Bluewater Customer Kicks off An Ambitious Retirement
Steele is no stranger to boating adventures. Growing up along the Mississippi River in Rock Island, Illinois, he learned how to ski from a jon boat at ten years old. Boating through his teenage years and through college, Steele eventually bought his first boat: a 17’ Bayliner.
Over time, Steele moved up through several Chaparral boats and eventually to a 26-footer. His job transfers also took him from Rock Island to Iowa City, Iowa, and eventually to Richmond, Virginia, where he still keeps the boat on a lake.
Getting a first look at Meditrina
“I have been planning a big boating trip to Florida for nearly twenty years,” Steele recalls. When their friends who accompanied the Steeles on that Miami trip asked when they would be going back —they made it clear they meant by boat— not flying.
Steele got to work researching and learning about the ICW, when it is best to run offshore, where to anchor, and the marinas to stop at based on the boat’s range. “This is when I finally decided to get a much bigger boat,” Steele recalls. “I own and operate an epoxy flooring construction business,” Steele explains. “I met Hank Sibley back in 2005 in the construction business—before he sold boats.” So, when it came time to research a bigger boat, Steele knew just who to call.
Steele and his wife enjoyed that summer with weekend trips around Chesapeake Bay. “It was a big upgrade from 26-feet to 47-feet,” Steele exclaims. While working to get used to their new 47’ Fairline, Steele was also working to promote management from within his business so he could retire from working on December 31, 2022.
In planning the big trip to Florida, Angie was uncertain about being on the boat for the entire trip to South Florida from Hampton, Virginia where they keep the boat at Safe Harbor Bluewater. Instead, Steele made plans with several friends to fly in and split up specific legs of the trip. “We had a schedule to keep at specific ports and marinas in order to coordinate with the flights my buddies were on,” Steele explains.
For the journey south, he planned to stay in as many Safe Harbor marinas as possible. “We are very happy with Safe Harbor Marinas,” Steele says. “The staff at the marinas are awesome and it is a very full-service experience.” They started their Safe Harbor membership with the acquisition of Bluewater Yachting Center in 2022. The membership affords them free stays while his Safe Harbor Black Card offers them fuel discounts throughout the Safe Harbor network as well.
The long journey for Steele and Meditrina included stops at Safe Harbor Jarrett Bay in Beaufort, North Carolina, Safe Harbor South Harbour Village in Southport, North Carolina and onward to Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately, Safe Harbor’s marina in Savannah, Georgia was full at their passing, but they still enjoyed a fuel discount. “Part of our trip through Florida, we were checking out different areas and marinas where we could keep the boat during the winter.” Steele continues, “Keeping the boat in Florida would eliminate the need to winterize and we can enjoy six months in Florida and six months on the Chesapeake.”
When Steele is not boating or planning his next boating adventure, he enjoys golfing and several big trips with his golf buddies per year. Steele is definitely enjoying his retirement, having sailed off on a dream cruise to Florida essentially right away. As they plan more big adventures, Safe Harbor Marinas and Bluewater will be by their side for every leg of the journey!