Marina Spotlights

History of Brewer Yacht Yards

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July 2013
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By
Anna
Barthelme

Brewer Yacht Yards is well known for running 24 of the largest full-service marine facilities in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic all of which are popular destinations for cruisers. It's hard to believe that it all started with Jack Brewer's great grandfather back in 1879, when he opened a hardware store in Mamaroneck, New York. While Jack was enrolled at Columbia Business School, his father called and asked him if he would be interested in running the boatyard next to the hardware store. Jack was hesitant until his father promised to let him run the boatyard entirely on his own. Besides Jack, the boatyard's only employee was a talented all-purpose worker who taught Jack a lot. In addition to bottom painting and carpentry during the day, Jack was doing the bookkeeping at night. Jack was one of the first people in the boating industry to treat his boatyard as a business, not a hobby, says Doug Domenie, Vice President and General Manager of Brewer Dauntless Shipyard. Once the yard became financially successful, Jack decided to expand and, in 1969, purchased Pilots Point Marina, in Westbrook, Conn. From there, Brewer Yacht Yards grew dramatically, expanding further in New York and Connecticut, then on into Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine.

This year, Jack Brewer decided to step down as president and asked Rives Potts to take on the position. Jack will still be involved as the company's chairman and will continue to visit each marina, though not as frequently. The company is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year and is continually looking to acquire new marinas if the right opportunity comes along.

The Brewer Yacht Yard philosophy is one thing that Jack has standardized at each location. He makes sure that facilities provide the best level of customer service by paying close attention to customers' specific needs. The company strives to ensure that all its facilities are well maintained, constantly updated and kept immaculate, while also staying stocked with the best equipment and tools. Jack Brewer gives managers at each location full authority to run the boatyards as if they were their own. The average manager has been with the organization for 22 years, indicating an extremely high employee satisfaction and loyalty. Jack says that the key to his company's success is treating the customer right and having a little bit of good luck along the way. He continues, I have been blessed with really great managers, and that has enabled us to grow into the business we are today. No matter what Brewer destination you choose, you'll know that you are in excellent hands.

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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

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