DECEMBER 1, 2016 — Gulfstream Shipbuilding, Freeport, FL, has added James Murray, a second generation boat builder and operator/owner, to its Sales Management Team. James Murray is the son of Jim Murray, who originally opened the shipyard 35 years ago as Freeport Shipbuilding and who passed away last year.
James Murray built a variety of custom boats at the shipyard before venturing off to start his own successful passenger excursion company. Now, he is returning to partner with the current owner, Stuart Reeves, on a new generation of custom shipbuilding.
“James exhibits the same passions and values that his father instilled on this company 35 years ago, including quality building, timeliness and on-going communication and customer service,” said Mr. Reeves. “His experience with shipbuilding as well as running a successful passenger excursion company for 12 years makes him a valuable asset to our clients.”
Since 1981, the full-service shipyard has produced quality steel and aluminum vessels up to 300 feet, including U.S. Coast Guard-approved excursion vessels, offshore fast supply and crew boats, passenger and car ferries, cruise boat tenders and custom specialty boats.
James Murray joined his father’s shipyard in 1997 after graduating college. One of the many vessels father and son custom built was the 125-foot, three-deck Solaris dining and entertainment yacht. In 2004, James left the shipyard to launch SunQuest Cruises in Northwest Florida. The Solaris yacht is in its 12th successful year of hosting weekly sunset dinner cruises and weddings from the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Northwest Florida. SunQuest Cruises expanded in 2012 with the SunVenture I, a 45 foot eco-excursion catamaran cruising from Destin, Florida.
In 2013, Jim Murray worked with longtime friend and maritime expert Stuart Reeves to transition the shipyard to Gulfstream Shipbuilding. They retained 75 percent of the original team and all upper level management. In addition, over half of the yard's client base continues to be return customers.