Yankee Marina History
Established in 1964 by Ralph Stevens, Yankee Marina & Boatyard is one of the favorite marina and boatyards in the northeast for quality marine service, as evidenced by Offshore Magazine readers’ votes in the magazine’s 2004 survey.
Ralph Stevens went to work at the fish cannery, Royal River Packing Corp., on the west bank of the Royal River every day starting in 1955 when his father, the cannery’s founder, hired him as plant manager; Ralph was 22. Just down the river from what is today, exit 15 on I 295, the Royal River Packing Corp. was sizeable fish cannery on the Atlantic coast, packing over 120,000 cans of sardines and herring each day, shipping produce around the world.
In 1956 Ralph’s father sold the Royal River Packing Corp and it became the Stinson & Zwecker cannery. In 1961 Stinson & Zwecker was leased to the William Underwood Company, where Ralph continued on as plant manager. As Ralph sat at his office taking care of the busy plant’s business, he would regularly steal glances out his office window of the wooded hillside just to the south of the cannery. He was a successful plant manager but his heart belonged to the water and boating, so after years of watching the seasons come and go on the wooded hillside, the trees springing to life and falling into winter year after year, Ralph took an opportunity to purchase 4 of the 7-acre hillside in 1964. He purchased the remaining 3 acres by 1967.
The initial strategy was to build slip space for 12 to 16 boats with a plan of providing storage and only the limited services required by the storage clients. In order for this to happen, Ralph had to tame the hill. Ralphie, (as he was known in those days) kept his day job at the cannery and remained in the manager’s position until 1981 when the doors closed for good. As with most dark clouds, there was a silver lining and Ralphie was able to purchase the cannery and the surrounding land, extending his property to the far parking lot of what is today, The Lower Falls Landing complex. In 1986 Ralph formed a partnership and the development of the cannery into today’s Lower Falls Landing complex was begun.
New sections of slips were added each year until, in 1985, when Yankee Marina & Boatyard reached today’s accommodations of slip space for 106 boats and winter storage for over 200. As storage space grew and the hill shrunk further back, the number of clients grew along with service requirements. With that growth, employees were added as those with the required experience and motivation became available. Buildings to allow for winter service and storage as well as employee offices and facilities were added over the years; the most recent being an 12,000 square foot, environmentally controlled building to enable specialty paint, varnish and Awlgrip® applications.
Yankee Marina & Boatyard continues to flourish, services continue to expand and business continues to be done with the same focus Ralph established early on. Ralphie sums it up, “Precision, Ingenuity and Maine Craftsmanship – it’s a good formula”. And the rest… is the future’s history.