Atlantic Yacht Basin, Inc. is a full service yacht repair and storage facility strategically located on the A&C Canal of the Intracoastal Waterway in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Atlantic Yacht Basin

Exploring A Friendly Place on the Waterway Plus the Inside Story of One Couple's Life "On the Water"

Aerial view of AYB's entire facility on the ICW including 24/7 fuel docks, work sheds, thousands of square feet of covered storage and protected basin. . © .2013 - Atlantic Yacht Basin.  All rights reserved. 

The Dog Days are over and the early part of migration season is on once again at AYB.   AYB is one of those places to come back to season after season and year after year -- so we love to see so many familiar faces coming into the Yard.  This is a great time in our unique spot on the Waterway -- another reason so many people pass through or come back to stay with us for a while. 

There is a lot going on here throughout the fall -- from routine maintenance to any size repair projects and restorations to people migrating through to the tropics or headed into storage for the off-season.  It's also the time of year when most hurricanes threaten the East Coast and boats are coming into our protected basin to weather the storm or get some needed work done or both.  Our covered storage sheds and docks are so busy with vessels coming in and out that it's literally a parade of unforgettable boats. 

Many people tell us that they think AYB is a special place with our one-of-a-kind blend of friendly service, skilled crew, and decades of history, tradition and experience.  As the largest in-water covered storage facility on the East Coast, our convenient, protected deep water draft location on the ICW (halfway between the NE and Florida) is easily accessible by land, water, and even air.  Captains and owners everywhere appreciate the interesting local attractions of the Tidewater area as well as the ease of locating services of all kinds both on the Yard and off.  

If you want to find out more about our facility or comprehensive range of marine service and storage options,  please call AYB  toll-free at (800) 992-2489 or local at  (757) 482-2141 or drop us a line at .  Don't forget to ask us about our Guaranteed Hurricane Storage Program or how you can refer a friend and get one month's storage free (terms and conditions apply)! 

As always, we also invite you to discover more about AYB on our website at or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for interesting updates, tips, and specials going on at the Yard.

We hope to see you soon.  In the meantime here's to a safe and fun fall season! 

Your Friends At AYB

Meet Semi-Locals Diana and Mark Doyle! 

AYB shares this continuing feature -- an interview with the interesting people and their great boats that visit us here at AYB.  We recently caught up with Mark and Diana Doyle, authors of the popular cruising guide and electronic charting series, On The Water ChartGuides.  Full-time cruisers, they are currently at AYB with their PDQ 34 power catamaran, m/v Semi-Local, getting a bottom job and gelcoat compounded and waxed. The Doyles have just released an updated version of their CruiseGuide for the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).  (To find out more, click here). 

Diana and Mark at the flybridge of their PDQ power catamaran. © Mark S. Doyle. All rights reserved. 

How did you decide to live aboard full-time?  
Mark:  I've lived aboard on and off for three decades and when I retired from high-tech, I knew I wanted to cruise full-time.  I had taken several leaves from work over the years to go cruising. My first run of the Waterway was in 1987 -- on a 30-foot Catalina that a buddy and I took from Boston to the Bahamas and back! 

Diana:  I was a professor so was free to travel in the summer.  I had just bought a fixer-upper Allied Princess sailboat, intending to live-aboard and write each summer.  That was until I pinned the boat against a piling in strong current -- and met Mark, who trotted down the dock to talk me out of that pickle!  We ended up selling our two monohulls, buying a sailing catamaran, and taking a couple of years off work to cruise and homeschool our son. 

Do you still own a home on land?  Do you have a home port? 
Diana:  No, when our son left for college we sold the house.  We don't really have a home port, but there are particular places we visit a couple times a year and consider semi-home ports, like Beaufort, SC or St. Augustine, FL. 

