At Oak Harbor Marina, the atmosphere and the service are served up family style.
by Wendy Mitman Clarke
When we returned to the Chesapeake briefly in late May 2009 to do some work on Osprey, we thought long and hard about where we wanted to endure a month spent on the hard. So many possibilities. But in the end, we sailed to Oak Harbor Marina in Pasadena, Md. For one thing, we knew that owners Ken and Barbara Broman would welcome us with open arms--and not just because my husband Johnny had worked for them in the boatyard business for something like 15 years, and they've known our kids since they were born. The Bromans treat pretty much everybody like family, which is one reason they have such a loyal base of slipholders and customers. Also, we knew their son Chris would be a good man up the mast when the time came to replace our standing rigging. And last but not least, because the marina is tucked into a shady enclave on Rock Creek off the Patapsco River, we knew the kids would have fun and be safe riding their bikes around the pleasant neighborhood.
The Bromans purchased Oak Harbor in 2002 after running a boat repair business for 22 years out of White Rocks Marina, just up the creek. With 95 slips and 10-foot depths, Oak Harbor sits on nearly five tree-enveloped acres. It's primarily a sailboat marina, although Ken, an inveterate gearhead, has been known to soup up the most inauspicious vessels with engines they never deserved, mostly just for the fun of it. He's also a longtime sailboat racer and has brought the same mags-on-a-station-wagon enthusiasm to his 1977 Columbia 30 Krisde. It must be working, since he and his crew of AARP members regularly bring home the silver in the Rock Creek Racing Association's various regattas and Wednesday night series.
The marina itself is an eclectic amalgam of weekend sailors, a few serious deep-water cruisers, and a liveaboard or two. It's not unusual to see the three big propane grills on the deck fired up after a Wednesday night race, or for a group of friends to be hanging out up at the picnic tables on the deck into the wee hours.
The service operation can handle projects from Awlgrip topcoat jobs to rigging and electrical work, and on site is Hugh Snively, who specializes in joinery, and Nelson Anderson's diesel repair shop. With 30 years in the business, if the Bromans don't know someone who can help with any issue or problem, nobody does. Nor are they averse to letting boatowners do their own work, freely doling out advice (and even sometimes a tool or two) where needed.
We stayed at Oak Harbor for a month to complete our various projects, and when it was time to go, we left with new standing rigging, a new nav station, and--best of all--the knowledge that we had reinvigorated old friendships and made new ones.
Oak Harbor Marina
Power: 30, 50 amp
Depth: 10 ft
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