Baddeck Marine started small. "We started off with nothing more than a piece of shoreline," says Stuart Germani, President and CEO of the company. His father Arthur Germani and a partner named Charles Weaver started a small boat rental business in 1973, renting out canoes and paceships of different sizes. The original company building was an out-of-use coal shed. The office was upstairs.
As seasons went on and the rentals were used, repairs became necessary. It fit with Weaver's plan to grow into a marina. Arthur was along for the ride. "Once we finished doing the rentals, then we got into the service," says Stuart, "and we never looked back." Weaver was a mechanical engineer who had a knack for boat repair work.
After university Stuart started working full-time as a labourer for his father and Weaver. He went to Mercury school to be trained as a mechanic, and later took diesel training too. Most everything else he learned on the job. He is now a certified Marine Service Technician.
There is nothing else he'd rather do. "I love it," he says, "wouldn't trade it for anything. There's always something different to do. You're never doing the same job two days in a row."
Over the years a bigger permanent dock was built. More services were offered and a crane was used to haul out or launch bigger boats. The coal shed became a large facility that could accommodate larger vessels as they were serviced by Baddeck Marine's employees. Now boats arrive from all over the world.
"Baddeck always has been that stopping off point for people sailing in from the eastern seaboard, the United States, on their way to Newfoundland, Greenland and further afield," says Stuart, "increasingly we started seeing boats from Europe, Germany, U.K., Australia, so we're now an international company, from very humble beginnings."
A third generation of Germani is hard at work on site. Tyler Germani grew up around Baddeck Marine. "That was just part of life as a kid, you'd go there after school and sit in a boat and do your homework." He started working as a teen and doesn't see himself doing anything else. "It's something different every day," he says, "it's not the same old grind."
Tyler, also certified as a Marine Service Technician, does various jobs on site, but his favourite thing to do is haul boats with Baddeck Marine's 70-tonne lift acquired in 2019. He's looking forward to continuing the growth and high service standards set by his grandfather and Charles Weaver in that coal shed 50 years ago. "I'm part of the succession plan for sure," he says, "I'm trying to set it up now for hopefully my kids to take over sometime."
Charles Weaver passed away in April, 2022. The business he and Arthur Germani started had grown beyond expectations, and will continue to grow. "I envision a very bright future," says Stuart, "we've got a pretty strong young workforce, always adding to it...that's a real bonus."
Keep an eye on Baddeck Marine's facebook page for events this summer to celebrate 50 years in business.