When Scott Zeien purchased Kingman Yacht Center (KYC) from its founder Tom Kingman in 2000, it was a homecoming of sorts. “I spent a lot of time on Red Brook Harbor and Buzzards Bay when I was growing up in the late ‘50s and ‘60s,” says Zeien. “I learned to sail and swim here. Actually, you could say that I learned to swim by learning to sail.”
“Kingman”, as most people refer to the marina, has seen a lot of changes since 1932, when the business was started with a single work shed, a marine railway and a wooden pier. Back then the marina tended to wooden vessels, and remained largely unchanged until the ‘60s, when expansion began to accommodate the growing number of fiberglass boats that were entering the market. Three barges were scuttled along the shoreline to extend the marina’s harbor frontage, and one of them became the foundation of the Chart Room restaurant, now a Buzzards Bay institution famous for its sunsets, swordfish and mudslides. In the early ’70s, the Kingman family further expanded the marina by excavating a bog behind the facility to form the current boat basin.
Today, KYC can accommodate boats up to 120’ in its 235 slips and 130 moorings. It also welcomes some 750 transients each summer, which requires a bit of juggling on weekends. “I think of it as a game of musical chairs,” laughs Zeien. “The boaters who run to Cuttyhunk need a space vacated by Cuttyhunk boaters who go to Vineyard Haven, and those boaters need a space left by Vineyard boaters who come to Red Brook. By nightfall, you’ve either found a slip or mooring or you’re anchored up behind Bassetts Island.”
Which is fine too, as there are at least 3 good spots to drop the hook and dinghy over to KYC for dinner or cocktails at the Chart Room, galley provisions, coffee and pastries, or boating supplies at the well-stocked ship’s store. Even if the store doesn’t have what you need, KYC can order virtually any part or product from the West Marine catalog, at the catalog or better price, and have it delivered to your boat the same day with no delivery charge. “It’s just another example of our motto: ‘competitive rates; unsurpassed service,’” says Zeien.
“Another thing that sets us apart from other yards and marinas is the lack of layering when it comes to service,” Zeien continues. “In other words, the customer can speak directly with the technician who is working on his boat; he doesn’t have to go through a yard foreman or manager. Each member of our team is encouraged to work with the individual boater to determine his or her needs.”
No matter what those needs, KYC has it covered. They are authorized dealers for all major inboard engine and electronics brands, and have a full staff of technicians trained in everything from Awlgrip application to complex wiring. Almost any type of marine repair can be made on-site, too, thanks to the 70-ton Travelift and KYC’s staff of experienced fiberglass and mechanical technicians. “We’ve really worked hard to establish Kingman as a first-class yard,” says Zeien.
Zeien’s youthful experiences in and around Red Brook allow him to appreciate the many things that this pretty, well-protected harbor in the northeast corner of Buzzards Bay has to offer. “The major benefits for both transients and resident boaters are the top-notch services we offer, plus great protection from all winds, and close proximity to a variety of daytrip and weekend destinations.” From Red Brook it’s an easy run south to the islands and other Cape Cod and Southcoast destinations, or you can shoot through the Cape Cod Canal and head for Provincetown, Stellwagen Bank, Boston or any number of South Shore harbors. And while Red Brook has long been popular among boaters waiting for a fair tide to take them through the Cape Cod Canal, Zeien has noticed a lot more folks choosing to stick around and enjoy the area for a few days.
Many head for the aforementioned Bassetts Island, a public barrier beach surrounded by warm, shallow water that’s ideal for kids to romp in. Great fishing can be had nearby as well, especially in the early summer, when stripers, sea bass, tautog, scup, bluefish and more can be taken throughout Upper Buzzards Bay and the west end of the Cape Cod Canal.
Zeien is well aware of his harbor’s natural appeal, and has taken steps to ensure the health of the local waters. “I take very seriously our role as stewards of the environment,” he says. “To that end, we’ve invested well over a million dollars on projects to improve the natural resources in and around Red Brook.”
KYC’s green-minded approach includes the installation of solar panels on its buildings, the availability of bio-diesel fuel, washdown-water reclamation systems, and landscaping that filters runoff from hard surfaces. However, the best is yet to come, as Zeien has been working with local residents and officials to build a “pocket” wastewater-treatment plant that would reduce the amount of human-generated nitrogen and other chemicals from entering the harbor. The facility would treat the wastewater from 65 surrounding homes currently on septic.
“We think it will serve as a great example of what can be done in remote communities to reduce nitrogen pollution,” says Zeien. “After all, people come here because of the water, so it’s our responsibility to protect it.”
To learn more about Kingman Yacht Center, CLICK HERE or call (508-563-7136).
To learn more about Red Brook Harbor, visit the Boater’s Guide section by CLICKING HERE.
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