Rhode Island Marina Plans to Expand

Rendering of the new facility at Quonset Point's Mill Creek Marine.

Buoyed by increased demand and rapid growth, North Kingstown-based Mill Creek Marine (formerly Johnson’s Boatyard) recently began construction of a new sales, service, and dry-stack boat-storage facility at Quonset Point, on the western shore of Narragansett Bay. Completion of the project is scheduled for this fall.

SAT map of Mill Creek Marine.

“The growth we’ve experienced since we acquired Johnson’s Boatyard in 2004, made possible by the exceptional service provided by our team, has increased our business by more than 52 percent,” said Jim Shriner, President of Mill Creek Marine. “We were limited in our ability to manage our growth in our existing facility. It became clear that our only option was to build a larger, better facility, and the site on Allen’s Harbor in Quonset was the perfect location. We are building a state-of-the-art facility to meet our demand and provide a new level of service to Rhode Island’s boaters.”

In addition to the service building, Mill Creek Marine is building Rhode Island’s first enclosed, dry stack marina—essentially an indoor garage for boats. The new facility will initially house 72 boats (up to 38’ long), with plans to increase that capacity to 168 vessels. The building itself is fully insulated and built to withstand 110 mph winds. The dry stack system is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than the traditional wet slip method, Shriner explained. And, without the need for antifouling bottom paint, shrink-wrapping or powerwashing, boat owners save about $30/foot annually, according the Mill Creek.

Dry-stacking also serves as a kind of valet service for boaters. “With an advance call, the boat is waiting at the docks, ready to go. At the end of a day on the water, boaters simply tie up anywhere on the docks and take their belongings,” Shriner said. “The boat is pulled out of the water, rinsed and placed back in the building.”

Mill Creek will also offer customers a unique flat-rate boating program, which will include annual maintenance costs in the monthly storage fee, allowing the fixed costs of boating to be spread over the whole year.

Mill Creek Marine is the only Rhode Island facility to provide factory-authorized service for all 5 major outboard motor lines: Yamaha, Mercury, Honda, Suzuki, and Evinrude, in addition to Mercruiser sterndrives and inboards. Approximately 90% of the boats in Rhode Island (with a total of 43,665 boat registrations reported in 2007) use motors built by these companies.

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