Whether a client is buying or selling, upgrading or repairing, Tim Nichols and his staff at Bearing Marine have developed a business that can address any aspect of yacht brokerage and service. Nichols, the operations manager at Bearing Marine, segued into the yacht sales and service business after serving in the United States Coast Guard Station of Wrightsville Beach.
“I’ve been working on and around boats for a long time, so this business is pretty much a lifelong thing for me,” Nichols said.
What sets Bearing Marine apart from other yacht brokerage and service companies, Nichols said, is its unique set of employees and services.
“We can do work on the yacht before the owner puts it up for sale, we sell them, and we can do upgrades to the yachts for the new owners,” Nichols said. “This is different for a lot of other companies because most are either service or brokerage, not both.”
To help draw more attention to the company, Bearing Marine opened a new brokerage office on Airlie Road, directly on the Intracoastal Waterway.
“I always had customers from Wrightsville Beach when we were located at Carolina Beach, but when we saw this location open up we jumped on it because of the visibility and exposure this location offers,” Nichols said.
On the service side, Bearing Marine’s specialty is the installation of marine air conditioning units and refrigeration. Nichols said that both he and service manager, Jim Ligon are technicians certified by the American Boat and Yacht Council. Ligon recently received his master technician certification from the ABYC, making him one of only nine in the state and the only one in Wilmington. In addition, Nichols is also one of only 12 people in the state that have completed the National Yacht Broker Certification Program.
“With both myself and Jim being certified by the ABYC and my broker certification, I think it gives our clients a lot of confidence that we can provide qualified service both before and after the sale of a boat,” Nichols said. “We feel that is the right way to do it.”
Nichols said that Bearing Marine currently has around 20 yachts for sale, ranging in price from $20,000 to $300,000 or more, and that he recently negotiated the sale of boats to buyers as far away as Australia and Turkey. For first-time yacht owners located closer to Wilmington, Nichols added that Bearing Marine also provides after-sale training on the management and operation of the yachts.
“Insurance agents do require certifications to drive the yachts on the larger end, but often the new first-time owners just want to be sure they are comfortable handling and maintaining them,” Nichols said.