Dillon Francis Oberholzer
Marina & Boatyard Management
I have run and managed three large International marinas, each of which were ports of entry, catered to mega-yachts and two had over 500 slips and dry storage rack systems. Each I ran for short periods. These positions I filled in as favors to the relevant marina owners or managers who had been short staffed, or who required reliable and knowledgeable assistance for projects they them selves were unable to fulfill.
I also started a Catamaran factory in Tacoma Washington for PMC - (Rudolph Oloefse - Professional Marine Services ) and ran the marina and boat yard facility in Port Orchard - Washington State - USA .
There after I bought my own dry dock and leased 1000 feet of commercial dock space with a Dry Storage Rack from the port of Seattle. This was a full service center which turned over 3 boats a week. Having one facility In Poulsbo and one on Lake Union proved too much to manage due to ferry travel time ( 430 am), I sold the Lake Union operation and focused on the Poulsbo & peninsular business.
Before, between and after I have worked closely with the owners and management of many more marinas, boatyards and marine service facilities.
In order to run a marina effectively you need a myriad of skills. These range from the ability to communicate with clients and liaise with government departments to officials in labour relations. This takes you through environmental affairs as well as drafting staff and employment contracts (HR Management). One of the many other aspects of Marina Management are the business and accounting responsibilities which go with the environmental, insurance and personnel, client and worker, liability factors that need to be addressed according to the specific marina, its location and its operations in regard to local legal regulatory compliance.
This starts getting complicated for example when one needs to dredge or deepen births due to silting and taking appropriate action in the remediation and preventative systems and programs therefore. Or, on the other hand drafting slip leases or sub-contractor agreements.
I have been involved in and managed both marinas and marine projects that have required many of these insights, designing and management skills in different parts of the USA and in other parts of the world. As such, I am comfortable in this area and am reasonably au fait with the process and management of most maritime regulatory legal correspondence, regulations, registration and licencing for various marina management and related construction projects globally.
All the marinas I have run or managed have had National Police and Coast Guard vessel births, thus the relationships with these offices and their public training and volunteer programs along with Fire Department liaison has functioned both as a connection to the community at large, including municipal event coordination and planning. This experience extends to the coordination of the voting station at Riviera Beach Marina for the Bush Election.
These relationships normally proffer direct government channel communication for marina projects such as expansion and birth dredging.
When running a marina the marina office is normally responsible for the communication of national maritime security information regarding foreign vessels entering or leaving a port.
When operating and managing the Aruba Marina, and in my position in the Riviera Beach Marina in Florida (USA) I was responsible for the initial vessel inspection, crew count and coast guard notification of a foreign vessel arrival. In South Africa as the Bosun of the Natal University Yacht Club (UNYC), I was responsible for monitoring and recording all vessel sailings off-shore, as well as vessel sea worthiness certification with all required safety equipment. These marina management duties have often included Yacht Race Course design and coordination, crew counts and sail training for coastal yacht masters licences. In Durban, South Africa, (UNYC), all reports were handed in to the port authority prior to and after each event.
There really is a lot to running a marina, haul-out, boatyard and dock system well. This includes the obvious cleats, marina deck surfaces, piling inspections storm bracing, electrical, plumbing and TV cable connections and electrical junction boxes to mention a few.
Please contact me for further information regarding marina maintenance is concerned for as having had over 30 years of working experience in and running marinas I have done many varied projects.
The first and foremost items are licencing and permits. Every country, state, province and town has different ordinances and different authorities that you have to work with. Depending on the location of your marina you may have to deal with the Harbour Master the Army Core of Engineers and the EPA equivalents as well as local fire, EMT services, police and Coast Guard among others. I have done all of this in numerous marinas in various countries of the world. Many follow the USA EPA guidelines and international maritime law, but the actual application and interpretation is normally up to local authorities.
Generally the process is the same everywhere. The procedure of allocating and leasing or purchasing the aquatic land is the first step once the applications for usage have been accepted and the state or official letters of approval have been received.
When running a fuel dock there is a mountain of paper work that needs to be managed. The town, state and federal filings, inspections etc. all have to be coordinated and completed within due dates. Generally when starting up a fuel dock these seem overwhelming but they are just filings and if one communicates with the relevant authorities and works with them, they normally help you through the process. If you have a problem with one specific local authority you might want your pretty secretary in to sweet talk the person concerned or bring some chocolates the the abrupt official in the case of the fairer sex.
Often in a busy international marina serving international yachts, commercial boats and accounts as well as mega yachts the payment methods can be tricky. Experience in POS systems, international banking and transfers is a plus. They can can be a help in the evaluation of a client loading 20,000 liters or more of diesel. Normally foreign vessels pay cash in foreign ports or the funds are pre-paid prior to fueling.
