Byline: Ambrosia Brody
OXNARD — For 17 years, Dan Ward drove past boats bobbing in their slips and wished he could be driving toward rather than away from the water. It was during one of those long drives that Ward vowed to get back to his boating roots.
“One day, I got to my business and said, ‘I’m not going to do this anymore,’” Ward recalled. “And that’s when I decided to find a place out here and enjoy where I live, instead of driving away from it.”
The decision to close his glass installation business in Simi Valley in 2009 allowed Ward to accomplish that dream and join the Vintage Marina Partners Team. Ward thrived at the company’s Channel Islands Harbor marinas, where he moved swiftly up the ladder — starting as a general maintenance dock worker, and eventually becoming appointed dockmaster for Channel Islands Harbor Marina and Vintage Marina, in January.
Although he has only been in the dockmaster position since Jan. 1, Ward has been brainstorming ways to make the marina a more-sought-after destination for visitors and boaters.
“I’m really looking forward to getting the marina involved in as many things as possible, and getting more people to come down and see us,” said Ward, who moved to Southern California in 1985.
The farmer’s market, car shows, MarineFest and Tallship Festival are a few events that draw crowds. Ward hopes to add more activities to that list.
“We’re going to try to do more exciting things,” he said.
Nestled in Channel Islands Harbor, Vintage Marina and Channel Islands Harbor Marina provide accommodations for boats from 24- to 100-feet in length. Channel Island Harbor Marina has been renovated with concrete docks, new dinghy racks, updated utilities and contemporary marina facilities. Visiting boaters at Vintage Marina will appreciate all the amenities offered on site, as well as the many restaurants, museums and shops nearby.
The marinas’ management team strives to make each visitor’s stay a pleasant one. Michelle Lapointe, marina manager for Vintage Marina and Channel Islands Harbor Marina, said she enjoys working on the management team with Ward.
“He is absolutely wonderful with the marina tenants,” she said. “He is a great guy — really supportive — and the tenants love working with him.”
Tending to docks and interacting with marina tenants comes naturally to Ward, a Puget Sound native who grew up near the water. Ward started sailing on Puget Sound and in the San Juan Islands with friends during his freshman year of high school, and he never stopped boating.
“Sailing has always been a part of me,” Ward said.
Vintage Marina and Channel Island Marina tenants continually invite Ward to join them on their vessels — and Ward accepts, whenever he has free time.
“Living down here, there is always someone who either wants to go fishing or sailing or go out and enjoy the day,” said Ward, who is a member of Channel Islands Yacht Club. “I find myself out there quite a bit.”
When he’s not on the water, he can be found on the tennis courts, hitting the links or spending time with his wife and daughter.
Whether on the water, walking the docks or behind his desk, Ward said he is happy to be at work.
“There are such great people here,” he said of both tenants and staff. “To me, it’s like a vacation day every day here. There is always someone headed out for fun or someone headed back in from having fun, and it’s like that every day.
“I enjoy the people I work with — and I love my job,” he said.
For more information on Vintage Marina and Channel Islands Harbor Marina, visit vintage-marina.com.