2005-08-18 / News

New owners love Dutch Harbor Boat Yard

By Donna K. Drago

Barbara and Bob Paterson, the new owners of Dutch Harbor Boat Yard, say they want to keep a similar feel at the marina as Fred and Joyce Lorensen did for more than 17 years. Photo by Donna Drago Barbara and Bob Paterson, the new owners of Dutch Harbor Boat Yard, say they want to keep a similar feel at the marina as Fred and Joyce Lorensen did for more than 17 years. Photo by Donna Drago They haven’t had a minute to themselves since taking over at Dutch Harbor Boat Yard on July 24, but both Bob and Barbara Paterson agree, “This is where we belong.”

The couple had no intention of buying a marina when they “fell over it” on the Internet, according to Bob, who said that Barbara was surfing the net looking for a new facility to house their boat-building business, which is based in Portsmouth.

It seemed like an ideal place for the couple who has history at the boat yard.

“It’s been good, bad and ugly,” Bob said about the years that he has spent on the west side of the island.

He had a boat moored at Dutch Harbor in 1982, lost his boat when it broke free of its mooring in the “perfect storm” of 1992, ending up broken and battered on the rocks at Bonnet Shores.

Bob and Barbara were married on a beautiful sunny day on a boat that he built himself, moored in the harbor in 1998.

Bob credits Barbara for working for months to pull off the deal to buy the marina from Joyce and Fred Lorensen, who wanted to see another “mom and pop” come in and continue the kind of place that they started 17 years ago, Bob said.

He and Barbara have been putting in 12to 15-hour days since taking ownership, and they really haven’t had a chance to breathe let alone try to figure out ways to expand or improve the business in coming seasons, Bob said.

But “it’s the sunsets” that are the selling point of this place and the thing that makes them happy to be there for the long work days, Barbara said.

Bob said that he’d like to see “a poor man’s racing series, just for fun,” started up on the west side, and that with his 24 years of boat-building experience, he’d also like to expand the repair side of the business.

Now residents of the Middlebridge section of Narragansett, the couple said that they eventually plan to move into the apartment over the office in the boat yard building.

“I can crawl into bed faster at the end of the day,” Bob said.

This is the third job for Bob Paterson, 46, who in addition to building the Quonset Point 25, a center-console sport fisher, is also a full-time firefighter in the town of North Kingstown.

He said he has 23 years with the department and is “hoping to retire here” at the boat yard in a short time.

Dutch Harbor Boat Yard has nine employees, most of which “came with the place,” and takes care of 100 moorings in the marina, as well as an additional 80 private moorings.

“We’re looking forward to October,” Barbara said.

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