Crates MarineA great home port

By Andy Adams

Everything that’s old is new again…what was long ago the highly respected Morch Marine is now Crate Marine Belleville – same great location and service, but all new facilities and staff.

This is the fifth operating year since Crate Marine Belleville opened in 2013 when it was just Ryan Crate and one senior technician that he brought with him from the family's old location in Keswick. All the other staff have come from the Belleville area. The business now supports three full-time technicians offering both Volvo Penta and Mercury and MerCruiser certification plus an up-and-coming technician that they are putting through school.

Crate Marine Sign

Easy to see from the road, this gives a sense of the size of the property.

Ryan knew people through his family’s old location in Keswick, who had this property in Belleville and wanted to develop it. Ryan saw the great opportunity to establish his own business, and he moved to Belleville to design the marina the way he wanted it. He put a full year into getting to know the Belleville area before they opened. Ryan Crate is both the owner and operator of the business.

Crate Marine OpenHis great-grandfather started their family business in the marine industry in Keswick, Ontario as a boat builder back in the depression. The Crate family has a long history as knowledgeable and capable marina operators. This now includes both the Crate Marine Belleville location as well as Crate’s Lake Country Boats operated by Ryan's uncle and cousins in Orillia, Ontario.

The Crate Marine Belleville location has long been a choice location for recreational boaters because it is on the Moira River with access to the Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario, yet it enjoys a very sheltered location close to the historic downtown of Belleville.

Ryan Crate


Ryan Crate by the launch ramp with the Travel Lift in the background.

Many years ago another very successful marina was located on the same property; Morch’s Marine. The Morch family were also well known for boatbuilding and sailing. Ian Morch was one of the founders of Canada’s famous C&C Yachts back in the 1970s and 80s. His marina business was a booming success especially the Harbor Club located there, but in the ensuing years, the founders passed on and the business had become derelict.

The old buildings were taken down to make way for the bright, spacious and modern facility that Ryan Crate has now developed. In time, the owners of the property itself are planning a multiuse condominium development and for the moment, the marina is both the first step, and is planned to be the jewel in the crown.

Adjacent to the property, down a pleasant walking path is the Travelodge Hotel who have a partnership with Crate Marine. The attractive waterfront hotel includes a swimming pool, tennis courts and a very appealing cooperative arrangement with Crate Marine. The Crate Marine customers have access to the hotel amenities like the swimming pool and tennis courts plus, they receive preferential rates at the hotel for their own use or their friends and guests.

Guests of the hotel receive access to the Crate Marine facility where some transient slips are held for hotel guests.

Travelodge MotelThe Travelodge Hotel is a short walk away.

It's a great arrangement. Visiting boaters can tie up, spend a night or two in the comfort of the Travel Lodge while their boat is being fueled, pumped out and readied for the next leg of their journey, wherever they may be going.

Of course many will want to stay at the marina. Ryan Crate has added barbecues and some attractive landscaping features to make it more of a summer home for resident and transient boaters.

Belleville represents an ideal location, not just for people boating on Lake Ontario but for people coming through the Trent Severn or from the Thousand Islands as well as many American ports. Boaters from Québec also find this an ideal place to stop.

The Bay of Quinte is very scenic, sheltered and the Prince Edward County area with its wineries and restaurants, has become hugely popular.

At the moment, Crate Marine has 200 slips and as word has gotten around, they're mostly booked. Ryan Crate now has plans to expand with more 25 foot and 30 foot slips in the coming year to meet the demand from family and fishing customers. Even smaller boats have lots of places to go such as Picton, Nappanee, Sand Banks and many others. It's a great fish habitat as well, with lots of the shelter for those big lunkers. The shallows there offer a weedy and very productive fish habitat.

That’s not good for boats though and so Crate Marine Belleville has invested in a weed control system that keeps the marina virtually free of weeds.

That sort of maintenance and upkeep is just the beginning. The marina has invested in a 15 metric ton Marine Travel Lift. They offer traveling service by their certified Mercury and Volvo Penta technicians and there is a ship's store and chandlery as well as a canvas and upholstery shop right there at the marina.

The Crate Marine Belleville people can undertake any kind of service work right up to major repairs and even full restorations.

They also have a new 25-ton hydraulic trailer, a new launch ramp, gas and diesel fuel on the water and a new pump out system too.

On top of everything else, it's a large facility with plenty of room for new storage customers. More and more people are discovering that the combination of service and storage at Crate’s is an ideal solution for their needs.

Once people try out the storage, they discover all the other wonderful services that Crates Belleville can provide and it's no surprise that they quickly want to make this their home port.

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