About

What?! 1971 was 50 years ago?!

Established in 1984 in Miami Florida.   You can always get more money, but NOBODY get’s more time.

 Contact me @ pilothouseking@icloud.com

Moral of the story about TIME:  I started actively looking for a 1947 Fleetmaster Aerosedan in 1977. It wasn’t til 2015 that I finally found one (in South Carolina on Ebay) worth buying, and even then – I still had to do a chrome, fender, glass off new paint job, plus a complete interior reupholster, new radiator, front end bushings, and tires. This on a car that had previously been through TWO (2) frame off restorations with new everything. I mention this for the benefit of you boat buyers looking for the proverbial ‘unicorn boat’. Tic Tock.

 

Selling a Meridian 580 in Oregon. Too bad they quit building these boats in 2008.

 

 

WHY PILOTHOUSES?  because “I like the sun, but the sun doesn’t like me”.  You can’t beat a pilothouse for beating the weather.

I started this business in Miami Florida in 1984 with a Captains license running charters on my own sailboats (Morgan 38′ and a OI 41′) under the name Blake Davis Yacht Charters and Brokerage. Ten years earlier at 21 yro I entered the professional boat world fresh out of college with a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art, and Temple U., when I walked into a boat yard in New Orleans in 1974 looking for a job:  Owner: “What do you know how to do?” the owner asked. “Nothing, I just graduated from college with an Art Degree” say’s I. “Good, go paint that boat ” say’s the owner, so I did.

To reach the time clock  I had to walk through the air conditioned office where I would see guys sitting with their feet propped up on their desks reading magazines all day.  After several years working out in that horrible New Orleans weather fixing boats, and during the rare time I wasn’t being yelled at by the owner, I asked him “who are those guys inside?”  His reply was “Yacht Brokers”. I said ” I want to do that!” – he said “come in tomorrow dressed like one and you can ”. I did. I can attest that being on top of boats beats the hell out of being under them.

 

In 1978 I first starting selling new sailboats at dealerships in St. Pete and Clearwater before striking out on my own in 1984 in Miami. Miami was good to me.

I even did a stint as the Sales Manager at Jones Yacht and Ship up the Miami River during the fun and wild cocaine cowboys days.  Boy do I have stories to tell about those days.   Watch the movie- Cocaine Cowboys or any old Miami Vice TV show. Good times.

By 1988 I was the East Coast dealer for the Taiwan manufacturer Lien Hwa (Hartman Palmer, McKinna, Little Harbor, Vitesse, Pacific) NOT a ‘mom and pop’ organization. 1989 was THE pinnacle of yacht manufacturing. This opportunity was given to me solely because the Chinese owners of Maule Lake Marina and Lien Hwa saw me in their marina one day selling a boat. They called me into their office and said “we like your American looks, people here don’t like ours” and pitched me on the whole idea of being their front. Ok then.

Those are Hartman Palmer motoryachts and Little Harbor sailboats. Note the water tank. This was the only company in Taiwan that tank tested every boat built. None arrived off the ships listing. They also sprayed them with fire hoses, so they didn’t arrive leaking. The other marques? I think they built their boats like Chinese condoms-which might explain all the Chinese people on the planet.

1988, with an office with a boat yard on Biscayne Blvd at Maule Lake in Miami, selling brand new Motor Yachts, all lined up behind a very popular restaurant/bar named Rum Runners (I think their motto was “where the smugglers congregate“) because for years I watched regular major smuggling transactions go down in broad daylight from my office windows. Years later I discovered that one of the regulars at Rum Runners was the guy that killed Don Aronow -right up the street-in broad daylight. He seemed like a nice guy, which I guess is the secret of being a successful assassin.

In those days I didn’t even care (I was in my thirties) if my clients bought a boat from me because they ‘partied me up’ so well. Rum Runners closed at 3am, but there was strip clubs right across the street from the marina that were open til 6am. I can’t even tell you how many federal agents and smugglers I met back then, and I never mentioned one to the other- even though I had the feeling that when we found ourselves in the same room together, that they actually knew each other quite well. Yeah, I met many ‘Scarfaces” in the day, but the white crews were definitely more subtle, and many of them have survived to this day totally unscathed and unknown, The Catch 22 of being a smuggler is that the same street cred and acclaim that garnered them beautiful women, and flashy toys (watch Miami Vice reruns) is exactly what puts them on the radar of LEO.

