What’s it like to own and operate a boatyard? From time to time I’m asked this question, which can be answered in two ways: as a sound bite like, “A giggle a minute,” or as a lengthy reply that sounds more like a dissertation than an actual answer. In Jim Lynch’s novel Before the Wind, he writes, “Running a boatyard is like working in a dementia clinic…We commiserate with comforting nods and winces. We play cameos in daydreams and delusions.”

Lynch goes on to share examples of people’s ability to overlook rational thought when it comes to fixing and upgrading their boats. He uses Einstein, the representation of “genius”, to illustrate how even the most intelligent among us can lose our heads.

“Am I comparing us to Einstein? Yes. Sailboats attract the loons and geniuses among us, the romantics whose boats represent some outlaw image of themselves. We fall for these things, but what we’re slow to grasp is that it’s not the boats but rather those inexplicable moments on the water when time slows. The entire industry is built on a feeling, an emotion. It’s rarely the thing—or is it?
Regardless, boaters are suckers. They’ll pay more in moorage and repairs than their vessels are worth and rarely understand how swiftly rain and salt water conspire to corrode and rot, costs soaring as values spiral. And don’t get me started on racers who blow thousands to make their sloops go half a smidge faster so they can finish eighth instead of eleventh in regattas so obscure they don’t make the tiniest print in the sports section. One local fanatic spent eleven grand on a carbon-fiber toilet to save seventeen pounds. it’s all in their heads. So yes, there’s a special wing of any boaters’ asylum for racers, but they’re all nuts. Myself included. Sinners too.”

Lynch captures our passion for boating by highlighting how far we are willing to go to facilitate it. Believe me, our customers (us included) represent the gamut from loons to geniuses to romantics. And, sure, we are all sinners, but as the saying goes, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

To us, our boatyard is like our boat, and when it comes to “sins” that might take place in our complex business, boatyards find themselves in some territory that’s not always easy to navigate. KKMI operates in one of the most heavily regulated states in the country and we take matters of Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) very seriously. We do everything we can to avoid committing any “sin” that would impact our pledge of upholding the best management practices as they relate to SHE. I can say without qualification, we operate with SHE in the forefront of our minds, every single day, 24/7. It’s enough to make us want to check in to the dementia clinic.

In future installments of “From The Bilge” I’m going to share with you how KKMI’s commitment to SHE sets us apart. I’m going to talk about the winds of change that have blown through the boatyard business over the years and will continue to do so.

In the meantime, I wish you and your family a wonderful Labor Day weekend…and don’t forget when you are on your boat to rejoice in the sport and our beautiful Bay that is our playground.

See you on the waterfront…


KKMI is your one stop full service Northern California and San Francisco Bay Area boatyard providing unbeatable service, competitive prices, and outstanding workmanship. Specializing in boat bottom paint, boat hauling and storage, boat carpentry, fiberglass gelcoat and repair, rigging 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 SF Bay Area and Northern California boatyard specialist and give us a call today.