Facilities for servicing yachts in the Caribbean took a giant leap forward this year. Subbase Drydock, located on the western side of Charlotte Amalie Harbor on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, has added to its impressive facilities, enabling recreational and commercial megayachts, motoryachts and large catamarans to undergo much needed or emergency work without having to travel all the way to southern Florida.
First, the nearly three-decade-old family owned and operated business added another section to its 1000-ton drydock, bringing the overall length with aprons up to 170ft. This has increased the working range of the drydock, which can now handle vessels with a draft of sixteen-and-a-half feet, a beam of 50ft and length of 170ft.
Secondly, Subbase Drydock replaced its 20-year-old 300-ton drydock with a brand new 450-ton dock that was launched in June this year. This dock can handle vessels with 12ft draft, 45ft beam, and a length of 120ft. With the 45ft beam, versus the 38ft beam of the old dock, the company can now handle most large catamarans.
“This new drydock will be able to handle most of the larger cats, not to mention all the other vessels we service,” says owner, Gene Kral, Sr. “The old drydock was built for us 20 years ago by Conrad Industries and went through two major hurricanes. Designs have improved since then. Plus, the paints used to preserve steel have improved over the years.”
The new 450-ton drydock was built in-house out of 275 long tons of steel.
“The dock was designed by Sterling Marine Inc., in Florida, the same as the large drydock, but we built it all with in-house labor. It took us 203 days from laying out the plans to launch,” Kral explains. “We saved approximately $500,000 in shipping, plus another $500,000 in labor, with our cost coming in around $1.8 million. I think this project was one of the largest marine builds in St Thomas for at least the past 100 years.”
In addition to the two drydocks, Subbase Drydock has a 100ft crane and offers a complete machine shop that can fabricate shafts up to12-inches in diameter and 28ft in length. Other services include plasma cutting capabilities, fiberglass repairs, painting and the largest inventory of stainless steel and aluminum in the Caribbean. Rigging, engine and sail loft services are also available.