Then in 1991 ‘out-of-the-blue’ along came the Luxury Tax (sponsored by a Democrat from Illinois!!!) that stopped the yacht industry dead. While other brokers were literally committing suicide as a result of that sudden economic decimation of the boating industry.  By the time it hit Miami, I had already sold my office to Tony Roma (yeah, he was an actual person) bought the coolest custom built 50′ single diesel pilothouse houseboat and just went cruising for several years.  You don’t have to be a millionaire to live like one-you just need to know when to ZIG when others ZAG.

 

We spent some wonderful years cruising and living aboard in the nineties. I even rode out Hurricane Andrew on her, so can check off “ride hurricane out on a boat” from my bucket list.

 

I dropped the “charter” from my business name sometime along the way as I realized I didn’t have the personality to entertain strangers on my boat. “NO you can’t smoke, NO you can’t put that there. No I can’t play guitar, and NO I don’t wanna get high. Off the boat you go! ”

2019 update: Retired. And when I say retired, that means I sold the big house, sold the condo in Miami, sold five cars, sold the boat, and moved into a 55 plus community. Now I just go the gym and mountain bike (same as before, but now I’m not interrupted by phone calls) in the many excellent Florida trails, and instead of thinking about boats, I think about art, and look out for bears, alligators, and damn (forget the yankees!) drug addicts from Oregon and California!

 

HOW ABOUT BOAT SHOWS? 

I hate them! Too much traffic, too long the lines.. They mostly only financially benefit  those who produce the Boat Shows don’t they?  North American shows were relevant once upon a time, you know-back before the advent of the Internet. No surprise that most shows are owned by the same corporations that own the boating magazines. Doubling down on the dinosaurs I reckon.  Those thousands of boat manufacturers, dealers, and Brokerages  that went (and counting) out of business ALL did those boat shows, and advertised in those magazines. Perhaps if they didn’t – they wouldn’t had burned all their cash and would still be in business? The ever decreasing attendance at the shows prove that the public isn’t interested in paying for travel expenses, parking, and admission to be stuck waiting in lines to even enter the show- when you can see the same boats on the Internet OR by making an appointment with a BROKER  and see them at your leisure. Think you’re going to get a good deal at a show? How, after they’ve spent $$$$ to put the boat in the show?  C’mon.

Boat Shows were actually exciting back in the 70’s and 80’s, but by the late nineties the internet totally changed that paradigm, just ask Jeff Bezos. I’ve sold boats for upwards of $900k to buyers solely via emails without even one phone conversation. The majority of the vessels I exported were never seen by their buyers til they arrived at their far flung destinations. Buyers would send me the cash upfront and say: “find me the best deal mate“. I did.

 

My clients who aren’t referrals from other satisfied clients come directly from this website..

 

View from the office I had prior moving to Maule Lake Marina to become the Lien Hwa dealer.

Miami 1988 view from my office.

View from my Miami office from 1998 -2014. Slip rates on, or near Biscayne Bay went from $150.00 a month in the early 90’s to $450.00 a month in 2000 to $1800.00 a month in 2014 IF a slip could be found at all. Up here in Ft. Pierce-slips can be had for $9.00 a foot at a beautiful gated and guarded marina that has a swimming pool, and excellent restaurant. NO traffic, and everybody speaks english. I only miss the night time boating in Miami.

 

Portrait of the young artist/sailor in his twenties dreaming of the future.

 

THEN -The young serious Captain back in 1984 when I started this business at 32 yro.

 

My peak earning years when partying with clients didn’t hurt the next day.

 

We moved from Miami up to Ft. Pierce in 2014 and love it here.

2021. They say people don’t see what’s coming, but it doesn’t hurt to be looking for it.  April 8th 2021 update. I was sitting here, heard a plane, looked to my left, and there was a B52 flying about 1500’ above the pasture! Weird was how quiet (compared to the last time I saw one) it was, and it wasn’t trailing black smoke like they used to. It was headed SE towards Palm Beach. It didn’t show up on Flight Radar 24. That was unusual. Usually just see owls, buzzards, and woodpeckers from this spot.

 

Testimonials:

Blake was the selling Broker when I purchased my 4788. Not only did he help me throughout the purchase of the 4788, he also helped me sell my previous boat. In our pre-purchase discussions, I felt he gave me a truthful overview as to the condition of the boat I was looking at. He also gave me a realistic assessment of the boating market at the time. I found his message was the straight goods, not what i wanted to here. I have spoken to other people that have used Blake’s services and all have spoken highly of their dealings with him. If you are looking for a knowledgeable, colourful straight shooter then call Blake, if you are looking for someone who is going to paint a pretty picture, call someone else.

