Moores Marine has built its reputation as the premier company for restoration of antique and classic yachts with such projects as the 1931 "Honey Fitz," the eighth presidential yacht beloved by JFK and "Pilar," the 1933 Wheeler restored and retrofitted to play the role of Ernest Hemingway's sportfish for a film about his life.
In December, Moores Marine bought six acres on the Intracoastal Waterway in Beaufort, N.C. down the street from the 17-acre Moores Marine Yacht Center Inc., which opened in 2007. The new company was named Beaufort Marine Center Inc., in honor of the historic coastal town and to avoid confusion with the other Moores Marine a few blocks away.
"We love this area because of all the waterways and its boatbuilding tradition. There are sounds, rivers, Cape Lookout, you name it. It's not just the Intracoastal and the Atlantic Ocean. It's just a terrific place for boating and fishing," said Jim Moores, who founded the company in Florida in 1986 after building boats in Maine.
Beaufort Marine Center, BMC, formerly Core Creek Marine, caters to modern motor and sailing yachts with services including composite and Fiberglas and metal fabrication, repowering, systems, and rigging in addition Moores Marine's traditional craftsmanship in structural marine and interior carpentry and paint and varnish.
"The new marine center is part of Moores Marine in terms of how we do things but we wanted to give modern yachts the same attention we give to the antiques and classics," Moores said.
The seaport town is one of North Carolina's oldest and most historic towns, and home to the state's maritime museum, Duke University Marine Labs, Blackbeard lore, and Shackleford Banks wild ponies. And the area's myriad waterways from sounds to rivers to creeks to Cape Lookout makes Beaufort great for sailing, boating and fishing.
Plans for the new facility include floating slips and services geared toward expedition and megayachts under 151 feet, up to 200 tons.
"These 300 feet superyachts have these elaborate boatyards all over the world catering to them. Those places are like vacation spas. We aren't going to be that fancy, just a good clean boatyard where you can get your work done at a reasonable rate. We want to get you in and out as soon as we can so you can take a real vacation," Moores said.
Moores Marine started in South Florida in 1986 with Moores Marine of the Palm Beaches and the second location, Moores Marine Yacht Center opened in 2007. Before moving to Florida, Moores built commercial fishing boats and dories in Maine, where he learned his craft.
Moores Marine is known for its work on American-built antique and classic wooden yachts, particularly Trumpy yachts, and has completed in excess of 100 major projects including more than 25 Trumpy yachts.
"One of our new clients said he had heard of me, that I'm the guy who works on Trumpys and the rumor was I was going to fill our new yard with wooden boats. I had to laugh. I told him I didn't think there were enough Trumpy yachts to fill the yard I already have, all 17 acres, never mind the new one," Moores said.
Moores said the same clients who own an antique Trumpy or a Consolidated also own modern yachts.
"Many of our clients are collectors. They don't necessarily have a fleet, although some do, but one boat isn't enough," Moores said.