Marina Spotlights

Interview With the Dockmaster at Zahniser's Yachting Center - Solomon's Island

Meet Terry Walters

By
Marinalife

1. Did you think you were going to pursue a career in the marine industry when you were a kid?

I did, but not in the direction I am in now. When I was in college, I planned to get a job as a cruise director on a big ship, like Julie McCoy on the Love Boat. It seemed like it would be fun and you would get to meet a lot of people.

2. What got you into the marine industry?

That's actually a funny story. Our family had just relocated from Idaho to Maryland and my husband went to interview for a temporary job as a dockmaster until he found a permanent job in his field. After talking to the marina manager for 10 minutes, he said, You really need to talk to my wife Terry. She would be perfect at this. I got called in for an interview, and here I am, still at Zahniser's, 15 years later.

3. What's the funniest experience that's happened to you while at work?

Well, the one I remember the most happened within my first few years at Zahniser's. I was docking a small powerboat in a slip, when my foot slipped on the finger pier and I fell right into the water. Thankfully, the captain stopped the boat right away, I climbed out and finished getting them into the slip. They have become regulars, returning once a year, and we get a laugh about it every time, saying remember when ...

4. What do colleagues say is your best quality?

My ability to meet, greet, and get along with anyone and everyone.

5. What has the marine industry given to you?

What I have found is that the marine industry has given me the opportunity to interact with customers who have also traveled the world, cruising, vacationing and living on their boats. Listening to their experiences and stories, I feel like I have been places, seen things explored waterways without ever leaving Solomons Island.

6. What is your favorite seafood?

Salmon stuffed with crab. Definitely. I don't have to go anywhere. My husband has it perfected on the grill, complete with cedar plank.

7. If you could change your career, what would you change it to?

I think I would like to be an elementary school teacher. I love being around people, especially children.

8. Where is your favorite place to visit by boat?

It would have to be St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It is not too far away and there is plenty to do ashore, much like Solomons Island.

9. What is the one song that gets you in your favorite mood?

Feeling Good by Michael Buble. It's very upbeat, and I wake up most days feeling pretty positive about my life. I am surrounded by family and friends, am in good health, enjoy my job immensely and learn something new almost every day.

10. If you were deserted on an island, what would be three things you would want to have with you?

My sunglasses, because I can't be outside without them! A knife, for practical reasons. And, a family member, because I am definitely not a loner.

11. If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

The fun side of me would pick a dolphin, because I love anything that has to do with being around the water. The practical side would say an osprey. They have the same partner for life, return to the same home if possible and travel extensively every year.

Related Articles
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!

Read More
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.

Read More
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

Read More

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