Southport Boats Welcomes the Lauderdale Marina to Dealer Network

Southport Boats (www.southportboats.com), a division of Maritime Marine Group, LLC, is pleased to announce the appointment of the Lauderdale Marina as a premier dealer for the State of Florida as well as the Bahamas and the Caribbean Islands.  The Lauderdale Marina facility is located at 1900 S.E. 15th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (www.lauderdalemarina.com / (954)523-8507).   Lauderdale Marina is the latest dealer to join Southport Boats since the new ownership began manufacturing operations at the Augusta, Maine facility.

Founded in 1948, the Lauderdale Marina is a full service dealership located on a 4-acre point lot along the Intracoastal Waterway just minutes from Port Everglades and has represented more than 60 different boat brands over the years.  “We’ve always looked to partner with the highest quality boat brands in the business,” says Vice President & General Manager, Scott Clark. “With Southport Boats and their new owners, we feel confident that we’ve found the right combination of quality and performance, as well as a strong desire to develop a close working relationship between manufacturer and dealer.  We’re eager to get people to experience some of the best performing boats in their class and very excited to represent Southport Boats in South Florida and the Caribbean.”

When asked about the newest dealer of the Southport network, Southport President Ian Kopp stated, “We are pleased to work with such a high quality dealer, one who is so highly respected as one of South Florida’s oldest family owned/operated marinas.  Their reputation for impeccable service coupled with their ability to cater to clients wishing to customize their boats is exceptional.  Lauderdale Marina has over six decades of experience in outfitting customers who are looking for the exceptional fit and finish and legendary performance that Southport consumers have come to expect.”

Furthermore, Southport’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Peter Galvin added, “The response to the new Southport has been exceptional and with the great experience in sales that Lauderdale Marina offers, prospective owners will be able to customize their Southport with ease when looking at helm seating, custom rails, or various T-top configurations.   In addition, existing Southport owners in South Florida will be able to count on the superior service that Lauderdale Marina offers.”   

Discussing how Southport is differentiating itself in the offshore center console marketplace, Kopp comments on the experience the group has building semi-custom boats:  “Where the prior Southport and other boat builders tended toward a “one size fits all” production mentality, the Maine-based Southport caters to consumers looking for a semi-custom production boat, which makes us very different from our competitors in this market segment.  While the standard Southport models do not leave much to be desired, we offer additional features to meet the desires of exacting owners, including everything from wood accents, teak flooring, custom helm seating, to upgraded t-tops and much more.  Customers looking for exceptional Hunt4 design performance finished in a yacht-like manner will be thrilled with what they find on a Southport.”

Both continental US dealer inquiries and overseas inquiries should be directed to Tom Johnson (tom@southportboats.com).

BACKGROUND OF SOUTHPORT BOATS:

In 2003, a team of experienced boat builders, passionate fishermen and offshore racing enthusiasts joined forces with the legendary C. Raymond Hunt Associates to develop a unique and revolutionary new boat design focused on maximizing the power and performance available from new modern outboards. The first Southport was launched.

Southport’s exclusive Hunt4 design® hull was developed to utilize the weight of modern twin power outboards to provide a soft, dry ride, stable platform, and easy handling. The unique design of the hull allows the boat to jump up on plane without bow rise, delivers a surprisingly agile ride, and turns on a dime. Ask a Southport owner about the ride of their boat and you will hear repeated praise about its balance, responsiveness and superb handling – often summarized as “Simply Amazing”.  

C. Raymond Hunt Associates created the legendary Southport hull.  Continuously-variable deep vee hulls maximize the sharpness of the entry while retaining stability at trolling speeds and at rest.  The secret is actually designing around the new outboards, allowing Southport boats to have both more beam and deeper vees than competitive models.  This combination results in a dry, stable platform with sharp entry and ultra-smooth ride.  Best of all, a Southport has a wide range of cruising speeds instead of the more typical all-or-nothing speeds from the competition.

The Southport design is not bound by conventional outboard boat-building thinking.  In a Southport, you’ll find electrical systems designed in a yacht-like manner, scuppers that evacuate green water like a custom sport fish, structure learned from attacking six foot seas at three figure velocities, rugged offshore T-tops and subtle comfort throughout the interior, all this with lines that reflect some of the most beautiful products afloat.

