Written by Susan Elnicki Wade
April 2019

Harbor Master, St. Johns Yacht Harbor, Johns Island, SC

What got you involved in the marine industry?

I was in the Marine Corps for six years. When I got out, I used my G.I. Bill to go to school and become a dive instructor. I moved to St. Kitts to teach diving for two years and then spent a year on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas also teaching. I met my wife there and then chased her back to Baltimore, where I became a captain in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor while living on my sailboat under the Dominos Sugar sign in the harbor.

What is the best part of your job at the marina?

Meeting and talking to boaters and learning who they are and where they come from. Everyone has a cool story.

Where do you like to send people for authentic dining when they visit your marina?

The Fat Hen is a to-die-for French restaurant, and the Wild Olive is terrific. Both are famous for casual fine dining. My favorite place Low Tide Brewery, is more about drinking than dining.

Which places could you visit by boat over and over again and never get tired of being there?

The back waters around Charleston. With so many tidal creeks and salt marshes, it feels like you’re 200 years in the past and you have the water all to yourself!

Name your favorite boating songs that you need to hear when you head out on the water.

“A Pirate Looks at 40” by Jimmy Buffet

What is the most important item to always keep on a boat?Stan Jones Photo and Docks | Port Personalities | Stan Jones, St Johns Yacht Harbor | Marinalife

A knife. You may have to cut cheese to pair with the wine or you may have to cut a line. Best everyday tool!

If you could walk in anyone’s shoes for a day, who would it be?

General James Mattis. It’s an “Am I man enough to fill his shoes?” reason. The level of responsibility that he’s carried would crush many. He’s very to the point and seems like a “don’t mess with me” kind of guy.

What’s the best safety tip you can give to new boaters?

Docking is a controlled crash, so do it slowly!

Tell us three activities that you haven’t done yet on your bucket list.

Dive with a great white shark, do the Great Loop and free dive 100 feet. I’ve made it to 93 feet but had to be resuscitated.

What book do you believe every boater should read, and why?

Don’t Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk, because it is exactly what it’s like to live on a small island in the Caribbean. The characters perfectly portray island people and their everyday life.