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Destination - Ft. Lauderdale marinas, supplies and more

Some people don’t seem to care what they spend. This is particularly true among some of the my-yacht-is-more-mega-than-your-yacht set. This drives up prices, and many marine businesses go after that. I know I would.

Some people don’t seem to care what they spend. This is particularly true among some of the my-yacht-is-more-mega-than-your-yacht set. This drives up prices, and many marine businesses go after that. I know I would.

Read the other story in this package: Destination Ft. Lauderdale

This phenomenon, plus the fact that it’s a resort area, results in some high prices in Fort Lauderdale. But because there are so many marine businesses in the area, and thus so much competition, the average boater also can find good prices and an excellent supply of parts and services. If you can’t find it in Fort Lauderdale, it probably doesn’t exist. The key is to carefully shop around. You may be surprised at how prices can vary and how a high dollar amount doesn’t always mean better. Here’s a sampling of a few businesses. It isn’t to recommend some over others, but to help you begin shopping.

You’ll probably find many of your solutions within a few miles of Lester’s. This popular diner, a few blocks west of Route 1 (Federal Highway) on the south side of SR 84, lies between S.W. Second and S.W. Third avenues, and a huge collection of marine businesses also lies between and along these streets. Here are a few:

• Raritan (fully stocked service center for its array of heads, water heaters, water systems, ice makers, etc.), , (954) 525-0378

• Spurs Marine Manufacturing (line and net cutters), , (954) 463-2707

• DeAngelo Marine Exhaust, , (954) 763-3005

• Beaver-Brand Canvas (cockpit enclosures, upholstery), (954) 763-7423

• Marine Lift Technology (tender lifts and fabrications), (954) 527- 0180

• Seafarer Marine (wood and related products and fabrications), , (954) 763-4263

• Complete Yacht Service (diesel parts and repairs), , (954) 462-6977

• Lewis Marine Supply (wholesale marine parts and equipment distributor), , (954) 523-4371

• DS Hull (wholesale marine parts and equipment distributor), (954) 463-4307

• Lauderdale Speedometer (service, sales, testing gauges, meters, compasses), , (954) 522-4885

Across SR 84 from Lester’s, McDonald’s Hardware, (954) 463-2000, has things you’d never dream of finding for almost any job. A few blocks west, locally owned and operated Boat Owner’s Warehouse, (954) 522-7998, , has no-nonsense marine hardware and parts, and “we can do it” experience at very competitive prices. West Marine’s “Flagship Store,” (954) 527-5540, lies on the corner of SR 84 and Federal Highway a few minutes northeast of Lester’s. Just east of Lester’s on SR 84, Sailorman, (954) 522-6716, , buys and sells used and new items.

There are many more businesses throughout town, most within a few miles of this center. Farther out SR 84, you’ll pass through so-called “Marina Mile,” where you cross over the South Fork of the New River. In this area you’ll find more marinas, yards and marine businesses, such as Don Hillman Power Systems (Onan and Kohler generator sales and service), (954) 467-6755, , and ACR Electronics (safety and survival equipment), (954) 981 3333, . Bill Conry, in the reverse osmosis business for more than 20 years, consults and offers a wide range of watermaker products and services at Sea-R.O. Inc., (954) 527-5282, . You’ll find Sen-Dure (heat exchangers and oil coolers a few miles north, (954) 973-1260, . Lee Kelm of Lee’s Marine AC and Refrigeration, (954) 649-0003, has years of experience in his field. I call him from afar when I have problems, and he knows his business so well it’s like he’s standing in my engine room with me looking at my compressors. Coast Line Marine, (954) 782-7279, , services and repairs most brands of tenders and outboards and will pick up your equipment for servicing. Wet Spot water softener, (954) 914-5642,, removes impurities from dock water so that your washdowns dry spotlessly.

The large boatyards do it all, even building new yachts and lengthening old ones. The Marine Industries Association of South Florida’s free 200-page membership roster lists businesses by name and service/product, (954) 524-2733, .

