Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Green Cove Springs Marina WARNING!

In preparation for our departure north, we needed to find a good place to leave Drift Away for the many months we'd be gone.  Cost was an issue and we eliminated all the expensive marinas.  We didn't care about amenities since we wouldn't be there anyway.  We also wanted a do-it-yourself yard to perform some needed maintenance,  like painting.  We narrowed our list down to a few.  Green Cove Springs Marina looked good, relatively close by to Brunswick Georgia where we were docked, just south of Jacksonville.

I gave them a call to make sure they could accommodate us.  They asked the size, weight, and beam, and then confirmed that they could easily haul Drift Away.  Pam and I even took a road trip there to talk to the staff in person.

We arrived at Green Cove Springs Marina on May 10th, tying up to their wall.

Not the prettiest marina we've been at, but the cleats were adequate.

We were there for a few days and made arrangements to rent a U-Haul for our trip north.  The marina owner and office manager came by in a golf cart and we chatted a bit.  They both seemed like nice folks.  

I prepped the boat for long term storage, putting loose things in the Whaler and covering it with a tarp.  I turned off everything on the boat, both 110V and 12V.   The shore power didn't work on the dock and so we ran our generator to keep our food cold and water hot, but no big deal.  The only things running would be the bilge pumps, so I hooked both batteries together with booster cables to double the battery capacity for the pumps.  I couldn't just turn the battery switches to "all" because the engines won't start that way.

On the day of our departure, I stopped by the office to check out.  I paid for hauling, bottom cleaning, pump out, blocking, and three months storage in advance.  I asked that our boat be hauled as soon as possible.  I didn't like leaving a 33 year old boat in the water without someone reliable to watch it and check on it.  I was told that it would be hauled within a few days.

A couple of days passed and Pam and I were almost in North Carolina when the cell phone rang.   It was the marina.

"We can't haul your boat."

"WHAT?  Why not??"

"It's too big.  We can't do it."

"When I called, you assured me that you could!"

"Well, we can't.  It's too tall."

"So now what do we do?  We're on our way north towing a U-Haul and almost in North Carolina."

"Don't worry, I'll take care of it.  I'll have it hauled by Holland Marine and then stored at Reynold's Park Yacht Center right next to us.  They charge more than we do, though."

"When can you do this?"

"I'll make the arrangements right away and get it over there."

"OK, do it."

After I hung up the phone, I was extremely aggravated.  I found it incredibly unprofessional that they didn't take a few minutes to size up Drift Away in the few days I was there.  Plus, it would cost me half again as much as I planned on.  If I knew there was a problem hauling Drift Away at Green Cove Springs, I would have taken it someplace else.

Days passed and I heard nothing.  I called.  Drift Away was still in the water.

"I just have to get on Holland Marine's hauling schedule.  I'll get it out in a few days."

A few days turned into a few weeks.   Another call.

"Your broker said to leave your boat in the water because it shows better."

"What?  No way.  Look, it's MY boat and I want it hauled.  Why would you take instructions from a boat broker?"

And then a couple of months went by.  Finally, on the 12th of July, I had a call from Holland that Drift Away was hauled and at Reynold's.

I called Green Cove Springs and asked about refunding what I paid them.  I spoke to Crystal, the manager.  

"I'll talk to Bob, the owner."

"Fine," said I.  "I'll pay for the few days we were there on the boat, and I'll pay for the pump out you did, but I don't expect to be charged for the two months my boat sat tied up to your wall."

"I'll have to talk to Bob about that."

Several telephone calls and emails went unanswered over the next few weeks. It was apparent to me that they had no intentions of refunding me anything.  I guess they figured they could continue to play games since I'm in New York and they're in Florida.  They were wrong.

I filled out paperwork and sent it to my bank to have my debit card charged back the full amount I paid them, $773.

Now the tables are turned and it's their turn to wait.

A word to the wise.  Always put major expenditures on a charge or debit card.  You can always have the card charged back if goods or services are not delivered.  

Avoid Green Cove Springs Marina.  


  1. What a bunch of BS!! You paid them for a service they said they could deliver on and couldn't-- They should of absorbed the extra cost...

  2. That's my feeling and I told them that. It was their fault we left our boat somplace not of our choosing. Had we known they couldn't haul us, we would have found another Marina comparable in cost to have been hauled. Instead, we are now someplace not of our choosing and paying a higher rate! Not happy..... Not happy at all!

  3. I hope all those Navi Nuts "Patent Pending" Don't get lost throughout this fiasco!!

    Maybe you put them all safely away in the Pretzel can...

  4. This really sucks but we're glad you posted this. We plan to spend some time in that area over the winter and will surely avoid them. Chuck and Susan

  5. If they still have the travel lift from a few years ago when I was there, I am not surprised. It was a bit patched and wheezed some, and wasn't all that big.

  6. When I was there a few years ago the travel lift was kinda old and not that big, took my 36 ketch but did not have a lot of room to spare if I remember

  7. Not too sure about Green Cove Springs Marina because we have always used Reynolds Park for slips and storage. GCSM is less expensive because less services are offered. We have always used Holland Marines lift and it takes our 13.5' beam boat. HM does have an even bigger one that takes some really large Catamarans and houseboats. HM has fair pricing but is not the least expensive in our area.