescent Beach, Frederick J. Benson Town Beach, Mansion Beach and Scotch Beach. At the south end of the island, gorgeous views at Black Rock Beach, Vaill Beach and Mohegan Bluffs are minutes away.

“Champlin’s is a staple in the Block Island community,” says Dockmaster Bailey Ziobro. “Whether you choose to relax poolside, sip on a mudslide or listen to live music under the stars, we know we’ll leave you with memories to last a lifetime.”

Catch local events through the year including a farmers’ market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in June, Blues on the Block concerts in July, movie nights on Tuesdays throughout the summer and the annual Run Around the Block Race in September.

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Port Personalities > Tom Ryan
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Tom Ryan, Marina Director

TOM RYAN
Marina Director
Provincetown Marina
Provincetown, MA

What in your life prepared you for a job in the marina industry?

After working in the boating industry for 20+ years and staying in several marinas while owning and working on vessels, I feel like I can anticipate the needs of boat owners and I am well-equipped to accommodate them.

 

Tell us about your experience captaining the Roseway for the World Ocean School.

My experience was life changing. Being in charge of an historic schooner vessel like Roseway taught me patience. Making a positive daily impact on the kids at World Ocean School was some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever been a part of in my life. 

Where do you like to send people for an authentic dining experience when they arrive at your marina for the first time? 

I like to send people to the Lobster Pot. It’s a Provincetown institution that’s been in operation since 1943. From its iconic neon sign to the lobster rolls — it can’t be beat!

Where is your favorite place to relax on your day off?

I would definitely say Long Point Beach is a favorite. The shuttle from MacMillan Pier drops you right in the sand. You plop your chair down and relax while watching boats exit and enter the harbor.

 

Name your top three favorite boating songs on your playlist.

“Chan Chan” by Buena Vista Social Club, because it’s just a relaxing song and it reminds me of my early days in Key West. “Second Hand News by Fleetwood Mac — this song, to me, screams summer! But if you’re out boating here in Ptown, you can’t go wrong with “Old Cape Cod by Patti Page.

If you could walk in anyone’s shoes for a day, who would it be? 

Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer of the early 1900s. Having the courage and resolve to lead his team from certain death to safety was a remarkable and inspiring story. 

 

What is your favorite part of the day at the marina?

“The Golden Hour” – when all our guests are situated and relaxing means we’ve done our job!

 

What is the one thing that everyone should do or see in Provincetown?

This artistic town is known for its nightlife, so catching one of the many shows that are offered here is a must-see! Also, if you miss them on your way in, WHALES! The best way to see them is by jumping on one of the whale watch boats that head out daily to the feeding grounds on Stellwagen Marine Sanctuary.

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Steelpointe Harbor Marina
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PERCHED ON A PENINSULA in the heart of Bridgeport, Steelpointe Harbor sits along the tranquil shores of Long Island Sound. The 2.8 million square-foot waterfront development boasts a newly constructed harborwalk lined with dining, shopping, luxury residences, and a state-of-the-art marina and service facility. 

All types of vessels up to 300’ (including wide berths for catamarans) can dock at Steelpointe Harbor Marina while steering clear of bridge passes to Long Island Sound via a 35’ channel. Built in 2019, the new marina features top-of-the-line concrete floating docks in a protected harbor with deep channel access. 

The full-service marina offers 200+ slips, storage and haul-out. Amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, 30, 50 and 100 amp electric, a fuel dock and boater’s lounge. Repairs, painting and refurbishing services are available at Bridgeport Boatworks located across the harbor. 

Walk right off your boat to enjoy a delicious dinner on-site at the award-winning BOCA Oyster Bar that serves fresh Atlantic and Pacific oysters and traditional New England cuisine. Experience outdoor waterside dining and live music throughout the season.

“Enjoying a sunset dinner on the patio at BOCA while watching the ferry cruise in and out of the harbor is a must-do,” says Dockmaster Robert De Nigris.

“We’re committed to providing you with everything you need from dockage, repairs and fuel to local restaurants, shopping and entertainment — so you will not be disappointed here,” says De Nigris.

Venture into town across the bridge for local provisions, retail, attractions and venues such as Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater and Total Mortgage Arena, home of the New York Islanders hockey team. For traditional Italian cuisine, check out Ralph –n– Rich’s famous “Sunday Sauce” or Trattoria ‘A Vucchella’s wood oven pizza. 

Just a few miles from the marina, you can enjoy lovely parks and greenery such as the state’s largest zoo, Connecticut’s Beardsley Park Zoo to the north, and Seaside Park’s beaches to the south. 

Be sure to catch popular events and festivals such as the Steelpointe Yacht & Charter Show in June and the Sound on Sound Music Festival in September with headlining acts including Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews Band, The Lumineers and Brandi Carlile. 

