Established in 1964 by Ralph Stevens, Yankee Marina & Boatyard is known as one of the favorite marina and boatyards in the northeast for quality marine service.
In 1955 at age 22, Ralph went to work at the fish cannery, Royal River Packing Corp., on the west bank of the Royal River when his father, the cannery’s founder, hired him as plant manager. Just down the river from what is today, exit 15 on I 295, the Royal River Packing Corp. was a major Atlantic coast fish cannery, packing over 120,000 cans of sardines and herring each day to supply an international market.
In 1956, Ralph’s father sold the company 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 in his office taking care of the plant’s challenging business, he regularly stole glances out the window to 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 and he dreamed of using that land to create a marina. After years of watching the seasons come and go, in 1964, Ralph took the opportunity to purchase 4 of the 7 hillside acres. By 1967, he acquired the remaining 3 acres.
Ralph’s initial strategy was to build slip space for 12 to 16 boats with a plan to provide storage and only the limited services required by the storage clients. For this to happen, Ralph had to tame the hill and create his dream. 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 as Ralph was able to purchase the cannery and the surrounding land, extending his property significantly. In 1986, Ralph formed a partnership and began the development of the cannery into today’s Lower Falls Landing complex.
New sections of slips were added each year until, in 1985, when Yankee Marina & Boatyard reached today’s accommodations of slip space for 100 boats and winter storage for over 200. As storage space expanded and the hill shrunk further back, the number of clients grew along with service requirements. With that demand, employees were added as those with the required experience and motivation became available. Over the years, buildings to allow for winter service and storage as well as employee offices and facilities were added; the most recent being an 12,000 square foot, environmentally controlled building to enable specialty paint, varnish and Awlgrip® applications.
Today, Yankee Marina & Boatyard continues to flourish, services continue to expand and business continues to be done with the same focus Ralph established early on. In Ralphie’s words, “Precision, Ingenuity and Maine Craftsmanship – it’s a good formula”. And the rest… is the future’s history.