Generally the process of licencing inspection and maintenance schedules is the same everywhere. Regulatory filings and quality samples as well as insurances, liability, worker and client safety plans as well as environmental spill containment are all factors that apply to the storage tanks, pumps and delivery systems, and again there is much involved and one could write a book but the idea here is to show that I am au fait with the regulatory and practical systems and requirements.
The equipment and systems functionality as well as EPA and OSHA regulatory requirements all have to be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis.
Travel Lift - straps, cables and hydraulics. their maintenance, schedules and operator licencing as required need to be assessed and monitored carefully. I have has seen clients boats dropped in other marinas and had my own operators get their hands caught in straps. Operational protocol design with OSHA or equivalent national guide lines need to be followed with indemnity contracts that are written and designed to tie in to your insurance policies.
I have purchased , maintained and operated many different types of haul-out systems as well as over-head and hydraulic boom crane systems for the removal and transport of motors, transportation of 50 ton tools in 400 foot long boat factories etc.
I have designed and built only only one Dry-Rack Storage System but have been involved in a few others. Systems , locations, design and permitting and weather all have a roll to play in deciding whether or where and when to add this business unit to a marina. Please note that the dry storage - Rack System is a very lucrative business in its own right. However, it needs to be designed and located correctly and the building including the floor - pad reinforcement as well as the cradle frames have to be fabricated correctly.
Allied services, equipment storage and service bays with relevance to the business operation and permits need to be factored into the design when planning a dry storage unit into a marina. Staff training and client management systems need to be in place to operate a business unit of this nature well.
I have operated and worked with well run Dry-Storage facilities as well as incompetently run, badly designed and poorly operated units. There is nothing worse than a client planning a vacation and his boat is either not ready, can't be brought down or is covered in drippings from the boat above.
Starting out as a Sailing School owner / operator / instructor (Durban RSA), then as a boat Captain / Skipper, Marina Manager Caribbean and Florida USA) and Boat yard owner / operator and floating dry dock owner operator( Seattle USA) I have worked closely with the EPA Coastal Marine Division and have in depth knowledge of governmental systems and regulations.
This experience led me into Bio Management Engineering in water treatment working in aquaculture where I have closely worked again with the EPA, FDA, (USA) REACH and ECHA, (EU). Not limited to hydro-pod and fish farm net design and manufacture, but into legislative documentation authoring for environmental safety applications, but also into feed supplements & additives to reduce marine fecal bacteria.
Riviera Beach Marina & Municipal Complex
During 2000- 2001 Operations and Security Manager / Riviera Beach Marina & Municipal Complex (West Palm Beach
General Duties included client relations / Fuel dock operations / maintenance scheduling for 500 boats in water + 500 boats on rack + 800 transient boats (P/A) Management and booking of Conference Center / Polling (voting) station for “Bush Election”. Additional duties included security for 2 large Casino boats / 3 tug boats off shore fishing charter fleet & Offshore salvage vessels.
Included EH&S Oversight, EPA Marine water management, testing and reporting. USCG relations, USA immigration paperwork submissions for foreign vessels, Import- export paperwork / customs and excise evaluation and general paperwork for all foreign boats and good entering or leaving port.
Liaison with EPA / USCG / Florida municipal entities.
Beginning of 2002, I was the harbor master for the Aruba yacht basin with 85 births for super yachts 100 foot plus. My duties were to control all operations including Fuel dock cash box ($500k per month) Oversight and responsibility of All Marine Departments including all services / maintenance / chandlery store / equipment purchasing / marina staff management / bookings / website management etc.
The other half of the job was running and managing two, day-charter catamarans “Fun Factory” and” Fuji Films” these vessels sailed 3 times a day with an average of 80 souls on board per trip. I normally captained two sailings daily, average take per day 25k USD
Contract liaison with cruise ship companies, hotel marketing and promotions / Travel agency promotion and marketing, crew management / onboard bar-restaurant supply and management etc.
, invoicing: accounts receivables, and payable / as well as payroll, taxes and insurances. Additional duties included USCG relations, Aruba immigration paperwork for foreign vessels, Import- export paperwork / customs and excise evaluation and paperwork submissions for all foreign boats and goods and services required, along with the travel arrangements for subcontractors and crew for visiting vessels.
Owned by Mike Roche / Personal Friend.
October 2002 through March 2003
Operations-Maintenance and yard manager for 300+ vessels 400 slips while Frank Virgentino was away sailing his boat .
Liaison with EPA / USCG / New York State & municipal entities.
Complex included a dry marina wet slips and dry storage rack shed as well as new boat sales showroom. Added to this was the maintenance yard for all service, commissioning and winterization. All service and repair work done was billed in-house with no outside vendor billing allowed by sub contractors.
