ABBRA hands out annual awards


The American Boat Builders & Repairers Association handed out awards and honors during a dinner at the Jan. 21-23 Boatyard Business Conference in Fort Lauderdale.

Whiticar Boat Works of Stuart, Fla., was named 2015 Boatyard of the Year.

“Whiticar employs a wonderful array of talented professionals and the company relies on the old-fashioned pride they take in a job well done,” ABBRA president John Fitzgerald said in a statement. “However, lest you think they are a relic of past success, their Web presence features two Facebook pages, a Twitter feed, You Tube videos and a blog! They are a wonderful example of the great tradition of ABBRA boatyards with a storied past and a determination to service their customers into a bright future.”

The recipient of the Dennis Snow President’s Award, which is given for significant contributions to the boatyard and marine service and repair industry, was John Hall Jr., owner and president of the Frank Hall Boatyard in Westerly, R.I.

“John represents the third generation of his family to own the Avondale/Westerly, Rhode Island, yard,” Fitzgerald said in a separate statement. “His company is well respected in the community, with reviews that describe the staff at Frank Hall Boatyard as great and characterize it as a very quiet location with a marina full of good people. John is the leader of those good people.”

The Award of Excellence for Customer Care was presented to Bennett Brothers Yachts, a boatyard and custom-boat builder in Wilmington, N.C.

The Award for Excellence in Safety & Environmental Practices is given to a boatyard or repair facility, or to an individual, that has exhibited a commitment to environmental stewardship. This year’s award was given to Jim Parks of Lauderdale Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale for his work in helping to develop revisions for the National Fire Protection Association 33 fire code for spray-paint applications.

This Award of Excellence for Commitment to Training was given to Ed Sherman, director of educational programming for the American Boat & Yacht Council for 40 years of dedication to marine education.

The Excellence in Technology award was presented to Gunboat in Wanchese, N.C., for president and founder Peter Johnstone’s “passionate, innovative and highly sophisticated approach to the building of high-performance, world-cruising luxury catamarans,” ABBRA said.