Meet Houghton Marine Service

Meet Houghton Marine Service

Peg, tell us about Houghton Marine Service and why you and Joe started it. Houghton Marine Service is a mooring service company maintaining moorings for customers in Marblehead, Salem, Nahant, and Swampscott Harbors. We serve boaters with new installation of moorings and yearly maintenance of their moorings. We have a custom built mooring hauler with industry leading equipment that allows us to offer the best service for all types of moorings. Joe and I started our business 45 years ago in Winthrop Harbor, where we both grew up. In 1978 we bought a boat in Winthrop and saw the need for a mooring service in Winthrop Harbor. Given Joe’s love for boating and his background as a Deputy Harbormaster, it seemed natural for Joe to jump in and start a business to serve this need. The business began in 1979 and grew from 30 customers the first year, to over 700 as Joe expanded his service to Boston and South Boston Harbors. We built a reputation of honesty and responsiveness which our customers appreciated. In 2021 we sold off our customer base in Winthrop and moved our business and our equipment up to Marblehead, to the town we have lived in and loved since 1983. We continue to offer the same customer focused service with honesty and integrity wherever we serve our customers.

What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? Customer service must be your priority when you are in the service industry. Boating can be expensive, but we try to work with the customer to help make it as reasonable as possible. It’s important to build good relationships whether it is with a client or the harbormasters in all the harbors we work in, as well as other mooring companies. We work well with everyone with one goal and that is to make our customers happy within the bylaws of the town.

What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? There are so many wonderful places in Marblehead, but given that we love to be on the water, there is no better place than enjoying our 32′ Legacy, the North Star, on our mooring in Marblehead Harbor. The only other best place is on the deck of the Boston Yacht Club at sunset. 

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? My first meeting with Joe was a bit unconventional. When I was a teenager, a friend and I were heading back to Winthrop Harbor from a sailing regatta in Boston. The Thistle sailboat we were sailing capsized as we passed by the end of the Logan Airport runway because a plane was coming in, throwing its wind as it landed. At the time, Joe was working as a Deputy Harbormaster. He and the Harbormaster saw the boat capsize and came to the rescue. So, my first meeting with Joe was when he hauled me out of the water and into the boat. After that, Joe and I started dating in High School and got married in 1978. Also, we both have careers outside of Houghton Marine. Joe had a 32-year career as a Firefighter/ EMT on the Marine Unit at Mass Port Fire and Peg had a 43-year career in Radiology, retiring as a Radiology Administrator. We now focus our time in building our business in Marblehead and surrounding harbors. Boating is certainly in our blood; it brought us together and keeps us together. 

Houghton Marine Service
Peggy & Joseph Houghton
(781) 631-9338

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