Marina Spotlights

Experience Southern Hospitality at Thunderbolt Marine - Wilmington River

Southeast
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January 2016
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By
Olivia
Schleicher

Tucked away on the Wilmington River, just three miles southeast of Savannah, Ga., sits Thunderbolt Marine. In the 1860s, Fort Thunderbolt served as one of the inland civil war batteries and in 1895 become home to The Casino at Thunderbolt with amusement park rides. The army also used this site during World War II as a staging area for patrol and rescue vessels. In 1965, w. e. Honey and Latex Construction purchased the property to support its dredging operations, and four year later Thunderbolt Marine began operating as a first-class yacht repair facility with a Syncrolift and rail system that is still in use today. Over the years, the facility built numerous vessels, including three tugs for the Panama canal company. In 1985, Thunderbolt Marine Inc. was incorporated, and since then the 25-acre facility has grown into a well-known yard for full-service yacht refits and repairs.

Today the full-service facility has an array of shops that offer cabinetry, canvas and upholstery, electrical, electronics, fine finish, HVAC, hydraulic, joiner, machine, metal, paint, rigging and varnish services, plus the 1,150-ton hauling capability of its Syncrolift and the 150-ton capacity of its Marine Travelift. Thunderbolt Marine's skilled craftsmen perform quality work that exceeds customers' expectations. And for those crew members waiting for work to be completed, there is a new crew lounge.

The 750 feet of transient floating docks in the on-site marina accommodate vessels up to 200 feet. New floating docks will be completed next year. Amenities include on-site diesel and gasoline, clean shower and restroom facilities, a spacious laundry room, ship's store, pump-out station, guarded security gate and WiFi.

Dockmaster Hal Parsons states, "Boaters arriving at Thunderbolt Marina can expect experienced, professional docking assistance, a clean, full-service marina, a friendly, helpful staff -- and a tradition of Southern hospitality. We deliver boxes of delicious krispy kreme doughnuts to the boats each morning."

Just steps from the Thunderbolt Marine are some favorite local places to dine including Tubby's Tank House, Tortugas Grille, chiriya's Thai cuisine and coach's corner. Book a cab to explore downtown Savannah's antebellum architecture, historic landmarks, horse- drawn carriages and city squares shaded by Spanish moss-draped oaks. "There is no greater perk than the opportunity to visit historic Savannah," says Hal Parsons.

If you're traveling south along the ICW this winter, you should consider tying up at Thunderbolt Marina, where, in true Southern style, dockmaster Hal Parsons and his team will make sure you feel right at home.

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

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

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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.

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Courtesy of Kingman Yacht Center

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