Vendors We Love – Key West
One thing every boater learns over time is that it can be difficult to find reliable resources for the seemingly endless work that needs attending to on a boat. We have also learned that nothing beats a personal recommendation. Despite the thousands of boats that pass through Key West each year, there’s a surprisingly limited number of quality service providers. Our needs during our stays in Key West have been relatively simple but we’ve been fortunate to connect with a few terrific vendors who have done very well by us. As always, these recommendations are based on our experience and perhaps they will help you make an informed decision about some work you may be contemplating. We received no compensation for any of these mentions but please do tell them you heard about them from the crew on OLOH if you reach out.
Diving Services – Jason Walsh/Bottoms & Props
There’s no shortage of work for good divers in Key West. When we settled into our slip during our first stay we were thrilled to connect with Jason Walsh who is based at Stock Island Marina Village and dives on behalf of Bottoms & Props which provides service throughout the Florida Keys. Simply put, Jason is awesome. He’s excellent at what he does in addition to being extremely knowledgable about boats and their bottoms and is just an all around great guy. He cleans OLOH’s bottom regularly when we’re in town, changes our zincs when necessary and has pulled and replaced one of our 150-pound props (which was expertly repaired in Bottoms & Props’ prop shop.
Mechanical Services – Key West Engine
Key West Engine has the distinct advantage of being located right next to the Stock Island Marina Village property so when we were looking for a recommendation to have some basic engine and generator maintenance done we were pleased to hear only good things about them. They have been in business working out of the same location for a very long time and John, the owner, clearly has a high standard for who represents his business out in the field. They have twice serviced all of the fluids and filters on our engines, generator, and transmissions in addition to replacing our generator water pump and engine impellers. The techs who worked on OLOH were friendly, very knowledgeable and informative and all of the work was done well, neatly and at what we feel was a proper rate. And Celeste who keeps the ship on course from the front desk is always very helpful. Can’t really ask for more than that.
We initially connected with Deborah when we first arrived in Key West as she was recommended for some canvas work we wanted to commission. Deborah is exceptionally talented and did a fantastic job creating the new pieces of canvas we needed (which were not uncomplicated). Her artist’s eye and warm, engaging energy made it a pleasure to work with her. She and her husband Tom quickly became two of our favorite people here. To get a small sense of what Tom does you really need to visit his website. His woodworking is simply extraordinary and the boats he builds are exceptional works of art. Lathe turned bowls and wooden yo-yos adorn his shop on Overseas Highway on Stock Island and if you can imagine it, Tom can likely make it. Even if you need nothing, a visit to his shop will provide an extraordinary experience as you enjoy the work of this master who performs a lost art. Key West has long been a draw for incredibly gifted artists and Deborah and Tom represent the essence of that tradition – in addition to being two exceptional individuals we are proud to call friends.
Marine Air Conditioning and Refrigeration – Captain Kidd
We’re fairly certain Captain Kidd is a pirate (a good pirate to be sure). He loves what he does and is an expert at what he does. From minor A/C repairs to full installations, Kidd can handle it and, from our experience, will be fair about it. He takes his time explaining how things work, whether while on the job or when asking him a question as you pass on the docks. A stand-up guy and a true pro.
A Little Bit Of Everything – Mobile Marine Repair Services
We were in a bind. Christmas was upon us, a boatload of guests were on their way to stay with us and our VIP stateroom air conditioning unit stopped working (that seems to be how these things always happen). Our first call was to Captain Kidd (see above) as we had worked with him in the past. Unfortunately, he was on one of the few vacations he takes each year. We were all but certain that there was no way we’d be able to get someone over to the boat in short order, particularly right at the holiday. On Kidd’s recommendation and on the suggestion of others at the marina we called Matt Graf of Mobile Marine Repair Services. He responded right away and had someone on the boat to get the job done the very next morning at a fair price. We’ve used them since and had another very positive experience. They are easy to recommend.