Speaking of semi-home ports, how did you come to name your boat and your company Semi-Local? 
I "borrowed" the name Semi-Local from a sailboat I saw along the ICW back in the '80s and '90s. Its name was proudly displayed on the transom with electrical tape letters (beyond ironic!) as the owner sailed with the seasons, playing guitar in Tiki bars to feed the cruising kitty. With a transient lifestyle, he quipped that his status fell somewhere between "local" and "tourist." He moved too much to ever acquire local status, but stayed long enough to avoid being labeled a tourist.  Thus, his stature in each adopted community was that of a "semi-local," which, he was quick to remind everyone, sounded a lot more respectable than "semi-transient."

Diana: That turned out to be a great boat name and Mark has used it about 4 times! But it also serves as a good company name.  Mark and I self-publish cruising guides, reference books, and electronic chart catalogs that help fellow boaters follow their dreams to new destinations.  As folks travel the waterways, they'll never be locals, but we hope our guides help them feel like semi-locals ... comfortable not only with the navigation but familiar with the geography, nature, culture, and history of each region they transit.  

Home is where the boat is, Semi-Local at Boca Chita Key. © Mark S. Doyle. All rights reserved. 

Why did you start On The Water ChartGuides?
Mark:  Two reasons really, First, when we were a family cruising, Diana and I realized we weren't very good at the "ice cream tour."  Even a new boat, homeschooling chores, and sweet shops couldn't fill the days.  We're both Type A's and wanted to continue working through retirement. Second, we realized there was something missing in available cruising resources and that we were about to enter an exciting time of electronic navigation.  So our books, in addition to being the product of us being "on the water" full-time, meld high-tech with traditional piloting, like our geo-tagged photographs and the depth-annotated bread crumb trails on our AnchorGuides.  

The On the Water ChartGuides logo, with electronic waypoints charted on a changing waterscape.  © On the Water.  All rights reserved. 

How do you do everything from your boat?
Mark: What we're doing now couldn't have been done ten years ago - or even five years ago. We remember the cruising days before cell phones and WiFi.  Now we're pretty much "always on" with two smartphones on our hips, two different telco internet accounts (for back up) and a WiFi booster.  If you see our PDQ power cat, with its blue-and-white logo, your'e seeing "corporate headquarters."  It's just Diana and me, no bricks and mortar and no employees.  

Production central: An iMac 27 with all of the trimmings. ©  Mark S. Doyle.  All rights reserved.

I've got to ask, how do you two live and work together all the time?
Diana:  I often point out that Mark and I work as a team, we don't work together.  We typically work separately, on our own components, and then bring them together.  We do all of our own digital surveying, geo-tagged photography, and desktop publishing, using Mark's background in high-tech and my background in research, writing, editing, and data management.  Our very different but complementary interests and backgrounds are what make it work.  

Mark:  Yes, that and a catamaran has two hulls! (smiles). 

Is there anything else you're working on besides the cruising and anchoring guides?  
Diana:  We're also involved in many public service projects, either related to boating (Mark) or birding (me).  For example, I'm currently the Tools of the Trade department editor for American Birding Association's Birding Magazine.  I'm also a regular contributor for other birding magazines and I've started a seabird conservation projects (Sea BC - Sea Bird Count).  I also maintain a page where boaters can share their nature sightings   ( 

What do you like best about your life on the water? 
Diana: Things are always changing on a boat, so that means what you experience is different from hour to hour, day to day, week to week.  Probably the most fun is that we get to experience, nature, history, and people in a variety of interesting places in a firsthand and daily way.  We especially love coming back to favorite places and being semi-locals with cruising community friends.  

Fellow cruiser in a beautiful fall anchorage. ©  Mark S. Doyle.  All rights reserved.

