Another boating season is upon us but … It appears we are now boatless.  Our 2006 Sea Ray 340 Sundancer has been sold as of yesterday and is headed to its new home in Deltaville.  Its just one of the many changes going on here at the Starkeeper household.  This was our second boat and frankly I don’t think we would have made it this far without the atmosphere at Prince William Marina in Woodbridge, VA.  Carlton Phillips has created an environment here that can only be described as family.  There is a common thread that we first experienced with our Salesman Steve Hedrick.  We walked into the dealership on a cold January afternoon just to start looking and kick a few fenders and I wanted to be honest with him that we were only starting to look.  His response was “Buying a boat is not an impulse purchase” and he was right.  We purchased our first boat, a 2005 Sea Ray 260 Sundancer as our try it out boat since neither of us had ever owned a boat before and we had heard all of those scary sayings that non-boat owners say.  Having been through it the advice we should have followed was to buy our second boat first.  Buy the boat you want first.  While we took a bit of a loss selling the first boat we did learn some things that allowed us to zero in on the 340.  Once we were on the water we got to experience the service side of Prince William Marina.  We met Mark the service writer at the time.  This guy had the responsibility of making everyone happy all of the time and he came as close as anyone else ever did.  From getting a tech on your boat in record time so as to not ruin your weekend trip to making sure you get winterized in time for the cold snap thats coming through Mark and the team of techs working under Doug Phillips has always been great. 

Doug will forever be remembered as the guy who helped me keep our boat from sinking.  When we took the 340 out shortly after purchasing her we had made it only a few hundred yards when the high water alarm went off.  It was a Monday and service was closed with the exception of Doug running down the fixed docks on his scooter checking that everything was as it should be.  I flagged him down and asked if he could help as we were very concerned.  High water alarms are the sound of nightmares.  It means water has gotten into the boat to such a level that the main bilge pump hasn’t been able to address it and it has reached the next bilge pump higher up.  Come to find out our generator was leaking water via the anti-siphon valve into the bilge.  It had probably been doing it for a while but now the check valve in the main bilge pump hose was clogged shut and water couldn’t be pumped out.  In a few minutes he had some stainless tubing in place for us to temporarily replace the check valve and we were back on our way to an evening out on the hook for some dinner.  The quality of service didn’t stop with Doug.  Our assigned tech was also a great value 

The technician that took care of our boat was Chip.  He was nice enough to let me watch when he worked on and let me ask questions on occasion.  As an engineer I always feel more comfortable knowing how the systems I depend on work.  I learned a lot from him.  Probably the most important lesson I learned was that there are some tasks that should be left to the professionals if possible.  Watching him work has helped prepare us for our next adventure on the water.  

Carlton has put together a great team and the energy in both the people who work there and the customers they service show it.  My belief is that his leadership by example is a primary reason this marina is a great place to start your boating life.  I’ve seen him doing just about every job imaginable on the property from lifting out boats to cleaning and getting the service bay ready for a party, to doing welding on a gate that was starting to have problems.  While Prince William Marina is not the cheapest place on the water I felt that for a beginner boater and one who wants to simply come out and enjoy their boat it provides an amazing environment and the best value for your dollar that we have experienced in the DC area.  Thank you Carlton and everyone else in our Prince William Marina Family for exposing us to such a wonderful lifestyle.  

4 thoughts on “Another boating season is upon us but …

  1. Great stuff Eric. Leah and I hope to see you all around town. Glad to have spent some time with you all in the G-Dock!

    1. We are looking at making a trip down at some point but our new project is going to keep us busy. I’m hoping to provide an update on that this weekend.

  2. Hope you know no one else would have EVER talked me onto that boat, but so glad I had the chance to enjoy a day out before she was sold. We were impressed with how you both prepared for being knowledgeable and responsible boaters, and seem to have a good sense of your skills and limits. Lisa, you are amazing climbing all over that boat clamping, tucking and being a real 1st mate, and seeing Eric have the skill and patience to turn that big boat and back it into the slip in what seemed an impossibly tight space really caught my attention. “Mama proud moment.” With these traits and new skills we wish you both many fun, happy and safe sailings ahead.

    1. We weren’t sure if you would get on board. The new project is definitely a different animal. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to convince you on this one.

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