• 20 Aug

    Defiant Marine Featured in John Deere Magazine -The Dirt

    Check out the full article with photos & videos at:


    Deep-sea diving, maritime salvage, underwater infrastructure work, constructing a luxury RV park, and running an award-winning whiskey distillery are the water of life for the owner of Defiant Marine.

    Tim Ferris is no stranger to foes – and he’s become quite the expert at conquering them. With 17 years in deep-sea diving and maritime salvage, he’s traveled the world and just about seen it all. When Hurricane Sandy ran ashore in 2012, his company, Defiant Marine, was brought in to help pump out the New York City subways. When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burst in 2010, the same team helped contain and repair the damage. There’s no shortage of legendary tales with this man, and though he’s shifted gears since starting a family, his spirit of defying all odds stands strong.


    Easily considered today’s Paul Bunyan of the sea, Ferris grew up with an affinity for open waters and following the wind. “I tell people serendipity has been a factor in my life,” Ferris contextualizes his story’s major milestones. “Everyone is always telling me I find a golden horseshoe in everything – it’s hard to articulate until you’ve been around long enough to see it repeat itself.”

    No repetition required. A quick look at his résumé reveals a life fully lived. In addition to routine success working on humankind’s most massive structures and trying challenges, Ferris also runs an award-winning whiskey distillery, Defiant Whiskey, and is in the process of converting a former Girl Scout camp into a premier family campground.


    Though they appear as massive waves rolling in every direction, the foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains stand in stark contrast to Ferris’ time at sea. “After all the adrenaline of a job, coming back to the quiet of the mountains was like slamming on the brakes. The crew and I had to keep ourselves busy, so we started distilling. As time goes on, you shift gears. You meet a beautiful woman, you have a gorgeous child – you have reasons to be around. I heard rumors of the camp being for sale, so I followed my nose, and here we are.” 

    Stunning scenery aside, there’s an additional beauty to this project for Ferris. “In a decade of diving, I was home for two Christmases and one birthday. Now I get to see my family four to five times a day with no commute, let alone getting on a jet or having to sail halfway around the world.” As much as Ferris expresses it in words, the light in his eyes when daughter Katie is around says it all.


    Working 12-hour shifts while living in a pressurized tube breathing heliox for up to 28 days will convince most people that deep-sea salvage is not their ideal career. Keep in mind these are the expected details – and not even the surprises and mysteries of the deep have fazed Tim Ferris, owner of Defiant Marine. “You just tell yourself, ‘There’s no such thing as sea monsters. There’s no such thing as sea monsters.’ So, after you’ve been working in a 20-footdeep trench for six hours in totally calm waters, and one step later you’re sent ragdolling in a torrent of rapids and silt for 50 yards, you just pick yourself up and get back to work.” Ferris doesn’t bat an eye. “You just told yourself, ‘There’s no such thing as sea monsters,’ so it must have been nothing, right?”


    Sitting at a desk all day isn’t for everyone – and certainly not for Tim Ferris, owner of Defiant Marine. “I try to stay out of the office as much as I can. It doesn’t take much to get buried in paperwork, where I just run out the door screaming. I tell my wife I need some trackhoe time. The smell of fresh-cut dirt, seat time, moving earth – it makes sense to me. I call it four-wheel-drive therapy, or track therapy.” Lucky for Ferris, there’s no shortage of means to release the tension. “The biggest issue I have right now is what piece of equipment I want to be in.”


    While all the ingredients are present, prepping the old camp to become a luxury RV park requires some handiwork and rearranging plenty of earth. “We have about 11 different contractors here on a daily basis – they’re mostly helping renovate the buildings to become more suitable cabins and common areas. My crew is responsible for the bulk of the dirt work so we can include hundreds of yards of roads and bridges, a waterpark, mini-golf course, café, lounge, store, wastewater treatment plant, and tons of other amenities.”

