Changing of the guard at OBX Marina  

By on March 2, 2022

Texas-based Safe Harbor Marinas is new owner

OBX Marina at the Wanchese Marine Industrial Park is now under different ownership. Safe Harbor Marinas, the Dallas-based company which advertises itself as the largest owner and operator of marinas in the world, has purchased the business and assumed the leases of the state-owned land where the marina is located.

Safe Harbor is a subsidiary of Sun Communities, a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The sale was between Safe Harbor and Wayne Umphlett, who held the lease on the property that he developed into the marina.

“This is a good thing for the employees,” said Edward Lee Mann, chair of the marine park’s authority. “The [OBX Marina] employees have received raises and now have benefits such as a 401K plan and paid vacations – something they didn’t have in the past.” Currently there are three or four employees at the marina, but more will be hired for the season coming up.

Bob Peele, the director of the park, said the company has indicated that it has committed $1.5 million for repairs and to improve the infrastructure.

Safe Harbor closed on the sale a couple of months ago after being approved by the authority and then getting a thumbs up by the North Carolina Council of State that approves leases of all state properties.

Opened in 1981, the park is governed by an 11-member board — the Wanchese Marine Industrial Park Authority — that oversees leases and other park issues such as infrastructure that includes both water and a waste treatment plant.

The park is in Wanchese on the southern end of Roanoke Island and includes 53 acres of land and a 15-acre basin. Companies that operate there are marine-type ventures and include commercial fishing, marinas, boat building and supply stores. The park enters into lease agreements with tenants who are responsible for erecting their own buildings, piers, etc.

“They’ve worked hard to get the marina and its subleases under control,” said Peele, of Safe Harbor. “Some of the charter boats didn’t have any paperwork showing that they were leasing. So now everyone who has chosen to remain there has a written three-year lease,” said Peele.

Mann said that the company is talking about trying to help with affordable housing for their employees and wants to possibly partner with the College of the Albemarle to offer marine trade training.

In addition to OBX Marina, the company is working on acquiring Blue Water Outer Banks Yacht Service and its subsidiary H&H, as well as Broad Creek Boat Works.

“Those sales have been approved by the authority and are now waiting on action from the NC Council of State which is set to meet in April,” said Peele.

Safe Harbor did not respond to requests for comment.


Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

One tap mobile

+17866351003,,82390692985# US (Miami)

+13126266799,,82390692985# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

  • +1 786 635 1003 US (Miami)
  • +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
  • +1 470 250 9358 US (Atlanta)
  • +1 646 518 9805 US (New York)
  • +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
  • +1 213 338 8477 US (Los Angeles)

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

Find your local number:

Join by SIP

Join by H.323

  • (US West)
  • (US East)

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985




  • Paul

    Safe Harbor buying up all these marinas is blatantly anti-competitive. They have been doing this around the country and once they dominate the market they raise prices and evict the lower-end boat owners.

    Wednesday, Mar 2 @ 1:47 pm
  • Lorri Chambers

    It’s the start of taking over for the entitled people. They started talking about this in 2012. Look out commercial fishermen

    Wednesday, Mar 2 @ 3:56 pm
  • Obxer

    Selling out to corporations is greed selling out to greed. The revenue created won’t be spent locally. Should have sold local and keep the revenue local it’s all bout the dolla

    Wednesday, Mar 2 @ 9:50 pm
  • Lucas

    Safe Harbor recently bought out Jarret Bay and most of the property around there. Safe Harbor and Suntex are the two big players in buying many large marinas across the country. Both groups have been pretty aggressive over the past 3-4 years.

    Thursday, Mar 3 @ 8:34 am
  • Rosie

    This is the way capitalism works, the big money always wins. Our system works against the little guy. It’s sad.

    Thursday, Mar 3 @ 1:53 pm