As a business owner, I believe it’s essential to understand the public perception of your company. The problem is, gaining such insights from sources other than the internet isn’t all that easy. This may come as a surprise, but many people won’t tell you what they think…at least not to your face.  As fate would have it, I was at a sailing venue near the bar with my back turned to a group of folks discussing the best place to take your boat for repairs. My ears perked up. One fellow emphatically stated that KKMI only caters to hotshot racers and they are really expensive. He went on to say that he hadn’t actually ever been to KKMI, it’s just what he had heard. With a much-needed adult beverage now in hand I moved away from the group to consider the conundrum…how can our public perception be so far from the truth?

Seeing as  you’re still reading, please allow me to shed some light on these misperceptions. Yes, we do indeed  provide services to racers, but that’s not all we do. I suspect that  because many of the higher profile racing yachts  are often in our yard, this has led to such a perception. But I assure you, the majority of our clients are boat owners who race only occasionally if at all.  And yes, boats are expensive, but if one were to do an apples-to-apples comparison of quality and craftsmanship, we are at minimum equal, if not significantly better than the other yards out there. I can say two things very confidently about KKMI.

1.) You will not find a more dedicated group of professionals that call KKMI their “home” and employer.
2.) If you look in the maritime industry for examples of boatyards that have demonstrated a history of being good stewards of the environment, you’d be hard pressed to find any that have a deeper commitment than KKMI.

All the above being said, and seeing that this edition of “FROM THE BILGE” seems to have a confessional tone, I’ll share something about me personally: I’m a bit of a romantic. I can’t help myself. I don’t see boats as merely objects but more as “vessels of stories”. Boats become woven into the fabric of the lives of their owners. Even if they change ownership, those stories don’t go away…they live on. Boats aren’t just an assembly of wood, fiberglass, steel and yes, even carbon fiber; they are the keepers of our stories and during the time we own them, they become our companions in the crafting of these stories.

The other day the evidence of this story-telling was made clear to me. In one of KKMI’s work sheds, known as the “Bird’s Nest,” there was the Bird Boat Oriole, built in 1929, getting ready for a summer of sailing. Next to Oriole was a fiberglass boat, built over 50 years ago, that’s been lovingly restored to like-new condition. Immediately next to these boats was a brand-new carbon fiber speed boat that was being commissioned with an 80 hp electric motor being fitted with over 700 pounds of lithium batteries. What is the common denominator between these three boats? Their stories, past and future.

So, back to the matter of perceptions of the KKMI boatyards and potentially changing them…The team of people that I have the privilege to work with really care about what they do and the clients they serve. For those whom we’ve had the opportunity to serve, I believe there is less confusion about how we are perceived. One message that we hope resonates after doing business with KKMI is that that we care. We REALLY DO CARE – about you, your boat and having positive experiences at KKMI. We look forward to keeping you and your boat and its stories safe and secure for years and decades to come.

Paul Kaplan and the KKMI Family.




KKMI is your one stop full service Bay Area Boatyard providing top quality service, competitive prices, and outstanding workmanship. Specializing in boat bottom paint, boat hauling and storage, boat woodworking, fiberglass repair, and much more, KKMI’s North Bay Boatyard location in Sausalito and East Bay location in Point Richmond are here to serve all of your Bay Area boating needs. For great prices and service you can trust, make KKMI your Bay Area boatyard specialist and give us a call today.