NILES, Ill., January 15, 2002-Marina Dock Age, the leading marina business publication read by operators and owners across the country, named Osprey Marina its "2001 Marina of the Year." The award recognizes overall excellence in marina operation.

Elizabeth Altick McCarthy, Marina Dock Age Editorial Director, said, "After sorting through the applications for Marina of the Year, listening to expert advice and narrowing the field of candidates down to the best of the best, our selection committee had a tough decision to make: What marina equals our previous Marina of the Year winners in terms of environmental responsibility, customer satisfaction and commitment to its employees and the community at large? The answer: Osprey Marina.

(And this year, for the first time, the judges decided that two marinas were the best of the best, so the award also goes to Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona Beach, Florida.)Beach, Florida.)

Osprey Marina, owned by Carson Benton, is at mile marker 373 on the Intracoastal Waterway in Myrtle Beach. Osprey Marina offers a protected harbor 150 yards off the waterway accessible by a private deep water channel. Inside the basin, 96 wet slips are available for vessels up to 60 feet. Each slip is equipped with 30 and 50 amp power, water, and cable.

The ship's store offers 24-hour restrooms and laundry, an on-site short order grill, beer and wine sales, marine supplies, free local calls and Internet connection, and a small library.

Osprey Marina operates at 90 percent capacity year round. "We pride ourselves on our professionalism and customer service that keep people coming back again and again," says Osprey's General Manager, Sherry Harrelson. "The Southern-style family-oriented marina tends to every detail of recreational boating. We make every attempt to make the customers' day on the water as easy, carefree, and enjoyable as possible."

"Our owners are dedicated to the community that has been so good to them. From donating used computers from the marina to schools and charity, to sponsoring youth athletic teams, it never seems that you can ever give enough," says Harrelson. Carson Benton donates considerable time and energy serving as the Chairman for the Grand Strand Solid Waste Authority Board.

Harrelson continues: "One of our biggest problems and a major concern among employees is keeping each and every customer as happy with our service as possible. Realistically, we understand that you cannot please everyone, but we try our hardest anyway. Customer satisfaction is a top priority and is always stressed."

Marina Dock Age is a bi-monthly business magazine read by 17,000 marina industry professionals. It is published by Preston Publications, Niles, Illinois.

SCMA Elects New Board Members; Certifies Four Clean Marinas

At its recent Annual Meeting and Education Conference, members of the South Carolina Marine Association elected two new directors to the board. Jeff Boger, founder of Berry-Boger Yacht Sales in Little River, and Bryan Smith, manager of Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet, will begin three-year terms starting in January. Jack Walker, Senior Scientist at GEL Engineering in Charleston, was elected as an alternate director. Members continuing as directors include Stewart Altman from Marshalls Marine in Lake City, Rick Griffin (Immediate Past President) from Downtown Marina in Beaufort, Sherry Harrelson from Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach, Stan Jones (Vice President) from Lighthouse Marina in Chapin, Bob Pilcher (President) from St. Johns Yacht Harbor on Johns Island, Rion Salley (Treasurer) from Port Royal Landing Marina in Port Royal, Dwayne Schalles from Port Supply in Hanahan and Bob Strickland from the Marina at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach.

Long Cove Club in Hilton Head became the state’s newest Clean Marina, bringing the number statewide to 13. The following marinas were recertified: Osprey Marina, Myrtle Beach; River Hills Marina Club, Lake Wylie; and The City Marina, Charleston.

Becoming a Clean Marina involves using best management practices to be better stewards of the environment, SCMA President Bob Pilcher said in congratulating the four recipients. “It isn’t an easy process and, in some cases, involves added expenses.” The marinas go beyond normal regulatory requirements in managing potential pollutants,

keeping their facilities as green as possible and educating their customers on better environmental actions to keep our waterways clean.

Jimmy Benton Won the Ashby Ward Pioneer Award

The Ashby Ward Pioneer of the Year award, named in honor of the late Ashby Ward (president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce for nearly 30 years), was established to recognize individuals who have had a significant, positive impact on the Myrtle Beach area.

Jimmy Benton, a Myrtle Beach native, is the retired president of C.L. Benton & Sons Inc., a construction business started by his father in 1938. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, returning home to begin his career in the family business. Under his leadership, C.L. Benton & Sons was involved in much of the rebuilding after Hurricane Hazel destroyed the oceanfront in Myrtle Beach. The company is also credited with building several campgrounds and golf courses in the area and site development for Myrtle Beach’s first major mall (Myrtle Square).
Active in the community, Benton has been involved with the Myrtle Beach Rotary Club, Grand Strand Miracle League, Horry County Mental Retardation Center and Coastal Carolina University, believing strongly in the need for excellence in academia. He has served on the boards of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Coastal Federal Bank, Coker College and Dunes Golf and Beach Club.

As a testament to his contributions, Benton received the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor for service, in 2008.

“Jimmy Benton is a true son of Myrtle Beach,” Brant Branham, MBACC board chairman, said. “Over the past 70 years C. L. Benton & Sons has literally built Myrtle Beach, from the roads we ride on to the infrastructure laid for development. The company he grew helped Myrtle Beach grow, and now his two sons Carson and Lawton are following in their father’s footsteps.”

Courtesy of Myrtle Beach Herald

8400 Osprey Road, Myrtle Beach, SC  29588, 843.215.5353, Fax 843.215.5354

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8 am to 5 pm ~ Off Season

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Red Marker 26, Mile Marker 373, Lat. 33° 40' 54", Long. -79° 02' 25"