An even higher level of service and even greater efficiency in yard work are a few of the priorities of Curaçao Marine’s new owners. Sold earlier this year, Curaçao Marine, which is located at the Willemstad harbor, is one of the largest yacht service centers, haul-out facilities and boatyards in the Southern Caribbean. The new leadership team, managing director Marc Rooijakkers and yard manager Gareth Weber, have set out to grow the business.
“We are implementing and investing in many different aspects of the business and these improvements will all directly or indirectly benefit the customer experience,” says Rooijakkers, an Aruban native with a mechanical engineering degree. Rooijakkers is a third-generation sailor, who at 14 years of age bought his first fixer upper, a Dutch Zeeton 24, designed by Van der Stadt, completely renovated it and sailed it competitively with his brother. “We have undertaken many actions right away; which include smaller investments, such as installing a VHF, to bigger long-term investments, such as outsourcing security to a professional company and placing 18 new cameras. A few of the bigger plans are building onsite accommodation and reinforcing the asphalted terrain for heavier yachts.”
Weber, a Curaçao native who was approached by Rooijakkers and Curaçao Marine’s new owner with an offer he couldn’t refuse, has sailed for over 20 years and for the past five also volunteered as a captain for local rescue organization, CITRO.
“My responsibility is to make sure everything runs smoothly in the yard and that our customers continue their sailing journey as happy sailors. All planned work should be carried out effectively. This includes working with a capable crew; which means training, guiding, and motivating our crew to deliver quality work. Besides planning and managing the crew, maintenance is also key. It is important to make sure that our equipment and machinery is in optimum condition and is ready to go,” says Weber.
There are several benefits to Curaçao as a marine destination. Its strategic location is outside the hurricane belt, meaning it a safer station for long term storage. For boats heading to Central America, the Panama Canal and the Pacific, the island provides a convenient stop-over for last minute provisioning and repairs. The many flight connections through the island’s international airport benefits transport of both passengers and products. Curaçao Marine is currently working to provide duty-free shopping as an added service to its customers in transit. What’s more, there are a number of events and activities happening on the island throughout the year.
“Our young and experienced team believes that Curaçao has the potential to become one of the prominent players in the Caribbean leisure yachting and boating industries,” Rooijakkers adds.