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Deaton Yacht Service Is Becoming Zimmerman Marine
Will become part of a mid-Atlantic group of boatyards
April 30, 2021

D
eaton Yacht Service has been helping boaters since 1979. This year, operations will transfer to Zimmerman Marine – a company with six integrated east coast locations, dedicated solely to boat repair.

Begun by Bob Deaton out of the back of a van, Deaton Yacht Service found a home on Whittaker Creek. Bob’s brother and father, John and Ralph Deaton, joined him in the business.

John and his wife Karen have run the boatyard together since 2007, establishing a full service operation with an additional DIY yard, an expansive parts department, plus a BOATUS towing service.

The late Bob Deaton with his brother John Deaton. John and Karen Deaton have run Deaton Yacht Service since 2007. (2004 photo.)

John and Karen announced their retirement from the business this week. Zimmerman Marine will assume operations July 1.

“They haven a proven record for treating employees and customers well, and after meeting with their team and many discussions, I feel confident that this will be a win for everyone involved,” said John Deaton.

The yard in early years – photo believed to be early 1980s.

Zimmerman Marine, also in business for 40 years, was established by Steve Zimmerman. Steve had been accepted to Law School at UVA, but passed on the opportunity in order to build boats in Maine. He took jobs building boats in aluminum, wood, and fiberglass before starting his own yard in 1981.

Zimmerman Marine now has six locations along the east coast: Charleston, SC, Southport, SC, Holden Beach, NC, Deltaville, VA, Mathews, VA, and Herrington Harbour, MD. “Oriental fits perfectly into our current locations, filling a critical gap between our Southport yard and our Chesapeake Bay yards,” said Zimmerman Marine president Steve Zimmerman.

Zimmerman Marine is an employee owned company – legally termed an “ESOP” – or employee stock ownership plan company. They give employees ownership interest in the company, which encourages long term employment. Employees are fully vested after 6 years.

The entrance to Deaton Yacht Service

Deaton Yacht Service will undergo a name change to Zimmerman Marine. However, John Deaton will retain the tow boat service and the property. Deaton told TownDock: “We’ve signed a 5 year operating agreement for Zimmerman to operate the business. Hopefully in 5 years they will want to acquire it.”

“Over four decades, the Deaton family built up a first-class facility, developed a talented team of technicians, and earned an excellent reputation,” said Zimmerman. “We share their values with respect to customers and employees and look forward to building on their success.”

As well as serving as the CEO of Zimmerman Marine, Steve Zimmerman is an experienced cruising boater and a contributor to PassageMaker Magazine. PassageMaker talked with Steve in 2017 about his boat building background, why Zimmerman Marine doesn’t have marinas, and how they service a range of clients with their network of boatyards:

Related Links

Zimmerman Marine

Deaton Yacht Service

Deaton Retirement Announcement

Zimmerman Marine Press Release

Posted Friday April 30, 2021 by Allison DeWeese


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