How long have you been coming to AYB? 
Mark:  I came to AYB in 1987, on my first southbound trip on the ICW. I'm pretty sure it was the 24-hour fuel dock that lured me in that first time and all the times afterward!  And last summer, Diana and I chose AYB as our base-camp to finish our new ICW AnchorGuide series.  It was the perfect location, with AYB's covered slips, quiet setting, WiFi and with so many convenient services nearby. This season we chose AYB for our biannual maintenance haul-out based on what we saw then.  Truth is, if you live in a marina for two months you see who they really are.The marketing arm wave fades and you see 40 to 50 boats move through the yard getting different jobs done.  We really liked what we saw.  AYB employs long-term craftsmen, not trainees who consistently move through. This yard has  a well-deserved reputation for excellent work and outstanding customer service.  

What is your next dream destination?  
Diana: We still have so many places we'd like to go:  Nova Scotia, Cuba ... But this winter, we'll probably spend most of our time in the Florida Keys, where we're planning to do the backcountry route to Key West.  Gotta love a two-foot draft! 

Meet Our Crew

Every e-newsletter, we highlight the interesting and highly experienced people who make Atlantic Yacht Basin the unique place that it is.  This time we're talking to our entire team of Dockmasters who keep things running 24/7 at AYB.   Featured here are Damian Brown, Timothy Bullard,  Edd Malone, and Sebastian Ranno, who together form an important crew that is one of the backbones of our operations at AYB.  

Edd Malone guides a boat into the fuel dock on Channel 16.  © 2013 - Atlantic Yacht Basin.  All Rights Reserved.

What does a Dockmaster do at AYB?  
All: We are the front line in terms of managing traffic in and out of the Yard and on the docks as well as providing fuel for people -- whether they are coming in for a while or just stopping by.  AYB is staffed every day of the year including Christmas.  We rotate in shifts to provide that constant coverage of the storage sheds and docks as well as the grounds on a 24/7 basis. So getting us together in one place is hard, because you usually only see the guy you are coming in to replace or that is coming in to replace you.  

Our schedule is variable too -- so like most shift work, every day is different based on what time frame you are working. Our sleep rhythms can sometimes get knocked off.  That is probably the hardest part of the job to which we have to acclimate ourselves.   It can get pretty quiet at night in the off-season and pretty wild when we are busy,  but there is always something to do or see here at AYB no matter what time of day or year it is. 

We also communicate with individual boats as well as the nearby Bridge to help steer people to the right spots even if they are not coming in and out of AYB.  We're jacks-of-all-trades, information sources, and friendly faces who can help you get fuel and provision on the go or much more involved services any time of day, any day of the year. 

Where are you from?  Where did you get your start with boats and AYB?  
Tim:  I am a Great Bridge local.  I found out about AYB through a friend and came on relatively inexperienced.  I was immediately struck by the atmosphere of the place -- its history, the way the crew works together and the rhythm of life on the Yard.  It was a bit of a crash course at first, but I was hooked immediately.  I've been here for 3 years now and it has been great.  
(Left) Damian Brown enjoys hunting and fishing in his native Currituck County, NC. (Right) A young Damian proudly shows off his catch.  © 2013 Damian Brown.  All Rights Reserved.

Damian: I've been on boats my whole life, hunting, fishing and moving around the inlets and bays of this coastal area.  I live with my wife and kids (8 and 5) in and commute from Currituck County, NC, not too far from the Outer Banks.  AYB was right up my alley from the start.  A friend of mine worked as a Dockmaster here and I came to visit - then applied when a spot became available.  I started off in construction with my dad, but that industry has had some big ups and downs in recent years. Coming to AYB over 2 years ago made a lot of sense for me on a number of levels. 

Edd I was looking for a full-time opportunity when a friend told me about AYB.  After spending my childhood as an Army Brat and then a good chunk of time in Georgia as an adult, I ended up in Tidewater.  I have spent plenty of time in small boats, but nothing could have prepared me for the quantity and quality of luxury and classic yachts we see every day here.  

