A Look at What’s New in the Business of Boating

Will Lieblein of Port of Egypt Marina in Southold takes some friends boating in his new Grady-White. Michael Heller photo

With the first glimmer of warm weather comes the launch of a new boating season. Salt water runs in the veins of captains and crews and is also something sought out by novice boaters who are looking to ready their sea legs. Whatever your affinity to the sea, there is a natural draw to the ocean and Long Island Sound, and all of the tucked away bays and harbors interconnected throughout the North and South forks and Shelter Island. Capitalizing on the draw of boating to anyone that lives or visits the East End, local marinas, charter services, and dealers are working tirelessly to ensure everyone gets their taste of life at sea.

As with most industries, changing trends and technology have evolved the way people get on the water. The thrill of the catch for fisherman looking to hook a prize-winning striped bass has helped alter the layout of consoles, many models making it easier for fishermen to move from line to line efficiently. Luxury amenities on yachts have enhanced the customer experience, just as new and changing destinations have presented a distinctive appeal for boating. Classic brands and styles continue to unveil new models each season, moving the industry forward and providing different ways for people to enjoy days, weeks and even months on the water.

Those in the business of boating are eager to bring these new trends to their customers this summer. With the best of the season yet to come, here’s what to look forward to on East End waters now through fall:

Port of Egypt

“When it comes to spending time on the water, people definitely want to know that the boat they’re driving is well-built and easy to navigate,” says Captain Will Lieblein of Port of Egypt. “They’re also usually looking for something only boating can deliver — an instant vacation. The moment you step onto a boat, even before you get underway, you’re disconnecting from the busyness of daily life, and having the ability to do that is truly priceless.”

The family owned and operated business is one of the world’s oldest Grady-White boat dealers, selling them since 1960. Each year new models are launched. Currently, Grady’s Canyon 456, which is the brand’s biggest model yet, is a reimagined luxury sport fishing yacht. Vanquish Boars are a new line at Port of Egypt this year, handcrafted in Newport with classic New England designs that offer a timeless quality.

This summer, Port of Egypt is looking forward to bringing their “Everyone goes boating” mantra to life. “We’re hosting lots of events to encourage people to use their boats and maybe even venture out of their comfort zones,” the captain shares. “Follow the leader excursions to our fireworks flotillas at the Orient and Shelter Island fireworks shows, a Summerfest Raft-up off Shelter Island, which is a great overnight adventure, and a Poker Run that combines elements of boat handling, planning, clever thinking and poker are events we are planning. We’re also offering private cruise experiences aboard a Grady-White with a captain as well as complimentary boat rides with our CEO on summer afternoons.”

Southold, (631) 765-2445, poemarine.com

Danielle and Bruce Tait in their Sag Harbor office. Michael Heller photo

Tait Yachts

Land-based summer entertaining often associates the outdoors as serving as an extension of one’s home. Danielle Tait Barton of Tait Yachts says this is true on the water as well. “This can be achieved in a single day… a sparkling day under sail, with lobster rolls, summer salads and chilled wines,” Barton explains, adding yacht chartering is a reflection of the customer and their style. “On a large scale, and usually in the Mediterranean, some of my customers will charter for a whole month and fly in a different guest list for each week with a completely different itinerary and menus to reflect the ports they will visit.”

For special day charters and short and long-term vacations, Barton is excited about the 111-foot Dutch-built sailing yacht, Aurelius. Also in the multi-faceted fleet is the modern-style, sleek, and fast 62-foot Pershing Motor Yacht, Velocity. Barton recommends lavish picnics for day charters, however destinations like Duryea’s, Navy Beach, Moby’s, Sunset Beach, Salt and Greenport hotspots are often enjoyed by their customers, she adds.

For clients looking to explore more exotic waters, Barton shares she had her own unique experience recently. “I was a guest for five days aboard a 197-foot Abeking and Rasmussen yacht called Dream  in January,” she says. “The purpose was to familiarize myself with this truly luxurious yacht and her crew of 15, but also to report on the recovery of the islands that had been ravaged by the fall storms of 2017 and how we can all assist in the rebuilding.Dreamis offered for charter in French Polynesia for the next two seasons so I’m thrilled to have first-hand experience with a yacht that I am promoting in such an exotic and ‘off the beaten track’ locale.”

Sag Harbor, (631) 725-4222, taityachts.com

Strong’s Marine will feature a Cobalt 25SC at Friday’s boat show.