    When it comes to the heavy lifting, Ferris relies on his 250G LC Excavator. “It’s just a beast. The controls, the lifting power – I put a guy in there and have no concern about getting these trucks loaded around the clock. We also have an 85G Excavator for the smaller landscaping tasks, and same story there. It’s great for putting these big rocks in place because the power’s there, and it also has the lighter footprint around embankments. The two help us get a lot done!”

    Putting his love for machines aside, Ferris recognizes what matters most. “Picking good equipment is easier than finding good people. I’ve been blessed. The personnel we have right now are outstanding. The camaraderie, skill, and competency – they make the worst days not just bearable but even enjoyable.”

    There’s a troubling amount of infrastructure work required in this country, especially when it comes to dams and bridges. With all our experience underwater, we’re confident in our ability to serve that growing need.

    Tim Ferris
    Owner, Defiant Marine


    While he’s always up for an adventure, Ferris foresees a more landlocked future. “There’s a troubling amount of infrastructure work required in this country, especially when it comes to dams and bridges. With all our experience underwater, we’re confident in our ability to serve that growing need.” Whichever direction Ferris chooses, it’s bound to be full steam ahead – for his company and his Deere equipment.

    Defiant Marine is serviced by James River Equipment, Asheville, North Carolina.

  • 24 Jan

    Hercules 211

    On December 02, 2017, Defiant Marine was mobilized by Blake Marine Group to conduct topside and subsea survey of the Hercules 211, a retired 157’x132’ Drill Rig manufactured by Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1980. Upon completion of the initial survey which revealed extensive damage to the rigs jacking systems and loss of hull/mat integrity, Defiant Marine crews installed (4) 8-ton Delta Flipper anchors around the rig legs to control the rigs location and protect adjacent assets. After stabilization efforts were completed Defiant aided decon teams in the removal of all contaminated fluids on board. DMI continues to provide salvage services as the rig advances into the ‘wreck removal’ phase of operations.

  • 22 Jun

    MV Sparna

    Defiant teams mobilized to assist in salvage efforts along the Columbia River. The MV Sparna, a 623-foot bulk carrier struck a large boulder and ran aground while transiting the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Washington on March 21, 2016. The vessel suffered multiple fractures in the hull, the largest being a 25-foot by 5-foot wide flooding the #1 and #2 forward bilge compartments.  Defiant Marine installed temporary external steel patches 18-foot wide by 44-foot long weighing fifty thousand pounds restoring a watertight hull and allowing access to damaged tanks.  Defiant Marine then skinned the 40-foot gash from inside the tanks and pumped 120-yards of concrete, creating a temporary patch. This allowed USCG approval for the vessel to sell to Japan and deliver the time sensitive cargo which included fifty-one thousand tons of wheat.


  • 01 Mar

    Dam Evaluation and Maintenance

    In 2016, divers were able to inspect a dam built in the 1920’s both visually and provide video evaluation for the owners.  Moving forward, Defiant Marine has been able to provide dam maintenance, gate replacement, and fabrication of remote operators.

  • 20 Nov

    Troll Solutions

    SMIT Salvage, mobilized Defiant Marine, the day of the casualty to Mexico to assist with the attempted refloat of the jack up rig. Later, Ardent Marine engaged DMI consultants to advise with the wreck removal.

  • 16 Aug

    “Billion Dollar Wreck”

    Defiant’s Founder, Tim Ferris, had the opportunity of a lifetime to join long time friend Martin Bayerle in the search for The Republic. Their adventures were documented in the History Channel Program, Billion Dollar Wreck.

  • 10 May

    Noble Danny Adkins

    After suffering a debilitating breech, Defiant Marine was brought in by SMIT for their quick mobilization and problem-solving skills. The team was able to complete a dewatering in the most difficult of situations.

  • 03 Aug

    AMT Explorer

    Mobilized by SMIT Salvage, Defiant Marine, was mobilized to Italy to parbuckle the cable lay barge AMT Explorer. The 1000-ton sheer leg Italia was used along with flooding and air to successfully parbuckle and refloat barge.



