Brittani Severn from RMK Merrill Stevens shipyard in Miami.

Updated: Aug 8, 2018

At the Seakeepers Party during the Miami Yacht Show in February 2018, we sat down

with the newly appointed Marketing Director Brittani Severn to learn what plans the new owner has for the once great yard.





- And we are back, Between Two Yetis, with Brittani Severn from RMK Marine. How are you Brittani?


- Good, Brittani Severn from RMK Merrill-Stevens.


- That's RMK Merrill-Stevens, that's right.


The yard is the oldest shipyard in the state of Florida. We've had a major impact on helping develop Miami. We are looking to restore Miami to the glory that it once was in the marine industry, in shipping. So, that is my main goal and focus to try to bring the big boats down the river.

- We're at day three, Miami Boat Show. We're at the Seakeeper's Event. And who are you, what are you doing here? And that's pretty much that.


- So, I handle business development and customer service relations for RMK Merrill-Stevens, the iconic shipyard that's been around for over 130 years.


- Right. We are the oldest shipyard in the state of Florida. And we have--


- You are the oldest?


- The oldest, I'm not the oldest but.


- Well, obviously not.


- But the yard is the oldest shipyard in the state of Florida. We've had a major impact on helping develop Miami. We are looking to restore Miami to the glory that it once was in the marine industry, in shipping. So, that is my main goal and focus to try to bring the big boats down the river.


- Absolutely, 'cause, RMK, it was out of business for a long, long time and then came back a few years ago. Am I right?


- So, the dynamic of the business is it's actual Merrill-Stevens, that's the iconic name and brand that's been around since 1885. RMK is the new owner, based out of Turkey.



Brittani Severn from RMK Merrill Stevens at the Seakeepers party at Nobu Miami during the Miami Yacht Show 2018

- Okay.


- RMK is--


- RMK Design, absolutely.


- RMK, Romi Koch, I'm sorry. Romi Koch has not put his name on everything. So, he put it in front of Merrill-Stevens because it's super special and he believes that we're gonna change the landscape of the Miami River.


- Absolutely, 'cause, correct me if I'm wrong, most of the work done on boats now is in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.


- So, many people in the marine industry know that Fort Lauderdale has become the mecca, or the yachting capitol of the world.


- Yeah.


- Well, there's still a lot of opportunity in Miami. So, we're trying to bring the big boats back to Miami. We want a little piece of that.


- Yeah, 'cause there wasn't really that much for big boats outside of Fort Lauderdale and Miami really.


- So, the issue and the draw is the ability to get to a yard, and get to a yard where they can facilitate the work you need.


- Right.


- And part of that is hauling the boat out. So, a lot of places on the river currently, as today's state is, have many limitations. And the big boats haven't been able to be hauled out in Miami, so they go up to Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. We're gonna change that.


- Fantastic. And so, where are you with the developments of the yard? I heard you put a lot of money into it right now.


- So, we've got a 30 million dollar refit project, happening right now on the north side of our yard. We actually have a split dynamic to what we do. The river runs through our two pieces of property.


- Right.


- We're on the north end, the south side of the river. We hug the Twelfth Avenue Bridge.


- Right, okay.


- We are squeezed right in between the Jackson Hospital, the UM Jackson Hospital, and the Miami Marlins stadium.


- Right, okay.


- So, we are in a prime location. We're two nautical miles west of the intercostal, from Bayside.


- Two, that's pretty good.


- Pretty good.


- That's very good.


- We have 17 feet of draft in the river.


- Okay.


- Which is maintained by the Army Core of Engineers.


- And what kind of--


- So, there's no draft issues.


- And what kind of boat size can you haul now?


- Currently, our haul out capabilities are 70 tons. In the next 60 to 90 days we're gonna be increasing that with a brand new ship lift for the south yard. 100 tons, brand new ship lift.


- Very cool.


- And, in addition to that, we are 12 to 15 months out of our 30 million dollar refit project happening on the north yard.


- Right.


- And that will increase our haul out capabilities to 2,700 tons.


- That must be a dry dock then, right?


- It is not a dry dock, it's a syncrolift.


- Wow, okay.


- It's a syncrolift with a railway system.


- Wow, okay.


- So, the boat floats on when the lifts in the water, we block it up, divers go down block it up, lift it up, no pressure, or no, no--


- There's straps.


- Stress on the haul, right.


- Absolutely, there's straps.