South Florida Intercoastal

Business Highlight: Bradford Marine

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Apr 28, 2021 Wed

Since 1966, Bradford Marine has been a cornerstone of Fort Lauderdale’s boating industry, welcoming guests from around the world to its convenient marina on the New River. So, when an industry legend like Bradford changes hands, all eyes are on the new owners to see what changes might be in store.

John and Michael Kelly have hit the ground running since taking the helm on January 1, 2019. The father-son team have continuously built upon the Bradford name with a series of strategic acquisitions and improvements over the past two years.

The duo started by purchasing Billfish Marina in May 2020, just as the pandemic roared to life. Despite the logistics of expanding a business during a global economic shutdown, their vision was unwavering. The Kellys knew the acquisition of Billfish, conveniently located just across the canal from the Bradford facility, would allow Bradford to expand its dockage and haul-out capacity. New floating concrete docks, capable of housing mega yachts of up to 180 feet are also in permitting for construction at Billfish. Today, the two locations offer 27 combined acres on the New River.

John and Michael also had a goal of creating a single point-of-service for full yacht refits. Along with Billfish Marina, they acquired PipeWelders Marine, High Seas Technology, and P&R Canvas. Together with their skilled in-house teams and hand-picked sub-contractors, Bradford is able to offer start-to-finish refitting under one roof. Their most recent project was the extensive exterior and interior refit of No Bad Ideas, a Westport 130. Completed in less than one year, a year marked by the supply chain challenges of the global pandemic, this is Bradford’s largest refit project to date.

“Having the in-house capabilities to tackle everything from superstructure expansion to interior design renovations, really allows us to showcase the capabilities of the entire spectrum of Fort Lauderdale’s marine industry,” noted Michael Kelly. “As local business owners, we feel a responsibility to promote our industry and its highly-skilled workforce through innovative, high profile projects like this one.”

While this is their first foray into owning a marine business, the Kellys are no strangers to the boating industry. Their experience began decades ago with various sizes of boats including a Viking Sport Cruisers 70, and later a custom-built Hatteras 75. Over the years, they regularly spent part of every year in Fort Lauderdale, bringing their boats south each winter for annual service. Today, they’re taking what they learned as yacht owners and applying it to the Bradford customer experience. Their goal, according to Michael, “is to exceed expectations in every transaction.”

To learn more about Bradford Marine, visit their website.