Traveling With Tranquility


Spotlighting the Gribble Yacht, Tranquil Shellback Dreams

By Gray Bennett / Photography by Rich Smith

Life on the water has been a constant for Mike Gribble his entire life. He grew up on the lake, fishing with his dad and skiing with family and friends through high school. During his second year of college, he joined the Navy to pursue his dream of traveling the world. He was married to his wife Kim in 2009, and it only made sense that they would continue their adventures on the water during their retirement.


mike gribble manuvering his yacht

With plans to take on the Great Loop one day, the Gribbles worked with the team at Erwin Marine to purchase a Sea Ray 480 Sedan Bridge. Mike and Kim share their gratitude in special recognition of Michael Porter at Erwin Marine for his help throughout the process of finding and learning all about their new boat.

mike and kim gribble on their yacht

“Before we got our boat, we had an RV and went camping regularly for about eight years,” shares Kim. “Mike would always admire the boats we saw by the lakeside, and say, ‘That could be us!’ Now, we have the best of both worlds with our camper on the water.”

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dining area in mike gribble's yacht

After investing in the yacht in November of  2023, the Gribbles renamed the boat with an official boat renaming ceremony. It received its new name – Tranquil Shellback Dreams – in reference to Mike’s experience in the Navy as he crossed the equator and became a Shellback. Proud to return to the water after Mike’s five years of service, the Gribbles say their current “tranquil dream” is to make new memories together while exploring the Tennessee River and the surrounding Chattanooga area.

lounge area in mike gribble's yacht

“We are currently getting used to our new boat,” says Mike. “With winter behind us, we plan on taking short trips until Kim retires, spending time with friends on the water at concerts, UT games, and progressing into longer trips until we get to do the Great Loop.”

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bedroom in mike gribble's yachtWhile sitting on the back deck to soak up the sun or listening to the stereo at the helm, what means most to Mike and Kim is sharing the experience with others. They share that Chatta-nooga’s boating community has been welcoming and supportive from the start, saying, “Most boaters are always willing to help and share their knowledge in times of need.” In addition to new connections with their fellow boaters, they look forward to having more adventures together with friends, family members, and their two boxers, Chevy and Daisy.

mike and kim gribble on their yacht in chattanooga

While gearing up for the summer months, Tranquil Shellback Dreams is ready with all the space they need for upcoming trips with friends and family. Kim notes the convenience of the spacious interior, including three staterooms, two full heads, washer and dryer, refrigerator, freezer, stove, and dinette. While three air conditioning units keep them cool no matter the weather, cherry wood, tan carpet, Corian countertops, and a tan leather interior round out the salon and galley in style.

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mike gribble's yacht in chattanooga

“There’s plenty of room for everyone to be comfortable here! The surrounding windows in the salon and galley make for great views and bring in plenty of light. The electric couch in the galley can unfold for an additional bed, and there’s also hidden extra storage space for everything we would need on a longer trip,” explains Kim.

Other favorite features for Mike and Kim include the boat’s twin diesels, easy maneuverability, cruising speed, and smooth idle. “She has large fuel tanks for extended travel,” Mike says. “She can cruise at 8 to 11 knots and has the power to get up and run at 30 plus knots should we need the speed.” As a new captain, Mike explains that the location of the helm is also especially helpful. The helm is located in the center and aft of the bridge, providing a full view of the stern for ease when it comes to backing into slips and pulling into the dock.

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mike gribble's yacht in chattanooga

“We enjoy the freedom and tranquility of the beautiful open water, shorelines, wildlife, and friendships with fellow boaters.” – Kim Gribble

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mike gribble with passenger on his yacht

When asked about his most fond boating memory so far, Mike shares his overwhelming pride in his recently earned captain’s license. Mike officially met U.S. Coast Guard qualifications and obtained his Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vehicles (OUPV) captain’s license on May 12, 2024, and the adventurous couple has been eager to continue exploring the water ever since.

“We enjoy the freedom and tranquility of the beautiful open water, shorelines, wildlife, and friendships with fellow boaters,” says Kim. “We look forward to spending more time with our dock mates, friends, and family on our dream boat.”

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