Carlo Weickert
SEA BEE
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Blake sold my 45 P/H for me. He is knowledgeable, direct and outspoken. He lists and SELLS P/H boats. He has all the resources to assist the sale. You want action, he will get you the most bang for the buck in the shortest time.   (he also later purchased a 2000 4788 from me)

John Lynch Michigan

When we bought our 1997 4788 thru Blake in Ft. Lauderdale it was a big deal for us. Blake made it a very enjoyable experience. He shared his knowlege on the boat we were looking at and on others like it so there were no surprises after the sale. We found Blake to be very professional and a good arbitrator on our behalf in the purchase of our boat. The whole process was effortless for us as he drove us to and from our motel to the boat many times. In addition to the professional survey, Blake provided us with the expertice of his friend “Captian Bob” who really was helpful in explaining the mechanical side of the boat and what to expect of her. Blake gave us a list of surveyors to chose from to maintain his impartiality. After the sale Captain Bob negotiated the best deal on fuel delivered to our location. He also did some minor repairs as well as replacing filters, impellers, etc. in preparation for our long voyage home to St. Louis Mo. I wouldn’t give up the BOC forum for anything and it was Blake Davis who told me about it. Anyone wanting to purchase a pilothouse cant do any better than what the Pilothouse King did for us! Thanks again Blake

Dave Berg   GREAT ESCAPE  St. Louis Mo.

Blake is the most knowledgeable and experienced broker on Bayliner and Meridian Pilothouse Yachts in the country. You can totally rely on his guidance! 

Scott Grody

You are the most professional broker I have ever spoken to. If I have any reason to use a broker in the future or have call to recommend one, it will certainly be you. No BS, just the real deal
John Koch  490 Meridian /Marlow 49′ Florida

 

“Wow! This lease purchase was a marathon event that began in May of 2016 and didn’t end until September of 2016. It started with my quest for a new and more ideal boat. After having been in a Sea Ray 440 for 3 years I knew its limitations and wanted something different, and something that would better suit our needs. That led me to investigate pilothouse boats, which led me to Blake Davis’ website. This site has a lot of good information on it. Blake sold these boats when they were new and is very knowledgeable about them. He knows their strengths and weaknesses. Blake is an excellent communicator and knows how to use the web for that purpose. Very well designed web page. I was a prospect and called Blake out of the blue, not knowing him from anybody. He made me feel at ease from the start and offered to go look at the boat for me. From the very first time, he gave me an accurate assessment of the boat. Blake has a sharp eye and knows what a good boat looks like and which ones are a waste of time. He is very up to date on the market and values. He is honest and isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade, even if its not what you want to hear. So the boat “looked” good enough, but Blake told me she needed to be surveyed to find out what she’s really like. There were several clues that Blake (Colombo) knew about this boat (it had been grounded and damaged the rudder) that weren’t revealed by the listing agent. (Don’t ask me how he knows this stuff but he does.) Once those questions were asked they led us to other discrepancies, which led us to more unrevealed problems, making for a long, long purchase and many contract extensions while these issues were fixed. One may ask, why did you keep pursuing this boat? The simple answer is, without Blake I probably would not have. Talking to him I realized there just aren’t many pretty, well cared for, cosmetically clean boats of this kind left on the market. This one was, clean, pretty and structurally sound. It had many mechanical issues that if we could get the seller to fix, would make this a fine boat. The sellers were not the most cooperative and made this harder than it had to be. At one point, we felt as if all our efforts were lost. (The seller was not wanting to work with us on verification of repairs and we were not going to get this boat. The sellers didn’t want to extend our contract again.) After some phone calls by Blake and a few suggestions which I implemented, his phone rang at 9:30 p.m. on our last day of the contract, offering another extension. That’s impressive! But what impressed me more, was earlier that day Blake told me, “I just don’t think these guys are going to work with us, so I’m going to send you your deposit money.” That really impressed me! I didn’t even have to ask, he just said I’m going to send it back. Colorful writer and character that knows how to use words that give you a visual of what he is seeing and describing. Entertaining, and has a good eye for the quality things. You will enjoy meeting and working with him. Made me laugh more than once through this tortuous ordeal. It was worth it! I have a beautiful boat that made a Gulf of Mexico crossing from Tampa, Fl. to Biloxi, Ms., without any problems. That would not have been the case without Blake Davis”
         – Walter Vaughan – 2000 Bayliner 5288 – Baton Rouge Louisiana
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FOR BUYERS IN AUSTRALIA, CANADA, and NEW ZEALAND- I would prefer to just give you previous clients direct contact info- so they can tell you exactly the expenses and procedures for importing yachts for your countries.   I only deal with nice people, so no worries in giving them a ring. Just ask.

 

Getting old be like