Many contractors will come to your boat; some work “out of the truck.” Some boaters worry about a lower degree of reliability, but we’ve often found excellent help in this sector, at reasonable prices. A good one-person operation doesn’t have to support all the infrastructure of a large business. The trick is to find them. Of course, there’s the telephone book, but there are other ways. Look for business cards posted in marinas and marine stores. Ask marina dock hands and other owners and captains. Look around and see who’s doing work on other boats in your marina. When you go into a marine shop, ask for suggestions.

Long distance shopping

As cruisers we’re only in the city periodically, but wherever we might be we still usually get marine products and services from Fort Lauderdale. To use the city long distance, call a business with which you are familiar. If it doesn’t have the solution, ask who does. The networking is impressive. And there are other ways into the network; many local businesses have special departments for this. Boat Owners’ Warehouse has a Special Order Department with a staff of five to handle regular call-in orders. BOW Worldwide Yacht Supply, (954) 463-8077, managed by Terri Strauss, caters to yachts larger than 80 feet. Both are related to the 50,000-square-foot DS Hull warehouse and have local staff who “know what’s where” in the city. West Marine has an outfitting office that specializes in putting together and shipping large orders. Bluewater Books and Charts, (800) 942-2583, , offers expert advice and ships promptly around the world.

Ask owners and captains, wherever you are, about their contacts in the area. Many have been broken down elsewhere and put the part on a plane to Fort Lauderdale to have it returned repaired. The Fort Lauderdale Marine Directory, , lists many local businesses with descriptions, which you can search by category.

Finding a marina

Slips range from rental docks behind homes to famous resort marinas, with facilities adequate for most yachts. Here are a few examples.

City marinas: Jamie Hart, the city’s supervisor of marine facilities, has taken an active role in helping boaters find a place along the crowded waterfront. The city operates three nice marinas, (800) 385-3625, generally at a rate more reasonable than some of the private marinas.

The Las Olas Marina, at the East Las Olas Bridge on the ICW, is only a few blocks from the beach, the Beach Place Mall, and many oceanfront restaurants. There also is a small mooring field south of the bridge, operated by the city. Mike Horn, its dock master, has a reputation for friendliness and helpfulness up and down the waterway.

The city’s two marinas up the New River — Cooley’s Landing, with slips perpendicular to shore (dock at slack tide) and New River Downtown — are close to the cultural center of Fort Lauderdale, which includes Broward County Performing Arts Center, the Museum of Discovery and Science, the Historical Society Museum, an Imax Theater, the Las Olas Riverfront Mall with a 23-screen cinema, and the tree-shaded Las Olas Boulevard, with its internationally known shops and restaurants.

Other marinas and yards

New River:

• River Bend Marina, (954) 523-1832

• Lauderdale Marine Center, (954) 713-0333,

• Marina Bay (deep protected basin, condominiums and a club for slip holders and owners), (954) 791-7600

• Cable Marine West, (954) 527-9005,

• Roscioli Yachting Center, (954) 581-9200

• Billfish Marina, (954) 587-6226

• Pipewelders, (954) 587-8400,

• Bradford Marine, (903) 794-2628,

Miracle Mile:

The 2 miles of ICW between East Las Olas Bridge (Mile 1064) and S.E. 17th Street Causeway Bridge (Mile 1065.9) are known as the Miracle Mile, with huge mansions and luxurious marinas.

• Hall of Fame Marina, (954) 764-3975

• Bahia Mar Yachting Center, (954) 627-6357,

• Pier 66 Resort and Marina, (954) 728-3578,

• Lauderdale Marina, (954) 523-8507,

• Fort Lauderdale Grande Marina (formerly Marriott Portside), (954) 527-6781,

• Cable Marine East (repair facility), (954) 462-2822,

Dania Cutoff Canal:

• HarbourTowne Marina, (954) 926 0300

• Royal Palm Yacht Basin (954) 923-5900,

• Derecktor Shipyards, (954) 920-5756,

• Broward Marine, (954) 925-8118,

• Playboy Marine, (954) 920-0533,