Our Boating History

Boating History

“Taking Over the Helm” – a story in The Mosman Park Post by David Hudleson

Post story by David Hudleson

By David Hudleston (The Post 2016). Transcription below.

After 45 years repairing boats at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club Kerry Davies reckons it is time to slow down and enjoy life. So at 75, he has bought himself a small yacht and is slowly handing over his clients to his son, Mosman Park South ward councillor Wesley Davies (proprietor of Swansea Marine).

I am not retiring completely.
I like something to do and while I can do something, I will do it.
– Kerry

Wesley who started SwanSea Marine in 2012 after finishing work in the Oil, gas and mining industry, is gradually taking over from Kerry’s Mosman Marine business.

All the difficult jobs Kerry doesn’t want he passes to me
– Wesley

The Davies family has been part of the Mosman Park landscape for five generations. Kerry’s grandmother was a member of the Skipworth clan, one of Mosman Park’s founding families.

Kerry started working at Freshie when Wesley was a year old. He is also one of the young hero’s honoured by Three Boys Park in Fairlight Street.

The park marks the former family home of Jeffery Dalziel, who drowned during a heroic rescue off Yallingup on April 23, 1962. That Easter weekend, Jeffery, Kerry and Cliff Hills, of Cottesloe, were swimming at Yallingup when local surfer Geoffrey Jolly needed to be rescued. Jeffery and Cliff risked high seas to rescue Geoffrey and all three of them had returned to shore when Jeff was swept out to sea again. Kerry, then 20 swam out to Jeffery and stayed with him for more than two hours in ferocious seas, but unfortunately Jefferey drowned. The Royal Humane Society of Australia awarded medals to Kerry and Cliff and a posthumous one to Jeffery.

Kerry was a tractor fitter by trade before starting work on fishing boats.

They didn’t pay very much so I started work at the old Fremantle Foundry on the big ships in the harbour, then left there to work on smaller boats. Climbing in and out of boats has done me a lot of good health wise though now I am starting to stiffen up, but I am glad to do three or four hours’ work a day.
– Kerry

Kerry was still working on farm machinery until 20 years ago.

Wesley did his time as a marine mechanic in Fremantle during the heady days of the America’s Cup in the 80s. Since his return to working on boats in 2012, the pair have been in what Wesley describes as gentlemanly completion.

Wesley’s takeover is giving me less and less work, but I’ve got other things to do. I still look after all these wooden boats.
– Kerry

The group moored at the jetty, include the pre-war Hiawatha of WA Newspapers fame.

I put a new engine in Hiawatha during a major refit of the whole boat. I did the engine room and mechanicals. It was really quite a challenge, but because it turned out perfect it was really great.

Kerry built his business by word of mouth.

You’ve got to do a good job and get the recommendation. Usually people don’t need something don urgently, so I was always working on a job I could leave and come back to the next day. So if boat owners were stuck I could help them. That’s the way I’ve built my business.
– Kerry

And Wesley is continuing the family tradition, but he has added a digital dimension with this website (swanseamarine.com) and a Facebook page to keep clients up to date.

Fixing boats and not patching them up is something we are passionate about. With a combined experience of more than 65 years, SwanSea Marine aims to provide complete boat maintenance from rebuilds to refits.
– Wes

The men live around the corner from each other and are just five minutes from the club.

Being local means we can provide better service for western suburbs.
– Kerry

It’s a pretty good situation and most of the time the sun is shining.

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