Strong’s Marine

Cobalt, Regal and Pursuit boats and Sunseeker yachts are innovative brands that continue to evolve as boaters’ needs and wants change. For this summer, Jeff Strong of Strong’s Marine in Mattituck and Southampton is most excited for the Pursuit 2408, a 40-foot center helm fishing boat featuring three Yamaha outboard motors to create a powerful experience while racing to fishing hotspots. Strong says the Regal outboard series is another East End favorite and serves as a great introduction to the boating lifestyle.

“Cobalt has been enhancing their surf series boats featuring inboard motors to make surfing and watersports behind your boat fun for the whole family with the luxurious and comfortable ride Cobalt is known for,” Strong explains. “This summer, Sunseeker Yachts will be debuting the 50-foot Predator for the first time in U.S. waters and Strong’s will be hosting this stunning yacht beginning July 4th weekend through the entire season.”

Strong finds people looking to get on the water are looking for a full-service experience. The marina offers canvas services to clean and stock boats with lunch, beverages and ice before boaters’ arrival, and also offer captain services to help people navigate local waters. “We enjoy getting to know our clients while recommending where to eat on the water, what fishing spots are hot this week, and how to learn to surf behind one of our popular surf series boats,” Strong says. “Strong’s is here to enrich lives and create lasting memories on the water.”

Mattituck and Southampton, (631) 298-4770, strongsmarine.com

Spellmans Marine

As Spellmans Marine is gearing up to celebrate their 60th anniversary, Brian Spellman is no stranger to the evolution of the boating industry, having grown up around it thanks to his family’s multi-generational business. Their services run the gamut – rentals, sales, service, dockage, storage, electronics installation, parts and accessories, and even fishing tournaments. Calling Grady-White their bread and butter, Spellman shares there is something new this season boaters can enjoy.

“We just took on Sea Fox this past fall and have the 2018 models,” Spellman says. “This includes 235 and 236 dual consoles, which has been the hottest trend. They’re popular to rent with walk-through bow riders.”

The Sea Fox brand builds hand-crafted saltwater boats with diverse designs including center consoles, bay boats, side consoles and dual consoles. The latter, which Spellman said is growing in popularity, allows for easy movement from bow to stern, and can comfortably and safely accommodate more boaters. “You can seat the most people,” Spellman says of dual console boats. “When people rent they want to get the most out of it as possible, so this is a great choice.”

Hampton Bays, (631) 728-9200, spellmansmarine.com

Hampton Watercraft and Marine

Hampton Watercraft and Marine’s marketing and event coordinator Megan Buckley says her crew hopes the summer season will once again bring great boating weather and fishing conditions, so everyone has the opportunity to explore and enjoy everything the East End has to offer. Founded by Tony Villareale in 1990, the company is an authorized dealer of Boston Whale, MasterCraft, Key West Boats, Rossiter and Tiara Yachts. “A beautiful new model that we are very excited about is the Tiara Sport line, beginning with the 38LS,” Buckley says.

The layout of this new model features walk-around capabilities, ample seating and easy access to bridge and lounge seats through port and starboard entries. The glass cockpit with integrated electronics provide ease of use for the captain as well. Of a popular trend, Buckley agrees dual consoles are hot right now.

“We are noticing that the market is having a large trend in outboard boats and dual consoles,” Buckley explains. “The dual console allows for a large amount of seating with multiple social zones so families and friends of all ages can enjoy boating together.”

Hampton Bays, (631) 728-8200, Eastport, (631) 288-2900, hamptonwatercraft.com.

Modern Yachts

Modern Yachts opened in Westhampton Beach 50 years ago and has undergone a substantial expansion during the last 20 years. The company merged with an existing Mattituck location in 1997 and acquired its third location on the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays in 2008. Today Modern Yachts operates the three full-service marinas with sales, service, dockage and storage at each location.

“Our brands include the full line of Sea Ray boats and yachts, Edgewater powerboats and Cobia powerboats,” said Matthew Levy, the company’s sales manager. “We are also excited to announce Modern Yachts as New York’s exclusive dealer for Jupiter Marine, featuring custom offshore outboard boats from their 25 Bay Boat to the all-new 43 Sportfish.

“We have focused our business on our customers to suit their needs as they grow from new boaters to experienced owners,” Levy continued. “From our exclusive Launch and Learn program, designed around getting customers acclimated with their boat as well as local waterways, to our fully mobile service team, we are committed to delivering an incredible boating experience.”

Hampton Bays (631-728-2266), Westhampton Beach (631-288-2400), Mattituck (631-298-5800), modernyachtsny.com