No one knows Shelter Cove Marina like Dave Harris. When he started working at Shelter Cove Harbour in 1983, it was just an idea in progress. By the time it opened to the public in June of that year, Dave found himself overseeing the marina itself, which at the time was just 5 docks, and later its retail operations and charter tours. Now, more than 30 years later, after watching Shelter Harbour grow into a popular shopping, dining, boating and entertainment destination year round, he’s decided to retire, handing over the reins to Captain Kyle MacDaniel at the end of March.
Affectionately known as Harbourmaster Dave around Shelter Cove, he’s the leader of all operations out of the marina. His fondest memories of his time at Shelter Cove are the people, both those he works with and those who come in and out of the marina every day. “We’ve had some real characters come here throughout the years,” says Harris, also remembering fondly the regulars who dock at the marina every year whom he’s gotten to know over the years.
He’s also indebted to his staff, including his two managers, a married couple, Pam and Tommy Perkins, who’ve worked for him for 20 years. “I’ve been very fortunate with the people I’ve had working with me,” he says. “It’s really gotten to be a family operation and they are wonderful folks to be around. Between Pam and Tommy, all I have to do is pick up the trash and make the coffee.”
He says his favorite times of year are probably spring and fall at the marina. “The weather is just beautiful,” he says. “To step out there in the morning, it’s dead calm and you can see the boats reflected in the water. If you have to go to work, that’s a good setting to go to work in.” He also says he loves how the whole island hums in the summertime.
Before taking the job at Shelter Cove, Dave was in the Marine Corps, and afterward, he and his wife spent four years sailing around the world together before starting their family. While he says he’s not planning to sail the world again in retirement, he does plan to spend some time in his home state of Wyoming where he has a cabin. “I’ll be shaking the salty sea air off and getting some of that mountain crispness,” he says, but there are no plans to stop working. Says Harris, “I may become a brain surgeon or a fry cook, not sure which I’d be better at.”
Those of us here at Palmetto Dune and Shelter Cove are so grateful for Dave’s years of service to our company, literally helping build it from the ground up, and we’ll miss seeing his friendly smiling face over at the marina. Hopefully, that sea air will call him back for a regular visit!
Be sure to also read this recent article by David Lauderdale in the Hilton Head Island Packet recounting Dave’s years with us.