I was responsible for employing all sub contractors to work directly for the marina under our insurance and liability, marina management and performance policies.
Minneford Marina Owned by Frank Virgentino (personal friend)
MARINA MANAGEMENT # 4
Marina Paraiso - Isla Mujeres (mexico)
May 2002 through September 2002 - General Marina Management and Staff supervision.
This included the supervision of safety preparation for all vessels (approximately 60)
when Hurricane Isidore hit the Yucatan Peninsula in September of that year.
We helped and supported many more boats than Marina Paraiso could accommodate assisting them to find safe anchorage around the marina and in the nearby mangroves. (Not a single boat was lost or damaged)
The owner of the marina, Manuel Gutierrez, was away at the time building a second marina in Progresso on the other side of the Peninsula which was why he had my father and me run the marina for him.
Liaison with EPA / USCG / New York State & municipal entities.
Owned by Frank Virgentino (personal friend)
MARINA MANAGEMENT # 5
diamond blue marine dry dock & boatyard (lake union-seattle)
Beginning 2004 -2006
In 2004 in order to complement the services of my main business, "Diamond Blue Marine" (a sail, canvas and general boat repair shop) in Poulsbo, Washington, I bought a floating Dry Dock on Lake Union Seattle. In order to commission and licence this facility I had to design a waste water system acceptable to the EPA.
This was not only accepted but was adopted by the EPA as a blue print for all such dry docks throughout the USA.
MARINA MANAGEMENT # 6
las brisas moorings - panama
2009 - 2010
I opened the first first full service Canvas and Sail Loft in Panama for more than 100 years on the Island of Taboga, the first of the Las Perlas Islands on the Pacific side of Panama.
This island is only about 6 nautical miles from the Mainland and from there I was able to reach all cruising and fishing boats on that side of the Canal.
High winds and heavy seas are a curse to many a boat on anchor at Las Brisas Moorings on the city side of the isthmus and almost by default, I became the "to call" man whenever there was a problem.
Using my Grand Banks, Jenny Lynn, with her powerful Ford Lehman engines I was able, many a time, to assist stranded or sinking vessels or aid the owners of vessels when their anchors failed in the storms causing them to run into nearby boats on anchor.
Various commercial marine enterprises have led to a vast knowledge of the marine industry and all it encompasses. Skippering all types of vessels for over 30 years globally (1 circumnavigation / 45 foot sailing vessel), along with various client requests for out of the ordinary maritime projects has taught me to be a creative problem solver. Captaining trawlers, Tug Boats, diving vessels, Day charter yachts, etc. Valuable experience which has been applied to different disciplines.
I have owned different marine & boat building businesses globally. USA- East and West Coasts, RSA & Panama.
This experience has introduced me to oceanographic surveying and geo layering on cloud-based software I have developed.
Starting out in New York working for Doyle sail Makers I developed the skills I had learned in Durban South Africa. Responsible for Cruising and Performance sail design and manufacture. I also represented the company on all major boat shows including New York, Annapolis and Newark. Having been offered an opportunity to start a catamaran factory in Seattle I left and headed west.
Diamond Blue Marine: Poulsbo Washington State
Sail Making / Interior Design and Pattern Making
Standard sail designs CAD print, Plot & cut. Siemens PLM Software (Product lifecycle management)
I fabricated a 60-foot plotter table. Owned and operated the sail loft with 10 staff. The sail loft produced yacht interiors as well as final canvas coverings, commercial upholstery for ferry boats and charter vessels for Alaska.
This normally equates to 20 + projects per month to oversee manage and control.
Clients included Stirling Yachts, Selene Yachts, Chris Craft, Robalo, USCG. US NAVY/ Bangor Base. Alemeda Naval Base (Aircraft Carriers).
New Client requests opened up new interests; “Aqua-Pod Design” for free range aquaculture (fish) farming systems. Designs to be manufactured for off shore locations.
Diamond Blue Marine: Poulsbo Washington State
In order to set up the Catamaran factory I had to liaise with the Tacoma City Council for all permits, permissions and labor tax reductions and credits. This was a mammoth task employing Boeing engineers, 400-foot long overhead rail cranes and a renovation of a naval facility prior to the commencement of the yacht building.
I Built two 75 foot and one 95 foot Catamarans in Tacoma WA / USA for day charter in Hawaii which meant close relationship building with USCG testing labs. One Catamaran was fitted with a delta wing hydrofoil cutting fuel consumption in half whilst creating a smoother ride. This vessel is now used between L.A. and Catalina Island.
Client: Kitsap Catamarans (owner Rudolph Oelofse Captain RSA Navy- personal friend)
I have run three different marinas, all for short periods and worked closely with the owners and management with many more.
This page is still under development but more in depth info is coming. Please be patient or call me directly for further information or read my CV.