  • 08 Jun

    Ocean Crash Recovery

    On May 8, 2014, a chartered Dolphin helicopter was transporting crews between a UDW drillship and Takoradi in Ghana. The helicopter went down with 8 crew members onboard, 4 survived the crash with 4 passengers deceased.  Defiant Marine, at the request of SMIT, provided a rapid response to aid in locating and recovery of the helicopter.  The helicopter was recovered from the ocean floor.

  • 31 Mar


    In January 2013, SMIT Salvage requested Defiant Marines expertise for recovery efforts in Alaska after the drill barge Kulluk ran aground.

  • 02 Nov

    New York City Subway System

    On November 2, 2012, a Defiant Marine crew was mobilized by SMIT Salvage to assist in the dewatering of the New York City subway system. Defiant Marine was tasked with pumping out the Montague line N and R subway tubes to their deepest point under the East River. An estimated 38,000,000 gallons of water was pumped out. After 7 days of pumping 24hrs a day, the task was completed early Friday morning the 9th of November.
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  • 10 Mar

    Gelso M

    On March 10th, 2012, the combined chemical and oil tanker, Gelso M, ran aground on the rocks in Santa Panagia, Italy due to bad weather.  SMIT Salvage was called upon to respond and work with the Italian Coast Guard and local Harbor Master for the inspection and potential salvage.  After inspection, SMIT called upon Defiant Marine to provide a five-man crew for the remediation of any potential environmental threats, such as hydrocarbons or hazardous cargo.  Defiant Marine’s team worked with SMIT to provide efficient and effective emergency response and the job was successfully completed to the satisfaction of Italian authorities.


  • 19 Jan

    M.V. Aristeas P

    Defiant Marine assisted SMIT Salvage on the refloating of the M.V. Aristeas P grounded in Argentina on the Parana River.  Defiant Marine had the pleasure of working with SMIT salvage master Captain Jeroen Mooij and Naval Architect, Chris Law, from Martin Ottaway.

  • 01 Dec

    Defiant Marine puts finishing touches on the distillery

    Tucked into a quiet hollow of one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, in Golden Valley, North Carolina, Blue Ridge Distilling Co. is coming to life.  The distillery is the vision of Defiant Marine, Inc.’s President, Tim Ferris.  Home from recent international projects, the Defiant Marine crew is working hard to put the finishing touches on the distillery that will produce premium single-malt vodka and whiskey, as well as seasonal fruit brandies. For pictures of the distillery, go to

  • 11 Oct

    Jolly Amaranto

    On December 11, 2010, the Jolly Amaranto capsized and sank in the port of Alexandria, Egypt.  Defiant Marine was recruited to provide expertise in 2 different phases of the salvage/recovery.  Both SMIT and Titan Salvage chose the skill of Defiant Marine who spent nearly 8 months of 2011 working in all aspects of the salvage.


  • 03 Oct

    Associate Member of the International Salvage Union

    Defiant Marine, Inc. was approved as an Associate Member of the International Salvage Union.  The International Salvage Union (ISU) member salvorsprovide essential services for the world’s maritime and insurance communities. Members are engaged in marine casualty response, pollution defense, wreck removal, cargo recovery, towage and related activities. Visit for more information about the ISU.

  • 03 Oct

    Defiant Marine, inducted into (ASA)

    Defiant Marine, Inc. was inducted into the American Salvage Association (ASA) as a Corporate Associate Member during its annual meeting on October 3rd, 2011 in Arlington, VA.  The American Salvage Association represents the interests of the marine salvage industry.  The American Salvage Association works to educate the public and government about the role of the marine salvor in protecting life, the environment, and property from the consequences and perils of water transportation.  Defiant Marine, Inc. is proud to be able to contribute to the goals of the American Salvage Association.  Visit to find out more about the ASA.

  • 20 Sep

    Deepwater Horizon

    In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, an ultra-Deepwater offshore drilling rig, suffered an explosion that killed 11 crewmen and caused the largest oil spill in US waters.  Resolve Marine mobilized Defiant Marine, to assist, providing several independent teams to manage oil recovery and mitigation.