The marina plans to add more amenities such as airport and event shuttle service, as well as developing 420 units in a new residential area. Stay tuned for updates at bldsteelpointe.com

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Morningstar Marinas at Little Creek, VA
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MORNINGSTAR MARINAS AT LITTLE CREEK, VA, a great cruising destination, has reached a new level of excellence with major renovations that every boater along the Atlantic Seaboard will want to stop by and see.

Morningstar Marinas at Little Creek - marina spotlight - marinalife
Courtesy of Morningstar Marinas at Little Creek

After acquiring the marina, Morningstar received permits to not only replace all the wet slips with new Bellingham docks but also adjusted the configuration to better suit coastal boaters. The upgrades included widening the slips, installing full-length fingers, and achieving 100% clear main walks using tri-frames for dock box placement and cantilevered mid-basin power pedestal bump outs. When you consider they also replaced the fuel and electrical systems, Morningstar Marinas Little Creek will become a premiere marina on the East Coast.Morningstar will exceed all boaters' expectations by offering 350 dry storage spaces in its fully enclosed building, 180 wet slips ranging from 25' to 75' and 400' of side tie. Amenities include a bath house, laundry room, and showers. Other upgrades include a new Toyota forklift, Wi-Fi, pump out, and new fueling stations with ValvTect gasoline and diesel.

As a backdrop to all these improvements, the location is a dream for recreational boaters and anglers. "Being nestled in the back of Little Creek gives boaters a protected basin from weather, but they're only minutes to the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean, James River and the entrance to the ICW," says Michael Quinn, General Manager.

Stony's Dockside Waterfront Bar & Grill allows our boaters to enjoy a wonderful meal within minutes of stepping off their vessel. Within walking distance are COVA Brewing Company, Longboards East Beach, and other local favorites. The warm waters at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay create a fishing paradise for anglers, and miles of easily accessible beaches entice visitors to dive in for a swim or just soak up the sun.

Morningstar Marinas at Little Creek - marina spotlight - marinalife
Courtesy of Morningstar Marinas at Little Creek

"The proximity to Norfolk and Virginia Beach's restaurants, shops and entertainment gives marina guests the conveniences of a big city backed up to an abundance of open water," notes Quinn. Regardless of whether you plan to stay annually or for a couple nights, a visit to Morningstar Marinas, next to Norfolk International Airport in the up-and-coming East Ocean View Section of Norfolk, presents endless opportunities and your gateway to all the Chesapeake Bay has to offer.

Make sure you schedule your trip around one of the many festivals in the area including Harborfest, Town Point Virginia Fall Wine Festival, and Neptune Festival. If you plan a spring visit, don't miss the Patriotic Festival Norfolk for family friendly activities, concerts with national performing artists, and celebrations for all branches of the U.S. armed forces.

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Kingman Yacht Center
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MILES OF LUSH FOLIAGE, hiking trails and stunning Cape Cod views make up the tranquil scene at Kingman Yacht Center.

Kingman Yacht Center - spotlight - marinalife
Courtesy of Kingman Yacht Center

This New England gem is an historic property and community along the northeast corner of Buzzards Bay. The spacious, full-service marina boasts 235 slips in renovated floating docks, as well as 130 moorings. That's room for 365 boats one for every day of the year!With easy access through the seven-mile canal, this destination is ideal for boaters looking for a calm, rural escape. Established in 1932, the site was originally a boat-building center for the U.S. Army, Navy and aircraft rescue boats during military conflicts such as the Korean War.

The Kingman family ran this location until they sold it to current owner Scott Zeien in 2000. "It became a recreational marina in the 50s. I grew up sailing here, and it really hasn't changed much in terms of the personality and the harbor," says Zeien. Our premier boatyard is a community of boaters enjoying one of the most beautiful natural harbors in New England.This retreat is centrally focused around two brands that make KYC: Kingman Yacht Center and Kingman Yacht Club, a thriving marina, service and sales facility, as well as social club where transients and members can enjoy exclusive benefits. Poised on a hilltop overlooking the marina, Red Brook Harbor Club townhomes span a luxury community alongside aquaculture farming and a water treatment plant that filters pollution out of local waterways.

Kingman Yacht Center - spotlight - marinalife
Courtesy of Kingman Yacht Center

KYC's on-site service center offers anything a boater could imagine such as repair, repower, electrical and more. Marina amenities include gas and diesel, laundry, yacht valet services, plus dock and dine. Check out Buzzards Bay Yacht Sales boat dealer and yacht brokerage for convenient, top-of-the-line vessels.

The marina's famous Chart Room Restaurant serves fresh seafood garnished with beautiful sunsets from spring to fall. Try everything from fresh steamed mussels and seasonal fish to the creamy Chart Room Chowder.

From May to October, KYC hosts weekly on-site activities, cruising rendezvous and events such as seminars, live music on the barge, fishing tournaments, lobster boil dinners and much more.

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