From his United States Coastguard 10-Ton Master’s License, to his extensive knowledge of boat propulsion and electrical systems, to his experience as a crew member on an Alaskan fishing trawler, to his years as a sailing instructor, Chris brings a uniquely broad perspective to his work as the owner and president of Santa Cruz Marine Services.
Chris developed an interest in all things mechanical and electrical at an early age. As a child who spent years in foster care, he found solace in an often-chaotic environment by taking apart anything he could get his hands on. If he wasn’t deep in thought behind a mountain of components, he escaped on all-day bike adventures that led frequently led to the ocean. Chris quickly learned that he could earn tips by detailing commercial fishing vessels and cleaning charter customers’ catch, and while he relished his time at the marina, he initially applied his mechanical talents to land-based pursuits. After hustling to locate unusual parts for customers at the local junkyard and subsequently impressing the instructor of an ROP class as a teenager, Chris landed a job at the local auto shop, where he mastered welding, body work, and the intricacies of repairing internal combustion engines.
While cars were interesting, Chris felt himself continually drawn to the ocean. In a happy twist of fate that would lead to a longstanding passion, Chris was introduced to the sailing team at UC Santa Cruz. Initially he focused on maintaining the team’s fleet of racing boats, but as time went on, he traded his labor for sailing lessons, ultimately completing every course the team offered. He participated in several races and became a sailing instructor.
Chris’ burgeoning boat customization skills deepened rapidly when he took a job at the iconic Moore Sailboats in Watsonville. Within a matter of months Chris found himself managing projects as a de-facto foreman, and by time he moved to Alaska to pursue a new adventure eighteen months later, he had mastered a set of critical competencies that he continues to draw upon today.
In a true trial-by-fire, Chris devoted ten sleepless weeks to completely refurbishing a 60-year-old Alaskan wooden fishing vessel. While some of the work involved such contemporary projects as overhauling the boat’s steering system, Chris also taught himself to perform centuries-old tasks such as hammering cotton into seams and building a steam box to bend oak ribs. To round out his time up North, Chris joined the crew and found his sea legs as a deep-sea fisherman.
In 2013 Chris returned to California, spent a rewarding year as a Tow Boat US captain, and subsequently launched Santa Cruz Marine Services. From humble beginnings in a shop trailer, under Chris’ energetic leadership Santa Crew Marine Services has grown into a regional leader in marine customization and repair services.
Chris met his wife, Liz, in 2017, and he counts convincing her to marry him as one of his greatest accomplishments. When Chris is able to escape the shop, he enjoys scuba diving, spear fishing, boating, and spending time with Liz and the other member of his family – his faithful canine companion, Oliver.
Connor has enjoyed a strong connection to the sea during his 24 years as a Santa Cruz native. While always fascinated by the ocean, he never imagined that he would have the opportunity to master the diverse set of skills that are required to improve and repair boats in his hometown. Under Chris’ tutelage, Connor has had the opportunity to refurbish a discontinued model of boat to better-than-new quality, dive into the complex conversion of a catamaran to electric propulsion, create custom parts, perform detailed fiberglass work, install marine electronics, and expertly finish brightwork and cabinetry (among many other skills). Above all else, though, Connor has developed a tight bond with his coworkers, who can best be described as family. He relishes the positive feedback he receives from clients, and in his free time he looks forward to sharing aquatic adventures ranging from sailing to spearfishing with the Santa Cruz Marine Services crew.
Nestor credits his work at Santa Cruz Marine Services with not only introducing him to a close group of friends, but also with immersing him in a new world of experiences. Beyond the satisfaction of learning how to build structures made of carbon fiber and apply marine paint with precision, Nestor has developed an entirely new relationship with the ocean after accompanying his team on dive expeditions, fishing trips and a week-long sailing expedition to the Channel Islands. Nestor’s fascination with the myriad moods and diverse biology of the sea increases with each adventure, and the more he learns, the clearer it becomes that the work he does is not only rewarding, but is also critically important in ensuring that clients of Santa Cruz Marine Services are able to enjoy their time on a beautiful but unrelenting ocean.
Elizabeth Forrest was born and raised in Ventura, California, and her lifelong connection with the sea was deepened by working for several years as an ocean lifeguard. She subsequently earned a degree in agricultural business from Chico State, and after exploring the challenges associated with working with several different crops, she fell in love with the berry industry – a passion that has led to a rewarding ten-year career at Driscoll. Elizabeth and Chris met in 2017 and immediately bonded over their shared loved of boating, sailing, spearfishing, and dogs. Since marrying Chris in 2018, Elizabeth has devoted many late nights and weekends to helping the Santa Cruz Marine Services team finish countless projects, and her considerable skillset includes fiberglass fabrication/repair and woodworking. When not busy at Driscoll or lending a hand at Santa Cruz Marine Services, you can usually find Elizabeth in, on, or around in the ocean. Among many talents, Elizabeth has handily won more than a few spearfishing contests over the years.