Reciprocal Sales, Service & Friendships for over 25 Years
Doug Gardiner first engaged with Bluewater and its founding partners back in 1996 during a hosted event: an owners’ rendezvous in Abacos, Bahamas. He accompanied his parents aboard their Hatteras, who were invited by Bluewater’s Chris and Judy Hall and Jud Black. Since then, Doug’s dealings and respect for Bluewater have only grown.
In 1969, after leaving behind a fishing charter business and their home in Fort Lauderdale, Gardiner’s parents started building Dennis Point Marina and Campground along the St. Marys River in Drayden, Maryland. By 1989, Gardiner was running the boatyard and service facility for the family business. Dennis Point is now a successful service yard, marina and campground offering service work and haulouts up to 75 tons.
Work & Play
During boating season, the Gardiner family was busy serving customers and running the marina and campground, but in the off season from November through March, their schedules afforded more flexibility. “My parents traveled to South Florida with a whole group of Viking and Bluewater customers in January and met at the Miami boat show in February.” Gardiner continues, “Chris would take a demo boat from Miami to The Bahamas and stay into March hopping the islands.” Gardiner’s parents would tag along in a fleet of 5 to 8 boats for these trips, year after year.
Gardiner’s parents decided it was time for retirement in 2007. He and his brother had enjoyed helping run the family business for nearly two decades, however, they were ready to slow down a bit too and spend time with their families. Gardiner continued captaining a couple longtime customer’s boats even after the sale of Dennis Point. But their own family boating trips to this point were achieved by borrowing boats from his in-laws.
So the time had come for Gardiner to purchase his first boat, and in 2014, he snapped up a good deal on a 43’ Viking Express. “I like to work on boats, so I always look for one that I can afford but needs a little work,” Gardiner says. “I pay less than market value for my boats but know that I will put money into them.” His next boat was a 50’ Hatteras Convertible purchased with the help of Bluewater’s Jud Black and Carl Beale. “I first met Carl years ago when he was detailing boats and doing yard work at Bluewater,” Gardiner says. “He was also running and moving boats and I would see him in Ocean City for the White Marlin Open. Once he started as a salesman, I would see him at the Miami Boat Show.”
After moving up to a 58’ Viking Convertible, Black and Beale helped Gardiner purchase a 61’ Viking from South Florida. Beale went to Key Largo and brought that boat home to Maryland for Gardiner. Each of his boats have carried the same name: Timeless. “My wife and I thought that boating is a timeless family activity,” Gardiner reminisces. Unfortunately, his wife, Chrissy, passed away in 2014, but he now boats with his fiancé, Janelle, and his adult children, Sarah and Ally. “Your time on a boat—you can go out and lose yourself and lose track of pressing things,” Gardiner explains. “I let go of everything; there really is no concept of time.”
The latest Timeless is another 61’ Viking Convertible, however, this 2003-built boat is special because it is one of only a few that were powered with the optional 2,050 hp MTU engines (compared to the base 1,400 hp). Gardiner still enjoys working on his boat but there are some projects beyond his scope or desire to tackle. “The first year I owned the boat, I dropped it off at Bluewater to have air conditioning installed on the flybridge along with some teak work, engine updates and general maintenance,” Gardiner says.
After a long boating season, Timeless returned to Safe Harbor Bluewater for a full mezzanine retrofit along with interior upgrades including headliner, wall panels and other soft goods. “We have a couple trips planned this year,” Gardiner explains. “Our summer begins with three weeks going around the Bay to visit a bunch of sights and landmarks.” The speed of the Viking also plays a role in their travel plans and makes day trips much easier. “With a 35-knot cruise, we can go to Crisfield for lunch and get home before dark,” says Gardiner.
“Over the years, we’ve had recreational and business dealings with Bluewater and it has always been a great experience. They never steer me wrong and are always upfront with me,” Gardiner explains. “The business Bluewater and its founders built—I have never experienced anything like it.” Gardiner concludes,
“I will never deal with another business for buying or selling a boat. “