With Spring on the horizon, I thought I’d share with you what I see ahead in the coming boating year. With an improved economy and the ability to get on the water and enjoy the Bay, in many ways, recreational boating has never been so accessible. Yes, berthing on the Bay has become a bit more difficult to find, reflecting increased demand, but there are still many smaller berths that remain vacant. The number of old boats that had gone ignored because of the recession have become fewer and new boats are slowly taking their place.

Speaking of new boats, we’re seeing many with features being offered that are making boating much easier. Previous barriers that have historically served to prevent some people from buying a “big” boat have changed dramatically with an incredible spectrum of innovations aboard these new boats. From joystick controls and electric winches to hybrid propulsion systems, in my view, there are more compelling reasons to buy a new boat than I’ve ever observed.

The biggest challenge ahead for us is one that’s become a common issue for most employers: the shortage of skilled craftspeople. The demand for sought-after technicians and tradespeople has been an ongoing issue for the marine industry and it’s clear this shortage is going to take some time to remedy.

As a result, we recommend boat owners plan their service needs well ahead of time. Certainly, calling the boatyard and expecting a haul out in a few days is likely to be met with, “I’m sorry but we’re booked X number of weeks out.”

Another change is the ability to get materials. It’s surprising how much time passes waiting for parts to arrive so we can complete a project. If possible, please talk to us in advance so we can plan accordingly for these needs. In addition, over the past few years several companies in the marine industry have gone out of business. The consequence being, when we are unable to get a replacement part, we are often stuck with a completely different surrogate component, which can result in discovering this part will not fit into the prior space, or match the prior bolting pattern, etc. This frequently necessitates the expenditure of additional time to accommodate this new part.

On a very positive note, the health of the Bay seems to be getting better and better. Growing up, sailing on the Bay it was rare to see a pelican; today they are a common sight. The reappearance of the harbor porpoises on the Bay, after an absence of many decades, is an encouraging sign, and they are always thrilling to see. These are just a few of the important improvements that we’ve seen on the Bay and its environment.

As we know, owning a boat on the Bay is unique and wonderful to experience. As Stewart Udall, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior observed, we are surrounded by the “most beautiful natural bay in North America.” I couldn’t agree more. Let’s continue to not only make the Bay better, but also let’s share it with our friends, family and others who may not realize what a great gift we have…right at our water’s edge.
Looking forward to seeing you on the waterfront…and beyond.
Paul Kaplan
Paul and his grandson admire their Cal20 Sprite

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.