• Sam Smith

    “HELLO, SAM HERE.”

    Those three words, heard by Dutch Wharf customers when calling the yard, have the same comforting effect as mom’s meatloaf or macaroni and cheese.

    Sam Smith, Dutch Wharf’s foreman, oversees some of the most demanding professionals in the marine industry. It’s true. Our employees are frequently more critical than even the most meticulous customer. As Martha Stewart would say, … ‘and that’s a good thing’.

    Each year 125-150 boats arrive for winter storage, maintenance and repairs. Arriving at about the same time (usually October) they all expect to leave in May. In the fall all need bottoms cleaned and engines de-commissioned. Most get covered and many must be scheduled into one of our eight buildings for repairs. In the spring engines are commissioned, bottoms painted, spars stepped and rigging tuned. It’s enough to turn even the most nerdy logistics expert to jelly… but not Sam. On the exterior he has the demeanor of a canoe paddler on Sunday morning. Inside he’s running at Mach 2 while supervising, mentoring and advising fifteen

    professionals with the calm finesse of the seasoned manager that he is.

    Sam’s career and love of boats began in 1973 when he joined Mystic Seaport. From there he moved to Maine and spent seven years building and restoring boats at two yards in Rockport. In his spare time he taught boat building and marine trades at the Maine Vocational Center. While in Maine he became a certified commercial diver. (One might say he understands the business from the bottom up.) His diving expertise took him to the island of Maui. There he formed and operated a commercial dive company that expanded into a complete marine repair business. They served primarily commercial accounts where time in the yard meant lost revenue.

    Family considerations called Sam back to the east coast where he joined Dutch Wharf in 2003. He was named yard foreman after only one year when his talents became obvious. He personally rebuilt a colonial home two blocks from the boatyard where he lives with his wife Dee and eleven year-old twins, Sophia and Harrison. His proximity to the yard provides numerous opportunities to help customers in need. Recently a Memorial Day family picnic was interrupted by a call from a stressed customer whose engine failed leaving Branford harbor. He was adrift. Sam quickly organized a rescue crew and brought the customer and his party back to our dock, then to his home. Sam entertained them while the engine was being repaired. “What’s another hamburger or two?” he said.

    Repeat customers appreciate the peace of mind that comes from dealing with a like-minded professional whose approach to each job begins with thoroughly understanding their objectives, then formulating a work plan to accomplish those needs in a timely manner at reasonable cost. Sam believes in constant communication with the customer as work progresses. That approach keeps surprises to a bare minimum.

    No matter the size of your vessel or the scope of her needs, a short conversation with Sam brings the same comfort as a glass of fine wine. And, as a wise man once said: life’s too short to drink bad wine. So call Sam today and learn how Dutch Wharf can help instill safety, pleasure and pride in your boating endeavors.

    You too, will learn to welcome those three little words: ‘Hello, Sam here’.