Sebastian: i am also a local and grew up boating with my dad.  I still live nearby with my wife and two kids (ages 9 and 6).  I knew AYB was here, but didn't really know how interesting it was until I came on as a Dockmaster.  My wife and I had owned a pool construction and service company, but decided to sell it, so I came to AYB two years ago.  It is  good to be part of a business like this one that has been here for such a long time.  

What do you like best about being a Dockmaster? 
Damian: It's really good to come to work every day and do something that you think is interesting in a place that you think is interesting.  It's also fun to interact with the customers and see what kind of boats are headed our way.  I especially love the classics, like Trumpys, with all that great varnished wood and detail. 

Tim: I like working directly with all the captains and owners that come through as well as our in-house crew.  You have such a unique opportunity to see or learn something new every day.  It is also great to have your office be this beautiful spot on the Waterway!

Edd: Things are always different and you never know who are what is going to show up on the dock.  Working with good people in a pretty spot is also not overrated.  AYB has a lot of things going for it.  
Watching the boat parade go by at bridge opening on the ICW, Sebastian Ranno awaits a regular customer's arrival..  © 2013 - Atlantic Yacht Basin.  All Rights Reserved.

Sebastian: Chances are that the Dockmaster is the first and the last person you see on your way in and out of AYB. Working with people is one of my strengths and I like being part of their experience when they come here.  It's also great to see the different boats that show up on our docks.  I am partial to the powerboats and speedboats in particular.  Working right on the water is also a huge bonus for me.

What is the funniest or most interesting thing you have seen at AYB or on the Waterway in your time here?  
Tim: We once had a guy come through who was in a dinky sailboat with multiple dinghies towing another sailboat with even more dinghies trying to bring along yet another boat in tow -- all while using a tiny, low-horsepower motor.  He was sort of a mobile junkyard on the water and it is miraculous that he was still afloat!

Damian: A dock that is open 24/7 on a major waterway is going to attract every kind of customer and boat imaginable.  We get the incredible luxury yachts, the one-of-a-kind classics and the eccentrics on vessels you can't imagine are seaworthy -- sometimes all at once.   People come in costume at Halloween and decorate their boats for the holiday season.  We also get as many funny pets through here as people.  On some boats, the pets outnumber the people!

Edd: I am always blown away by the people who show up on incredibly expensive new boats and don't really know what they are doing.  Or the very experienced captains from all walks of life who couldn't care less about extras, because they love the simple life on the water.  We literally get every kind of person through here -- from CEO-types and 
multi-millionaires to people of more modest backgrounds, from adventurers and explorers to full-time cruisers and casual weekend warriors.  One thing we have learned is to never judge a book, a boat, or a captain by their cover!

Sebastian:  A good Dockmaster never tells!  Just kidding!  We see everything -- from serious working boats and industrial rigs passing by to tiny boats with equally tiny outboards to yachts and cruising boats that have all the amenities of home.   We see a lot of birds and, occasionally, other wildlife out here -- particularly in the early morning and evening hours.  That is always a nice aspect of the day.

What do you do in your off-time when you are not at AYB?  

Tim Bullard is caught in a rare still moment while on Dockmaster duty..  © 2013 - Atlantic Yacht Basin.  All Rights Reserved.

Tim: I just finished renovating the house that I bought and basically gutted and re-did from scratch.  It was really satisfying to do that work and I picked up some interesting ideas from the crew here - particularly Brett and the Carpenter's Shop.  My smartphone helped me a lot too, because I was able to Google how to do things on the spot or while in the store shopping for materials.  D-I-Y is a lot easier in the digital age!  I also do mission work with my church and travel to different places around the world to help with projects that feed or shelter people in need.  The latest one was in Africa and was a really incredible experience. 

Damian:  I love being out on the water or at the beach fishing.  Where I live, we probably spend more time in small boats than we do in vehicles!  Hunting is also a favorite activity of mine, so fall is a really fun time for me to be out in the woods too.  I also like doing building projects and have learned Give here (like Tim said) from the Carpentry crew in particular.  Everything in regular construction is right angles and straight lines, but not in boat carpentry.  There is so much customizing and working with unique bends and shapes - it's really interesting and challenging. Watertight joints become a whole lot more important too!