Perhaps the most important element of a Southport’s design is passion.  And it is this passion that Southport has found once again as it moves to Maine where the heritage of boatbuilding craftsmanship and excellence is as long as the rugged coast line.  In 2011, Southport Boats became part of the Maritime Marine Group, LLC located in Augusta, Maine, where a team of experienced Maine boat builders ensures that the construction of every boat matches the outstanding performance of the hull design.  Not only are Southport boats constructed with the highest quality gel coats, adhesives and composite materials, but now they are being built using modern vacuum infusion technology which provides a stronger higher quality product that makes a great boat even better. 

Great boats demand great talent, great materials and a passion for excellence that creates an extraordinary ownership experience.  Come visit the new Southport (www.southportboats.com), the perfect blend of the old and the new.

BACKGROUND OF LAUDERDALE MARINA:

Celebrating its 63rd year in business, the Lauderdale Marina, located along the Intracoastal Waterway just north of Port Everglades is, according to founder Robert Cox, the oldest single-owner marina business in south Florida.

In 1948, the site of the marina was an abandoned highly secret research station for submarine torpedoes of World War II.  It was so far “out of town” that the police pistol firing range was on the same dirt road, SE 15th Street, at what is now Cordova Road.  Lauderdale Harbors and many of the other undeveloped islands were simply tree covered and sometimes swampy leftovers from the great 1926 Florida real estate crash. 

Cox, making a permanent move from New York to Fort Lauderdale, arrived in Port Everglades in 1946 on a deep draft motor sailor. He was astonished to find that there was no place where the water was deep enough to dock his 9′ draft boat, the only commercial dockage being a small obsolete marina on the causeway which is now the Las Olas bridge connection to the beach. Huss Marina was on its last legs, had a shallow depth of water, red-tagged condemned wiring, and a single metal shower stall installed, it is said, by one of the boat owners for the price of a bottle of good whiskey.

The semi-abandoned Navy torpedo research station was the only spot with enough depth to accommodate Cox’s vessel, but could not be used because the government had not relinquished its prewar lease on the property. Cox, however, seeking not only a dock but recognizing that the miles of empty Fort Lauderdale waterways would someday be lined with homes and boats, all of which would have to pass the torpedo station on their way to the ocean or up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, negotiated with the owners of the land and in 1948 opened Lauderdale Marina as a fueling station.

“How well I remember that day we opened,” says Cox, “We sold 48 gallons of gas to a customer who not only filled his small boat’s tank but also a bunch of 5 gallon cans. Asked why he filled the cans, too, the customer said he was tired of carrying fuel from a highway gas station and, from the looks of the marinas early dock, wasn’t sure how long we would be in business.”

From the marina site there was no evidence of the existence of the City of Fort Lauderdale, no buildings on the horizon, no building at all in what is now Harbor Beach and of course no 17th Street Causeway Bridge. Cruising boats often stopped to ask “how far is Fort Lauderdale”, and found it hard to believe that they could fill their water tanks with city water via a small pipe about a half mile long installed by the Navy.

Current yachtsmen find it hard to believe that the many islands and peninsulas that make up the city were not built for boats. The canals were dredged to provide enough fill to make the swampy east side of Fort Lauderdale into saleable real estate. To prove this to non-believers who question Cox’s sanity, he shows them aerial photographs showing low bridges built across the ends of the canals to provide for automobile circulation from one island to the next. The Lauderdale Marina has grown with the city. Now one of the major fuel docks on the Intracoastal Waterway, the marina provides dockage, boat sales, parts and repair services, and in its 59th year took over the operation of its well known restaurant, the 15th Street Fisheries, which had been operating for more than 20 years by one of their tenants.

Cox, an engineer by training, fascinated by the new boat building material called fiberglass, opened the first sales agency for such boats in the State of Florida in 1949.  Today they hold a rare “master dealer certification” for one of the country’s most famous brands of boats, Boston Whaler.  Nowadays, the operation of the marina complex is guided by three generations, all in the Cox Family. The President of the Lauderdale Marina is Cox’s son-in-law, Ted Drum. Grandsons Scott Clark and Will Clark oversee the dealership, fuel dock and boat slips. Their properties, which include, besides the marina, other marine oriented tenants and the 15th Street Fisheries restaurant, are managed by Ted as well, who also happens to be a well known second generation Fort Lauderdale family owned and operated Realtor.           

The fuel dock at Lauderdale Marina continues to thrive today and provides much needed services to the South Florida boating community. Lauderdale Marina is indeed a landmark along the Intracoastal Waterway, just minutes from the inlet to the Atlantic Ocean at Port Everglades. 

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