The Revival of US Boating with Safe Harbor Marinas

By Jenna Mehdi

In just five short years, Safe Harbor Marinas has become a household name amongst boating enthusiasts. With more than 100 locations and 40,000 members, Safe Harbor has quickly risen to prominence to claim the title of the world’s largest boating network. We spoke with Kate Pearson, VP of Business Development for Safe Harbor, to discuss the importance of the group’s mission and the benefits of joining North America’s greatest cruising network.

‘The cornerstone of what we do is making memories,’ says Kate. ‘We connect people to experiences on the water.  We get them out on boats, whether small or large, and nurture their relationship to each other and to nature through our extraordinary people and properties. We bring our members the very best in nautical lifestyle.’

Boating lifestyle has never been more important than it is today. The global pandemic caused a renewed emphasis on quality time and leisure around the world. We have witnessed this in the surge of late summer brokerage deals, in the commercial success of FLIBS, and in the local boating communities that Safe Harbor serves. 

Promoting everything from health and safety to environmental stewardship, Safe Harbor is diligent in the care of its people and expansive locations. Aside from this, the company provides a host of tangible membership benefits.

‘We want our members to be able to experience the joy of cruising different areas,’ Kate tells us. ‘The New England charm of the bustling Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard is worlds away from the Carolina flair of Safe Harbor Charleston City, or the sun-drenched lifestyle of Safe Harbor Harborage Marina.’  This, she tells us, is the beauty of the Safe Harbor operation; its capitalisation on the glorious diversity of North America’s vast cruising grounds. 

‘We are the gateway to some of America’s greatest coastal towns,’ says Kate. ‘We celebrate the uniqueness of each location; we want to open a hundred coastal  towns for our boaters to explore.’ Kate’s aspiration is no menial task on the scale at which Safe Harbor already operates. It would not be possible, she adds, without the unique culture of service and commitment to excellence that characterizes Safe Harbor’s people. 

But how has Safe Harbor built such a vast network in such a relatively short amount of time? Kate believes that the growth has come by virtue of treating marina owners with integrity. Safe Harbor can bring individual marina owners invaluable resource for improvement, she tells us. 

‘We do what we say we will do,’ says Kate. ‘And our commitment to doing things the right way does not end with the closing of a transaction. In fact, it begins there again. Our capital improvement program is really robust. We typically have a 1-year, 3-year and 5-year program for each property that aims to improve the environmental health, physical improvements, and overall experience of the properties.’

These improvements are based on boater feedback, Kate tells us, which is at the very core of Safe Harbor’s philosophy. This approach is exactly what sets Safe Harbor apart, and is the philosophy that has led to the network’s rapid growth and unprecedented success. 

Safe Harbor also holds a number of location-tailored and members-only lifestyle events at its various locations. Some highlights of last year include a Charleston Wine + Food Event and a Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego. 

The real showstopper however in Safe Harbor’s lifestyle is the Water Suites. These luxurious floating suites are custom built by the world-renowned shipwrights at Safe Harbor New England Boatworks. They are impeccably appointed and available exclusively to Safe Harbor members.

Having kicked off 2021 in style with the acquisition of the prestigious Rybovich Marina, we look forward to what the rest of this year holds for the dynamic boating network. 

"We celebrate the uniqueness of each location; we want to open a hundred coastal towns for our boaters to explore."

Kate Pearson, VP of Business Development for Safe Harbor

"We celebrate the uniqueness of each location; we want to open a hundred coastal towns for our boaters to explore."

Kate Pearson, VP of Business Development for Safe Harbor
By Jenna Mehdi