Edd:  If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I might have had a more exciting answer.  Seriously though, I do a lot of things with my church and hang out from time to time with friends.  Mostly though, I like relaxing, watching sports, and catching up on my sleep.  It's really important with the changing shift schedule we keep!

Tips from AYB - Keeping Safe While Boating in Fall's Cooler Weather & Colder Water

Preparing in advance for better boating safety as the weather and water get colder can be a matter of life and death.  © 2013 - Boating Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.

Fall is a great time to be out on the water.  The colder the weather and water gets, though, the more important it is to be prepared.   Hypothermia can actually happen in warmer water too if you are immersed long enough.  But colder water is even more dangerous to fall into, often causing that involuntary gasp as the shock hits your lungs and body.  These conditions in the event of someone going overboard or other emergency can cause even the most experienced boater and swimmer to black out or start to drown long before help can arrive.  

Here are some quick tips from the U.S. Coast Guard about staying safe while boating in cooler weather and on colder waters. 
  1. Invest in a flotation suit or float coat - Then make sure you wear it.  A traditional life jacket is not adequate in cooler temps.  You want to increase your likelihood of survival in all scenarios.  The colder the weather/water, also consider them for your guests.
  2. File a float plan - Let responsible friends or family members know where you are going and when you plan to return.  likelihood likelihood as to when they should contact authorities if you fail to come back as planned. Click here for a float plan template.
  3. Check the weather before you go and constantly reevaluate conditions while you are out - You can be prepared on every other front, but the weather conditions are always a wild card.  Remember that storms can crop up quickly in cooler weather and the risk can be much higher as a result.   When in doubt, don't go out.  And if things look like they are turning while you are out on the water, head back to port as soon as you can.
  4. Avoid boating alone and under the influence of drugs or alcohol - While boating alone is not recommended at any time of year, it becomes especially dangerous once the mercury drops.  Being impaired when you boat is dangerous any time of year, but it is particularly so in cooler weather.  Remember that prescription meds and cold remedies can also affect you adversely.
  5. Make sure to have the right communications and safety equipment on hand - Build redundancy into your boating setup so that if one thing fails, you have a back up.  Consider a beacon as part of that essential kit and confirm that everything is working properly before you go out.
  6. Dress properly for the water temperature, not just the air temperature - Remembering that you could go overboard, layer clothes in fabrics that wick moisture away from the body and that won't become too heavy when wet is the best way to dress.  A waterproof out layer and hat are also both recommended.
  7. Make sure that everyone on the boat knows where the safety equipment is and what to do if they or someone else go overboard - Quickly review the H.E.L.P. and huddling position drills for going overboard, point out where the rescue equipment is, and show them how to operate your communications gear.  Minimizing time in the water  increases survival likelihood drastically, so confirming that everyone with you knows how to do that is key.
  8. Refresh your boating safety knowledge with periodic courses - Experienced boaters know that keeping updated on the latest techniques, tips and equipment for staying safe and handling emergencies aboard is a sign that they really know what they are doing.  The Coast Guard recommends that no one go more than 5 years without additional training on safety.

Calendar of Events

Boating & Nautical Events 

Hampton Snowbirds Rendezvous
October 18-20, 2013
Hampton, VA 
Join us for the Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous in beautiful downtown Hampton, Virginia.  
Enjoy cruising-related educational seminars, great food, entertainment, and so much more!
Saturday, October 12th 10 AM - 5 PM 
Sunday, October 13th Noon - 5 PM
Great Bridge Waterfront, Chesapeake, VA 
Enjoy free boat tours through the Great Bridge Locks, free docent tours of newly opened Battlefield Park, demonstrations on a Chesapeake Fire Department Fire Engine and Fire Boat, beekeeping, sheep shearing, quilting, spinning, soap making, candle-rolling, doll making, pottery, glassblowing, wood-carving, jewelry, jams, basketry, 
shaker boxes, storytelling, kettle corn, historic Batteaus Rose of Nelson and The Lady's Slipper, BBQ box lunches, photography, fine art, sewing, dulcimer expert Bert Berry, spinning, lamb cuisine featured by local Chef Wayne from Julianne's, knitting, fiber arts, and Charles Murla on the violin, Oscar Smith High School's ìStrolling Strings, 
and the amazing Bob Zentz.

