About the owner
It’s 1979 and I can’t find exactly the parts I need for my boats. It seems that when I need a Perko cleat, the local marine supply stocks only Attwood or Wilcox Crittenden. Special orders are not an option even when paid in full in advance. Frustrated, I spent the year researching the world of marine supplies. Having owned boats since 1961, living on the water since 1960, and even attending a college surrounded by water, I figured why not turn a lifelong passion into a business. Puttering with 3 ½ horsepower and 5 ½ horsepower Evinrude outboards and a homebuilt plywood boat in the early 60s was a far stretch to the complex repowers that we perform in today’s market. College meant 4 years literally on the water almost daily. SUNY Maritime College Ft Schuyler is the oldest maritime school in the United States. A military college that turns out mates and engineers with bachelor’s degrees coupled with military training for the Navy, Coast Guard, Reserves or Merchant Marine. A 4 year B.E. in Naval Architecture, a 3rd Assistant Engineer’s License Unlimited Horse Power, (issued by the U.S. Coast Guard), and a Commission in the Naval Reserve packed into 4 years seemed like a whirlwind education. Add in wrestling with some of the best in college wrestling, sailing with heavy hitters including Gary Jobson of “America’s Cup” fame. Rowing, glee club, and working numerous jobs to lessen the college loans rapidly accumulating, it was a hectic 4 years. Traveling to Europe every summer on the Training Ship Empire State IV provided much valued experience actually operating an 8,500 horsepower ship while visiting countries both in the Mediterranean and North Sea. Although with jobs and the heavy course load it didn’t always seem so, but what a wonderful experience. Add in a year of Watch Engineer and college teaching afterwards and a number of years sailing as a 3rd Assistant Engineer then as a 2nd Assistant Engineer and finally as a 1st Assistant Engineer, I gained valuable experience and knowledge much prized by the manufacturers that used that knowledge and learned ability when we became factory service for the many manufacturers we represent today many years later.
About the company
Seafarer started out in 1981 with sales of marine parts, but rapidly entered the service side of the industry after being approached by various marine manufacturers selling complex equipment to local boat builders. Holding plate refrigeration for example requires special tools, training and licensing to install. We met with Sea Frost and began a journey of factory installations with some of the local boat builders such as Endeavour Yachts, Gulfstar , Watkins yachts, Irwin Yachts, Morgan Yachts, Catalina Yachts and many other smaller manufacturers. Refrigeration grew into generators, air conditioning, water makers, Vacu Flush, Inverters, custom electric distribution panels, electronics, water systems, bow thrusters, diesel and gas engine installations, the list goes on and on. As the local boat builders, dealers and boat owners learned of the vast wealth of knowledge available at Seafarer Marine Supply the business grew from a small 800 square foot store as part of a strip mall to a major factor in today’s market with a 3600 square foot retail and office complex attached to a 4800 square foot shop on over 3 acres of land situated on Pinellas County’s most traveled east west thoroughfare, State Road 688 (AKA Ulmerton Road, Walsingham Road). Boats with Seafarer installed equipment travel the worlds oceans with the knowledge that the equipment was carefully chosen and Installed by one of the industry’s leaders in Marine equipment installation and repair. As the years progressed we accumulated more and more customers that just want to “turn the key and go”. Thus was the incarnation of our monthly preventative maintenance program. Those customers on our program lower ultimate cost of maintenance, greatly enhance their boating experience by actually using the boat instead of fixing something every time they plan on taking the boat out, and getting a higher selling price when they upgrade because the boat has been professionally maintained with the maintenance log to show the unparalleled maintenance program resulting in a more reliable and useable vessel. Over the years we have been very fortunate to have had many great mechanics and store personnel. We look specifically for boat owners to work at Seafarer, because only a boat owner will realize that a boat is very different than a car parked in the driveway. We have over 100 years of boating experience accumulated by our current personnel resulting in better knowledge and service when you call. Give us a try, with over 100,000 parts in stock and knowledgeable sales staff we can greatly enhance your boating experience. Camille can find almost any part available and on occasion those parts no longer manufactured. Mike has taken our website to a new level with online help during working hours and same day shipping most anywhere you might need parts. Rob has been with us for more than a decade and is still in huge demand by the customers who realize he’s way smarter and more experienced than most other service technicians. Factory trained by Seafarer, he is a much appreciated, great employee. With occasional help from Adam to make things flow well and keep the workshop functional he quite often lends that “helping hand”, as he learns the skills necessary to become another Rob out in the field. With John coming onboard March 2012 and bringing his years of experience into the fold we look forward to many more years of smiles brought to the faces of customers finding the perfect gift, part, or needed service to make their boating days better than ever.
Thanks for reading my ramblings; if you mention this history on your next visit we have a small gift for you. One per family please.
Tom Tomalo - Owner