Stansbury Yacht Basin

1312 Shore Rd
Middle River, MD 21220
410-686-3909

Serving Both Sail & Power Boaters
Your Subtitle text

- Upcoming Events -

Middle River Parade of Lighted Boats
Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our History

Before it was known as Stansbury Yacht Basin, it was a boat yard owned by Dutch Frank.  Dutch had the boat yard for several years and then sold it to Bud Cochran.  Bud already owned one business and was looking to buy another and bought Dutch's boat yard.  In 1958, Bud incorporated the business and it became known as Stansbury Yacht Basin.  Bud and his wife decided to sell the Marina in 1960 to Joe and Wilma Blazek.  When the Blazeks bought the marina they also were buying a place to live.  With their four children in tow, the Blazeks moved from Rosedale, MD to Wilson Point.  In 1960 the only structures on the property were a 20 x 20 foot building and two out houses.  The marina also had 58 slips.  At the time,  there were all wooden boats in the marina and only one fiberglass boat.  No one was sure if a fiberglass boat would ever "take off".  A man named Chuck Garrison had worked for Bud and stayed on at the marina after the Blazeks bought the place.  Chuck was a master mechanic and handled the maintenance around the marina.  Chuck could fix anything from boat engines to toasters.  

The family knew that they would need to expand the 20 x 20 building in order to accommodate their family.  One day a gentleman named Lou Shaefer showed up with his tool belt on.  He lived down the road and came by and just offered his help. Lou helped the Blazeks build their home.  Besides Lou, others pitched in. A young man named Roger Gerstenberg who had a "run-about" boat at the marina also lent the young family a hand.  A bigger home meant more room for more children and eventually the family grew to include a fifth child.  Wilma Blazek commented about the people of Wilson Point, "Everybody in the neighborhood was very good to us".

Over the years many people have been a part of the Stansbury Yacht Basin family.  In the early days of the marina there was a customer known as Miss. Barbara.  Miss. Barbara kept her canoe at the marina.  In 1960 she was over seventy years old and lived in Baltimore City.  On the weekends she would ride the bus up Eastern Avenue to Wilson Point Road and then walk to the marina.  Before there were city buses she would take a street car to Hawthorne Street then swim over to the marina to get her canoe. Miss Barbara loved to take her canoe out for a sail along with a knitting project and a radio so she could listen to the Orioles game.  Love also blossomed at the marina.  A young couple who both owned sailboats, he Jewish and she a Baptist met at the marina and later married.  Another marina helper and worker, Gary Rosenberger, went on to own his own marina. 

In the early days, the Blazeks were also boat dealers.  Their first company was Celebrity Sail Boats.  Eventually other lines were added: Aqua Cat Pontoons, Oday, and Jersey Skiff Powerboats.  When the Oday account was landed, the largest model was a mere 19 feet.  The Blazeks kept asking Oday for bigger boats and eventually they would offer 32 footers.  In the early days Oday Sailboats were in the number one boat to be found at Stansbury Yacht Basin.  As power boats became more popular, a gas pier was added in the 1960s.  Gas was sold for 32 cents per gallon.  The business grew and a new ramp and pier were added.  In the winter of 1962 there was a big freeze on the river.  Keeping the piers in place became a major task not to mention all the tools that ended up lost in the river.  That year the river was coated with 30 inches of ice.  Joe needed to find a way to keep the ice away from the pilings.  After many different attempts,  he developed a "bubble system".  This system would keep the water around the pilings from freezing by forcing the water to bubble through specially designed air pressure hoses.  Eventually Joe's system would be used by other marinas in Maryland and Delaware.  Their motto was "Bubbles for Sale".  Today some marinas still rely on this system. 

During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the marina fared well under the management of Joe and Wilma. Running a marina is a full-time business, but Joe always found time for family even if it meant that on Sunday afternoons he would close at 3:00 pm to take the family out on their powerboat for a day trip sailing the Bay.  Sadly in the early 1990s both Joe (in 1993) and longtime marina worker Chuck (in 1991) both passed away.  For the next decade the marina would be ran by another family member.  Business was slow and many repairs would be needed to keep the business afloat. 

In August 2003, Susan Blazek, a daughter, and her long-time friend Pat Williford purchased the marina and began a partnership called The LOF (Leap Of Faith) Group, Inc.  It would be a "Leap of Faith" as neither of the ladies had a lot of marina business experience.  Under their direction, many improvements have been made and the marina now boasts over 70 slips, a brand new floating pier, and jet ski lifts.  The floating pier was compliments of Hurricane Isabel who made her way to the little cove in September 2003. 

In September 2011 Susan opted out of the business and for the first time since 1960 Stansbury Yacht Basin was no longer owned by any member of the Blazek family.   Today the marina is solely owned and operated by Pat Williford and continues to proudly serve Dark Head Creek and the Middle River community.