Saturday, February 3, 2018

Playboy Marina - Review

Playboy Marina

We selected Playboy Marina upon recommendation by many of the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club that have used the facility.


In anticipation of our 1st Haulout since the purchase of Eximius in May 2015, we visited the marina which is about 25 minutes away from our home, a trip with which we became very familiar!

The Marina is immediately South of the end of the runway at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, it's easy to get to via I595 just don't waste time trying to go there during rush hours! The traffic on the Turnpike and on I95 can be very heavy early morning and around 4:40pm. We left the marina several times at rush hour in the afternoon and it took us 50 minutes to get home compared to just 25 minutes going to there after 9am.

 My initial trip there was via Griffin Road, but that's the long way! 

Big plus! West Marine, Boat Owners Warehouse and Sailorman are less than 10 minutes away from Playboy Marine Center.

They have a large travel lift to haul boats out and seem very competent in the process. They have a pressure wash runoff drain where the wash the boats down upon hauling. The runoff is filtered to prevent pollution of the waterway.

They also have a large crane that is mostly used to remove the Masts from boats that need that. There were several boats in the yard that were either having new masts delivered or were having work done that required the mast pulled before hauling the boat. There are several Rigging companies in the area that are available to assist.

The office is also the Marina Store. Lisa is cheerful, polite and seems very knowledgeable. They have a pretty good supply of items needed for boat work, and their markup is very reasonable. Our 34' Sailboat was charged $25 per day for the 1st two weeks, then it goes up to $40 per day. They don't want you to keep you boat there too long! We kept Eximius on the hard for 16 days (Monday thru Tuesday Launching Wednesday at 7:30am)

The gates to the marina are open at 7:00am, we never stayed late enough to find out when they close, but the office/store closes at 4pm week days. Still, check their website in case times have changed since our visit.

There are several Boat Service Contractors onsite: Absolute Boat Care, Patagonia Services, Atlantica Marine services to name a few. I found all of them very helpful and noted that some were able to quickly jump in to help solve a problem that a DIY owner might have (for example, the boat next to us were replacing their fixed prop with a folding prop, not as simple as initially thought, Patagonia Services helped them complete the task at short notice)

We purchased the Bottom paint for Eximius at the office/store. They have a mechanical paint can shaker and they can get most paints within a few hours on a week day. eg. Order in the morning and they can probably get it by the afternoon. They stock most of what the DIY owner needs to paint the boat bottom, including safety gear, application tools etc. They have a pretty good selection of promp shaft and hull zincs. 

We rented their vacuum sanders but, sorry guys, they suck (pun intended) I ended up purchasing my own sander and vacuum. I was told that they are going to service the vacuums.

The marina really does try to limit pollution, so they keep an eye out for inappropriate techniques such as sanding boat bottoms without a vacuum sander. They have plenty of Tarps available for protecting the tarmac under the boat from paint splashes etc.

The marina support team, including (L-R) William and Marino, are busy most of the time, either hauling or splashing boats, pressure washing and barnacle scraping boat hulls, preparing boat stands as well as keeping on top of trash disposal. 

I'm guessing that at least one boat at the yard was in excess of 54'. There was a 54' sailboat next to us and he has used the marina many time (at least once a year to clean and paint his boat hull)

Because we had to do some work on our boat's rudder, we had to have our boat raised after the rudder repair was complete to allow us to re-insert the rudder into the hull. I spoke with Lisa about our need and she advised that it might not be for a day or two as they had a busy schedule of hauling and splashing boats. But she said they would arrange for the lift as soon there was a break. That occurred the next day. The guys came over to the boat earlier than the 3pm opportunity, just after 1pm and said they could raise the boat in about a half hour. I quickly finished off the project I was working on, cleared the area on either side of the boat to allow the boat lift to pass around Eximius. William and Marino maneuvered the lift into position and put the straps in place. I needed to be on the boat to secure the rudder once it was inserted. They called in an additional set of hands to get the rudder in place. Within 10 minutes I had the rudder secure and they lowered the boat and re-positioned the support stands.

During our stay, we needed to paint the bottom where the boat stands were located. The team moved them before we got to the boat that day. It pays to talk to the staff so that they can do what they do when they can.

A mobile catering wagon visits most days after noon, but we took a sandwich after the fist day. They have soda machines outside the office/store and a couple of tables to have lunch. 

Behind the office/store are the bathrooms, they appear to be open all of the time except when being cleaned. It's a DIY marina, don't expect the bathrooms to match the Hilton!

There's a friendly bunch of Cats that hang around the office/store, they're well fed, but I bet they are responsible for us not seeing any rodents during our stay!

We needed a scaffold for working on the hull above the waterline. They have plenty, but planks are in short supply, but mostly because some users take more than they need. Next time we use the marina, we'll probably rent or purchase our own scaffold from Lowes or Home Depot - and chain it to the boat! 

They have some wooden ladders, home grown type, needed for getting up to the boat when it's on stands. We took a folding ladder with us but used their wooden ladders most of the time.

Close to each boat space is a typical Shore Power  & Water pedestal. We only used the 110v 15Amp outlets but they have typical shore power outlets as well. The pedestals have water spigots and there's at least one hose nearby. We took our own hose, but didn't use it at all. 

Remember, it's a Marina, lots of boats (there were 35 while we were there) doing lots of dirty work, and it's nearby a major airport (don't try to make a mobile phone call while the planes are taking off), so you should protect the top of the boat from dirty shoe marks. Next time, I'll put a door mat on the stern entry point of the boat and wash it off daily. Hence the nearby water spigots and hoses.

They only accept cash for payment! In our case, Lisa tallied up the balance on Monday afternoon (we planned to splash Wednesday morning), that gave us time to get the money out of the bank. We paid after lunch on Tuesday, I was only $76 over budget. They have a strict rule of Cash before Splash. There are several banks within 20 minutes of the Marina.

We were very pleased with our experience at Playboy Marina. Right up till the last minute, they helped us achieve all of our goals planned for this haulout, including letting the boat hang in the boat lift while a quick last minute application of paint on the underside of the keel that could not be reached while the boat was on blocks.

I give the Marina and Staff *****  We had to change our plans slightly when we discovered that we needed a part that was not available locally and had to have it shipped from California, that extended our stay from 7 days to 16. Lisa arranged for the later splash day over the phone. I highly recommend the marina to anyone wanting to DIY their boat projects on the hard.

Thanks Guys!

See you on the water.

Paul