In 2014, Houghton Marine Service, Inc. celebrated over 35 years servicing Winthrop and Boston Harbors. Winthrop’s only mooring service company, Houghton Marine is known for personalized and responsive customer service while offering great knowledge of the harbors, yacht clubs and marinas in the area. We provide service to over 500 private boat owners and serve most of the marinas in Boston and Winthrop Harbors.
A family owned and operated business; we pride ourselves in working with our customers to tailor the mooring that is designed specifically for each customer’s needs using the best products available in the marine industry while making it affordable whenever possible.
Our primary business is providing our customers with their seasonal mooring service which includes a spring and fall inspection of the mooring equipment, as well as storage of pennants and pick up buoys during the off season. We also design and install new custom-made mooring set ups. Additional services include: repair of marine tackle when needed, providing small boat salvage that includes seawater pump out service, minor dock repair and custom-made boat pennants and custom-made permanent marina dock lines specific to your boat docking needs.
About Us/ history
Joe and Peg Houghton are the founders of Houghton Marine Services, Inc. Although Peg helps with the books It was Joe’s vision and hard work that truly started the business. He built the business from scratch. In 1979, Joe saw a need for a mooring service in Winthrop and surrounding waters. It was through this vision and hard work that Joe and Peg started a proprietorship in 1979 and then incorporated in 1988.
In 1979, newly married and with no start up money, Joe began his business using a wooden raft with a hole in the middle rigged with a tripod frame and a chain fall suspending from the frame. This enabled him to pull the moorings up with his hands. He had 25-30 customers his first year. The word got around quickly that Joe was a reliable and needed resource for getting your mooring set up, and within 2 years the customer base grew.
As his customer base grew, Joe knew he had to get bigger. So in 1983, Joe bought a wooden barge rigged to be pushed with a wooden lobster boat. This served him for a few more years but became hard for him to man alone. 1985 Joe built a plywood pilot house on the barge and added an outboard motor. In 1989 Joe and Peg made a decision to buy a 26 foot steel hulled push boat with a crane so the business could serve bigger boats and expand to other harbors. The push boat came with a Detroit diesel engine that was left over from WWII but served to be a reliable motor. Peg and Joe named the boat, Amaris, after their two children; Amanda and Chris. That year they also set up the current shop at Rice’s Wharf.
During these years, Joe continued to work with the Winthrop Harbor Masters to design mooring areas throughout Winthrop that were organized and safe for boaters. He proved to be a reliable, knowledgeable and trusted resource to both the Harbormaster and his customers. His customer base grew to as many as 650 customers. He also began to get work from organizations and private marinas in Boston Harbor, the Islands and also up the Mystic River as far as Medford.
In 2004 Houghton Marine made the decision to sell the Amaris and build a mooring hauler that would allow them to pull heavier moorings in Boston Harbor as well as salvage small boats and perform dock repair. Joe had the Iron Eagle built in Rockport Maine with twin diesel engines and an aluminum hull and crane. Iron Eagle is what we use today.
Although his son, Chris, always helped his Dad as he was growing up, he officially joined the team in 2012. Also, Joe’s nephew Brian Houghton, has been a part of the crew for the last 10 years and Peg still does the books. It is a true family affair.
Although Peg and Joe live in Marblehead today, Joe and Peg grew up Winthrop. Joe spent his youth on the waters of Winthrop Harbor and lived on Point Shirley. As a teenager and young adult, Joe was a Sea Scout and a deputy harbormaster. Also in 1979, the same year he started Houghton Marine Service, Joe became a full time Firefighter at Massachusetts Port Authority Fire Department and later worked on the Marine unit. In his work as both a Massport Fire fighter and owner of Houghton Marine, he worked all year round on the water and in Winthrop and Boston Harbors ensuring safety and security in the Logan Airport area. In both of his jobs, Joe established relationships with business owners and customers. These relationships are what make Houghton Marine a strong and reliable business and give each of his customers confidence in Joe as a person, business owner and boater. In the years post 9/11, on two separate occasions, Joe offered the Amaris and then the Iron Eagle as platforms for Massport emergency drills in the harbor. Now retired from the fire department, Joe can now devotes all his time to the business and his many customers.
Houghton Marine is a business built on honest hard work. Joe knows all his customers by name and treats everyone fairly and with a customized approach to their needs. Houghton Marine uses only the best and up to date marine equipment on the market today. This insures that we can stand by the products we sell.
Please give Joe or Chris a call to discuss your boating needs. They are happy to help you out in any way they can. And wish them a Happy 36th Anniversary. We at Houghton Marine are proud to have come a long way.