Andy Bronson / The Herald                                 Kelly Jane Heindel cleans and details a 40-foot yacht at the Everett Marina.

Andy Bronson / The Herald Kelly Jane Heindel cleans and details a 40-foot yacht at the Everett Marina.

With mop, brush and elbow grease, she sweats the details

Kelly Jane Heindel started her own Everett business cleaning boats — from wheelhouse to waterline.

EVERETT — After a month at anchor, the motor vessel Destiny was in need of a good scrubbing.

There to answer the call with a stiff mop and brush was Kelly Jane Heindel, founder of Green Heron Boat Detail.

Heindel, clad in olive-green rubber boots and overalls, climbed aboard the 40-foot yacht, ready with the elbow grease.

“It will take me about three or four hours to finish,” she said over the scruff, scruff, scruff of the short-handled dish brush she began pushing across the deck.

The Everett company offers interior and exterior boat cleaning, vessel checks and full details, from the wheelhouse to the waterline.

On the dock, her dog, Josie, a chocolate Labrador, “the dock troll,” kept watch.

“She helps me take a break. Sometimes I work, work, work,” said Heindel, a stickler for detail who promises to “break out the toothbrushes!” when required.

The worst time of the year for cars and boats? “When the birds are feasting on blackberries,” she said. “Their poop sticks to everything.”

Looks aren’t everything, she said.

“It’s not just about keeping your boat looking pretty and shiny — the sun can do a lot of damage,” Heindel said.

Fiberglass vessels, in particular, need regular washing and waxing to keep the protective top coat intact. The top layer, known as the gelcoat, protects the fiberglass and other materials from sun and water damage.

When salt dries on the surface and stays there it can cause the gelcoat to turn yellow and crack, Heindel said.

“You want to keep the shine on a boat so that it reflects the UV rays,” she explained.

Andy Bronson / The Herald                                 Kelly Jane Heindel takes her chocolate lab, Josie, for a ride in a cart at the Everett Marina. She has been operating her own boat cleaning business, Green Heron Boat Detail, since she was 26.

Andy Bronson / The Herald Kelly Jane Heindel takes her chocolate lab, Josie, for a ride in a cart at the Everett Marina. She has been operating her own boat cleaning business, Green Heron Boat Detail, since she was 26.

Heindel, 31, who’s never been one for desk jobs, founded Green Heron six years ago.

She was 25 and determined to strike out on her own.

At that point, she’d already racked up a couple years of experience cleaning boats.

“I decided to jump in and start my own business,” Heindel said. “I said to myself, ‘I can do that!’”

A side hustle helped her stay afloat. “I took a job as a waitress and kept at it,” she said.

A customer introduced her to Performance Marine at the Port of Everett, and Heindel began doing detail work for them.

“She does a really good job,” said Dave Bowen, service advisor at Performance Marine.

Kelly Jane Heindel cleans a 40-foot yacht at the Everett Marina. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Kelly Jane Heindel cleans a 40-foot yacht at the Everett Marina. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

And that brings her to her wish: She’d like to expand her business and add employees.

“There’s no shortage of work there,” said Heindel, gesturing toward the Everett marina. With some 2,300 boats, it’s the largest public marina on the West Coast.

“I could use eight to 10 people,” she said.

But through the years there have been few takers.

“It’s a physically demanding job. It’s hard to find good, reliable people with an eye for detail,” Heindel said.

On the plus side: “It’s outdoors. You keep moving. The day goes fast. It’s a nice community down there at the marina.”

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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