By Bryce Guerrero
ShipRight boat shop owner Christopher Young seems to be one of those called to the sea, his life’s outcomes dictated by the boats his family sailed on. The ocean’s call was first heeded by Young’s mother and imparted to his father and like the crashing of waves on a cliff over many years, it sculpted Young’s childhood.
Though Young’s father had never seen the immense expanse of blue by the time he was middle-aged, he undertook the project of building a boat for his wife. While his father worked on the boat, modeling its construction off of blueprint layouts, Young was always nearby lending his small hand.
“I was born into it,” he said.
The completion of the boat eight years later marked the beginning of a life at sea for Young and his family, hopping from country to country and port to port.
Along the way the family accumulated great stories to tell — stories of narrow escapes from modern-day pirates, of being hauled into a high-security harbor to escape a storm and various other maritime adventures that accompanied the oceangoing family. Young would work directly under his father as they traveled, finding boat repair jobs abundant — those jobs sometimes being the family’s source of exchange for food.
Eventually, the seas brought the family to Guam, where they only intended to stay for a couple of weeks, but with only $5 in their possession, the family took up residence. In Guam, he met a girl down the street who would soon become his high school sweetheart and later, his wife. Her name was Amanda.
Young went to college to study technology but quickly realized he wanted to work for himself and remain in the boating industry. So in their early 20s, among other day jobs, Young and his wife started ShipRight as a sole proprietorship from their house, being on-call and on-site for tour boats that needed repairs in order to meet recertification standards. Soon, they realized their trade was in high demand — not only on the commercial level, but the private level as well.
“We found this big hole in the market where people kept asking us, ‘Can you rebuild my boat?’ and I’m like, ‘No, I can’t. I don’t have a spot, and I don’t have the time,’” Young said.
That is, until the perfect opportunity came for the couple to expand their business.
Chris and Amanda chanced upon a 7,000-square-foot warehouse right across from the Hagåtña Boat Basin, a perfect location for ShipRight to set up shop.
“There’s no such thing as coincidence, in my opinion,” Chris said.
Since 2012, the couple has transitioned their company into a corporation that focuses heavily on customer service. Young’s goal for ShipRight is to give everybody they interact with something that will make them grateful, even if it means pointing customers to boat shops that will better meet their needs or providing materials for local competition.
Young’s success with ShipRight is apparent with its growth and expansion of products and services. Not only did he transition it from sole proprietorship into a corporation, but he also became a dealer of Suzuki motors and opened a new storefront in March to sell various marine materials.
Life on a boat, for the most part, seems to be over for Young, but still he works on boats to help others maintain their own seafaring lifestyle. After all the years of having his life depend on the reliability and the integrity of boats, Young’s purpose and unofficial motto for the boats he works on is, “We do right by her, so she does right by you.”
Christopher Young as a child helping his dad build a boat.