Business

Yacht dealership changes hands

With Port Orchard resting on the edge of Sinclair Inlet, there’s no surprise that many downtown businesses encompass an aquatic theme.

One such business that has a history of success is Robert Heay’s Port Orchard Yacht Sales, which came under new management by namesake and owner Robert Heay on Oct. 1.

Previously known simply as Port Orchard Yacht Sales, the former owner retired and Heay, who worked there for 15 years, decided to step up to the plate and continue the business.

“I opened this one in its footprint,” said Heay. “I’ve been on boats all my life — it was just a natural progression.”

The business offers a variety of marine craft, including commercial vessels, corporate and private yachts, power boats, sail boats, and long-range cruising vessels.

For those who may not know the difference between a boat and a yacht, the defining factor is typically just a size distinction. Yachts generally include extras like sleeping quarters and cooking facilities, and range from about 30 to 100 feet. Once a vessel reaches a length of 106 feet, it becomes designated a ship.

“We’re very, very focused,” said Heay. “This company is focused specifically on yacht sales with real high personal care and attention to the client.”

The visible wares at Robert Heay’s Port Orchard Yacht Sales are only telling half the story, as Heay noted that his business uses a multiple listing system (MLS).

With a base of about 95,000 yachts, the MLS service connects Heay’s store with several sites and 1465 brokers worldwide.

“We draw from a pool of each other’s boats to fit our customers needs,” said Heay, who explained that yachts can come from places like Alaska, San Diego, Mexico, and the East Coast. “The (use of) Internet has taken down the geographical boundaries we used to have,” he said.

Heay has been a resident of the area for 20 years, and although 18 of those years were spent on his sailboat, he is currently building a log cabin home.

“The office here is in a nice, rural setting,” he said. “It’s a great location, being based on the waterfront. The area is very conducive to yacht sales.”

Robert Heay’s Port Orchard Yacht Sales, located at 555 Bay St., has about 14,000 feet of display space and four local employees.

“Boating is a big tourist industry,” said Heay. “It’s a big draw for the city of Port Orchard.”

Heay also discussed the aspect that yachts can bring people together.

“Boating is a real family activity,” he said. “In the times we’re living in, we all want to be a nuclear family again. A lot of lifetime memories are made boating.”

Since taking the reigns of the business, Robert Heay has gotten a “fantastic” response, including phone calls and letters.

“We really appreciate the support we get from working for the local people,” said Heay. “I love this community. I’m here to stay.”

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