Saturday, October 19th (see times below)
Newport News, VA 
Arghh Matey! Join us for the 2013 Pirate Run ñ our annual 10K on the Noland Trail and 5K in the Park. This is the only 10K race on The Noland Trail and features an after-race party with live music, food and refreshing beverages. New this year ñ Chip Timing, Kids Fun Run and Pirate costume contest!  10K on the Noland Trail starts at 8:45 a.m. This is the ONLY 10K on the Noland Trail and the course will follow along Museum Drive and into the Park trail.  5K in the Park starts at 9:15 a.m.  Runners/Walkers will follow a route along Museum Drive and into other areas of the Park.

Other Events 

Saturday, September 21, 2013
Noon - 8 p.m. 
Town Park Park, Downtown Norfolk, VA

New this year to the Norfolk Festevents 2013 lineup is the RibtoberFest.  The inaugural RibtoberFest will have the best of both worlds as Beer & BBQ collide in one deliciously mouth-watering food-for-all, featuring finger-sampling39; good BBQ, fabulously frosty craft brews, live music, restaurant competitions, and great family fun on Saturday, September 21, 2013 from Noon-8pm in Town Point Park.  Ribtoberfest is free and open to the public and promises to be a Grade A good time!

Kiwanis Harbor Party Seafood Feast
Thursday, October 10, 2013
4:30 - 7:30 p.m. 
Town Point Park, Downtown Norfolk, VA

Help the Kiwanis Club of Norfolk and Old Point National Bank raise their next million for children's charities.  Partnering with the Virginia Seafood Council, this year's feast will feature thousands of all-you can-eat fresh clams, oysters, crab cakes, scallops, fish and the famous Harbor Party Clam Chowder.  So on October 10, join your friends, family, clients, co-workers and out-of-town guests on the waterfront and meet candidates in the contests for statewide and local offices too.  For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Saturday, October 19 & Sunday, October 20, 2013
11 am - 6 pm daily 
Town Point Park, Downtown Norfolk, VA

Ticketed admission lets Festival guests enjoy the company of friends and family along the Elizabeth River for a weekend-long harvest of Virginia wines in Town Point Par.  Each day offers premier wine vintages and live musical performances in addition to gourmet foods and specialty wares.  All wines presented during the festival are available for purchase by the bottle or the case until 5 pm.  Wine sampling ends at 4:30 pm.  For more information or to purchase tickets, click here

Norfolk Freedom Marathon Events
Saturday, November 9, 2013 - Wounded Warrior 5k & Kids Freedom Mile 
Sunday, November 10, 2013 - Full & Half Marathon
Times vary by event
Town Point Park & City Streets, Norfolk, VA 

Run whatever distance you prefer or just come out and cheer the runners on -- there's something for everyone during this great weekend of races!  Courses, times and other information vary by event .  For more information, click here

Grand Illumination Parade
Saturday, November 23, 2013
7:00 p.m. 
Downtown Norfolk, VA 

There is no better place to spend the holidays than "In the City."  In Hampton Roads, "the City" is Downtown Norfolk and City Towne Portsmouth.  Bursting on the holiday scene will be the 29th Annual Grand Illumination Parade, kicking off the season of events and lighting the nearby skyline for a calendar filled with holiday traditions.   For more information about the Parade and the other Holiday in the City Events, click here.

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