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Dec. 13, 2018
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Bay-Assist brings marine services/diving to Lake Lanier

By Pamela A. Keene
 
In a flash, John Webb’s life changed forever. As a soldier in Iraq serving in the Army, he was hit by a chlorine bomb in 2007. Today, he’s on the waiting list for a double-lung transplant. He’s also owner of Bay-Assist, a marine services, grading and a dive salvage company that got its start in St. Thomas. 
 
Webb hasn’t let his injuries slow him down. Once he left the Army, he returned to Savannah, where he had graduated from Armstrong Atlantic State University (now part of Georgia Southern University). He had worked with an engineering firm in Savannah before joining the Army, but he decided to take a break. 
 
“You can sit around and mope all day,” he said, “or you can get out, work and enjoy life.” For Webb, getting out included leaving Savannah and moving to St. Thomas. There in 2011, he started a charter business, taking tourists on day trips, lobstering and spear-fishing. 
 
“I quickly realized there was a need for commercial divers in the marine construction business so I shifted my focus,” he said. “We designed and built sea-water intakes for hotels, rebuilt docks, including a major upgrade from a dock for 1,000-foot, 250-ton per foot design load cruise ships to one that can handle 1,400-foot, 1,000-ton per foot design load ships.”
 
The company expanded to the Gulf Coast and globally. Last year, he found out that he would need a double-lung transplant, so he moved back to his hometown of Dahlonega to be near his family and get medical treatment at the Veterans’ Hospital and Emory. His move with his wife Laurel and their children included relocating his business and making more changes.
 
“As my injuries got worse over time, I realized that I couldn’t dive, but I can still supervise,” he said. “We came up here and I decided to move all our equipment up here and start over.” 
 
His new business, Bay-Assist, has embraced Northeast Georgia. The company is donating time and services to the community, including providing its skid-steer to the recent Lake Lanier Association Shore Sweep, and assisting with the removal of derelict docks and other work. He’s also actively working with commercial clients.
 
Bay-Assist’s services include grading, tree clearing, bush-hog work, towing, salvage, commercial diving and marine construction. 
 
For more information, visit www.bay-assist.com or call 706 482-8197.


Posted online 11/30/18
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