May 25th, 2018

Your Boat Deserves the Best!

Grande Dunes Marina wins Readers’ Choice Awards

It’s official. The Grande Dunes Marina has been named the best marina in the Myrtle Beach Herald’s Readers’ Choice Awards. The one thing that really sets the Marina apart from its competition is the higher level of service. “Our whole approach is to go above and beyond, says Harbormaster and Marina Manager Jason Poe. “My first question is always ‘How can I make your day better?’”

Many visitors, very different needs

Jason, manager at the Grande Dunes Marina for eight years, notes that several types of boaters visit throughout the year. The first would be the transient customers. These are the folks who travel up and down the East Coast in their large boats, some over 120 feet long. Naturally, they head north in the summer and south in the winter (think Florida or the Bahamas). They plan their trips well in advance, and the Grande Dunes Marina is always a preferred stopping point.
“When these folks get here, they want to unwind, relax and rest,” Jason notes. They often stay for a few days and are eager to experience some of the sights and sounds of the Grand Strand before disembarking on their next adventure. Jason and his staff provide water, cable, power and pump-out services while they’re here, and the Marina even provides a courtesy vehicle to take them food shopping and to the drug store. “We’re with them every step of the way. That’s what separates us from other marinas.”

The local crowd puts a premium on promptness

“Local customers are the easiest customers,” Jason explains. “They want fast service so they can get back on the water.” So these visitors to the Marina stock up on the essentials: ice, drinks, and fuel. If they do slow down, it’s to enjoy lunch or dinner at the Anchor Café—then it’s back to the water. Because the local crowd is here every day of the week (and especially on weekends), Jason gears his operation to their needs. That includes being flexible with closing time. “If they come in and say they need fuel, we’ll stay here until the last boat is done for the day.” Since the average ocean-going vessel can easily take on 500 gallons of fuel, it’s an investment of time. “But it’s worth it,” Jason says. “It’s how we create a good reputation with our customers.”

Resident boaters help keep the Marina shipshape

Grande Dunes Marina at DuskGrande Dune residents with a ship in their slip are always at the Marina, working on their boats, washing them, puttering around, or just visiting with other boaters. “We see them throughout the day, and they provide the most valuable feedback. They definitely keep us ‘shipshape,'” smiles Jason. Many people may not realize it, but the Marina has 126 slips and can accommodate 155 boats at any one time. That is a lot of boats, and Jason and his staff are most likely to see that kind of crowd on the 4th of July.

“It’s one stressful, hot, long day,” he admits. Boaters take advantage of a full day on the water and then return at dusk to travel up and down the Grand Strand in search of the many ubiquitous fireworks displays in our area. “But again, we know it’s coming, and we’re ready for it. It’s all part of our commitment to service.”

Going above and beyond

Throughout his years as harbormaster, Jason has occasionally had to go above and beyond his normal duties to help out a boater in trouble. This includes calling EMS to rescue a man stranded on the rocks due to low tide. During severe weather and hurricanes, Jason and his crew may be pumping out bilges, retrieving boats that float off their lifts, or ensuring boats are securely tied to ride out the storm. It can be crazy at times, but as Jason likes to say, “A bad day on the water is still better than a good day at work.” With Jason and staff around to provide a higher level of service, most boaters would eagerly agree.

Want to know more? Click here to see photos and learn more about the best Marina on the Grand Strand.