Stones Boatyard was built and opened by Stones Marina’s Marc Stones and Lyle Archibald in early 2006. After a successful start, it was then purchased by Shari and Ian MacPherson and Lorraine Bell in February 2010. Nick Webster joined them as a partner in June that year and over the following 13 years the yard was developed with the addition of Nanaimo Yacht Services to provide a full-service facility, followed by an expanded yard and Marine Store in 2015, and an inflatable repair shop in 2018. The boatyard lifts some 700 vessels each year.
On 1st April 2023 new owners Tony and Mike Harris of the Harris Group of Companies, Ken Schley of Kelland Ventures and a founder and former owner of Quality Foods, and long-time Finning Canada Major Account Manager, Andrew Babuin purchased the business, along with its sister company Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School.
The Harris`s are widely known for their pedigree in the auto and cellular phone businesses where the brothers are partners. Mike oversees the Harris Auto Group and Tom Harris Cellular.
The Auto Group has eight dealerships representing 11 OEM brands. Tom Harris Cellular is Canada’s largest Telus Authorized Dealer with 51 locations in B.C. and Alberta. Mike also owns OK Tire in Parksville, Parksville Qualicum Self Storage, and Oceanside RV Sales and Consignment. Tony has aggressively expanded into real estate development and has a portfolio of commercial, mixed-use, and multi-family projects.
Ken Schley’s success at Quality Foods is well documented, and he continues to run Kelland Ventures, a large property holding, management, and development company as well as a hospitality division including the Qualicum Beach Inn. Schley also owns the meticulously restored S.S. Minnow, the original vessel from the iconic TV series Gilligan’s Island. Vancouver Island Marine Sales & Service owned by Ken Schley holds the Canadian distribution rights to SeaLegs amphibious boats. The passion for Vancouver Island, consulting, and business opportunities is at the helm of the business.
Andrew Babuin – General Manager
New General Manager, Andrew Babuin was a Major Account Manager with Finning Canada for the last 15 years, and a long-time family friend of the Harris brothers. Tony Harris says: “Andrew is a passionate boater, like Ken, Mike and I, and we have all wanted to get into the marine business for a long time. When the Stones Boatyard and Nanaimo Yacht Charters opportunity came along, we felt it was a great fit for us, and we are thrilled to have Andrew as our business partner and General Manager in this exciting new venture.’
“Andrew is a terrific person and he is knowledgeable and passionate about boats. He also has deep experience serving customers and this will translate well into his role serving our team of 30+ employees and thousands of loyal customers across all business units.”
Nick Webster has spent his entire career associated with the sea and boats initially as a naval officer in the Royal Navy and the Sultan of Oman’s Navy. In 1986 he became a senior manager and later a director of Sunsail where he managed and developed yacht charter areas and watersports facilities around the world. He also set-up and ran a shipping operation to transport Sunsail yachts between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
Between 1999 and 2005 he was Commercial Director of a UK based boat shipping company, Peters & May, a world leader in this niche global market. At this time Nick used various specialist boat cleaning services to renovate boats stained during shipping and in the summer of 2005 he emigrated from southern England to B.C. to operate his own boat cleaning business, Pro Boat Clean in Western Canada. He joined his old colleagues, Ian and Shari MacPherson, at Nanaimo Yacht Services @ Stones Boatyard in the summer of 2010. He is a Certified Marine Service Manager.
Rob joined us in 2018 to lead our technical team and ensure we deliver service excellence to our customers. Originally trained in Ontario as an auto mechanic, Rob soon decided that the marine world and somewhere warm was for him. After five years as a sourcing agent for marine equipment, Rob worked as an engineer on and around superyachts and cruising yachts for another 12 years, mostly in the Caribbean and the east coast of North America. He holds an MCA Approved Engineering Certificate, and he’s sailed the Atlantic to the Mediterranean as a chief engineer and refitted large yachts in the US, Morocco, England and Spain. Whilst in Antigua he volunteered with Antigua Barbuda Search and Rescue, was a marine salvage diver, and crewed on classic sailing yachts, particularly in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. He became a Certified Marine Service Manager in 2019.
On joining us in the Spring of 2019, Michael enrolled in the Marine Mechanical Technician course, and he became fully qualified at the beginning of 2021. He is also a trained welder and fabricator. Michael is an avid fisherman and together with his young family, enjoys spending as much time as possible on the water. Michael and his family now own and live on a boat!
Pavel is a Red Seal Electrician with 15 years experience, who for the past 5 years worked as a marine electrician and chargehand at CME in Port Alberni, building new vessels and repairing others. He also completed the Vancouver Island University Motorcycle Mechanic and Marine Technician Programme, and worked a a motorcycle mechanic for 18 months. Pavel joined Stones Boatyard in April 2022.
Brett is both a Journeyman Red Seal Structural Ironworker and a Journeyman Red Seal Construction & Maintenance Electrician with 20 years experience. He has also worked as a Rigger and Millwright, and is now turning his hand to fixing boats! Brett joined Stones Boatyard in June 2022.
Brock worked for Stones Boatyard from 2013-15 prior to a move to the Yukon. He returned to Vancouver Island and the boatyard in April 2023. He is a certified Marine Mechanical Technician
From Alberta, Mitch worked as a mechanic fabricator, professional driver, and spray foam installer before moving to Nanaimo and Stones Boatyard in 2018. He quickly progressed to become our senior travelift operator and Boatyard Supervisor, and qualified as a Marine Service Technician in 2022. He also owns a boat!
Daniel has been repairing inflatables since 2019, initially under the tutelage of a Master Technician, Richard Corona, and has completed the Zodiac MILPRO training course. He too owns a sailboat and is a keen sailor and kayak enthusiast.
Catherine joined us in February 2020 after several years in retail. She has a marine science background with experience around the Southern Gulf Islands and Northern Vancouver Island. She has always loved working on and around the ocean and excited to be back working in the marine industry.
Once a commercial fisherman, James was for several years a boat captain and scuba instructor in Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Nanaimo. He joined us to open the Marine Store @ Stones Boatyard in 2016.