{ PERSON OF INTEREST }

ANCHORS AWEIGH

Captain Ann is a port in the storm for boaters from around the world

BY JILL MARR

Over the last four decades, Seabreeze Books & Charts has become an institution in the maritime community of San Diego and beyond, offering a unique assortment of products to boaters worldwide. Recognized as the best-stocked nautical bookstore on the West Coast, Seabreeze offers a selection of marine maps and nautical charts as well as books and navigational tools. The Seabreeze crew includes licensed captains, live-aboard boaters and experienced cruisers. But it’s owner Captain Ann Kinner who really adds something special to the shop.

Captain Ann has owned the shop since she purchased it back in 2004, after she had worked part-time in the store for many years. Ann had been self-employed for most of her working life, so taking ownership of a store she already enjoyed spending time in seemed a natural fit. The previous owner approached her and said that she was the perfect person to take over the place when he retired, particularly because of her on-the-water experience and lifetime love of books.

It’s not only Ann’s know-how and her love of boating that keeps people coming back year after year and season after season, but also an unwavering commitment to her customers. “We make friends with people,” she says. “We are all about making sure that we keep people safe so that they will come back and want to turn around and go on another adventure.”

Captain Ann grew up in Newport, R.I., sailing on the beautiful Narragansett Bay. Her lifetime love of the ocean combined with her fascination with the complexities and the mysteries of weather and the practical magic of navigation led her to make boating her full-time focus. Now based in San Diego, and a California resident since 1970, Ann is very familiar with harbors from Ensenada to Santa Barbara and has traveled the Baja California coasts extensively.

In addition to teaching sailing and powerboat handling, Captain Ann has worked with TowBoatUS as their primary watch-stander and rescue boat driver in San Diego and has seen firsthand the many ways even experienced boaters can find themselves in trouble. According to Ann, “The hardest part of any boating operation is when you are close to something—slips, buoys, you name it. It’s difficult, maneuvering in close quarters at slow speed. Bumpy seas or interesting weather offer their own difficulties. But it’s close quarters that really challenge boaters.”

Jeff Wallis
Jeff Wallis

Loyal Seabreeze clients include research vessels, commercial and recreational fishing vessels, U.S. government agencies, work boats and private vessels of all sizes. And Captain Ann is there to keep them all safe. Knowing where they are going and what to expect is crucial. “You never have a deadline on a boat,” she explains. “If the weather is bad, you ain’t going.” She defines success as being able to provide a service for others while making a living for herself—and ultimately doing something she believes in. Captain Ann may live on a boat, but these days, Seabreeze keeps her busy, limiting her time on the water. But her ultimate reward comes from making certain that her customers’ voyages are something to remember.