Safe Harbor (film)

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Safe Harbor
Poster of the movie Safe Harbor.jpg
Written by Josef Anderson
Directed by Jerry Jameson
Starring Nancy Travis
Treat Williams
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Dan Paulson
Norton Wright
Distributor Hallmark Channel
Original channel Hallmark Channel
Original release
  • May 30, 2009 (2009-05-30)

Safe Harbor is a 2009 television film based on a true story[1][2] starring Treat Williams and Nancy Travis. The film first aired on Hallmark Channel on May 30, 2009.[3][4][5]

Plot summary[edit]

Doug (Treat Williams) and Robbie Smith (Nancy Travis) are a happily married couple about to retire and spend their days cruising around the world on their sailboat. But before they have the chance to leave, their good friend Judge David Roberts (Orson Bean), asks them to care for two teenage boys he sentenced to juvenile hall. The facility is currently at capacity and the judge tells the couple that, instead of being sent to county jail, the boys can help them prepare their boat for sailing day. The Smiths agree and soon take on two more boys with similar circumstances.

The Smiths are soon faced with a variety of challenges from the boys, their surly attitude and a fire on the boat. Ultimately, Doug and Robbie see positive changes in the four young men, who are now reluctant to leave their new "family." Doug and Robbie also see changes in themselves as they rethink their sailing trip, their decision not to have children, and what their future now holds.[5]


True Story[edit]

Doug and Robbie Smith founded a residential educational program for at risk teen-aged boys on the Saint Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida. The Smiths' program teaches troubled teens the maritime skills of navigation and voyaging both under sail and under power, along with valuable vocational skills such as engine repair, electrical work and welding, combined with a strong academic program. The combination helps turn troubled boys into responsible young men.[4]

The program has been in existence for over 25 years. The Safe Harbor academic and vocational education, teamed with the structure, discipline and love they receive, has resulted in a 95% success rate with the boys served by the program.[4]

Screenwriter Josef Anderson and Executive Producer Norton Wright spent hours interviewing Doug and Robbie Smith.[4]


Safe Harbor did moderately for Hallmark Channel during its premiere. The film ranked among the top 5 for household and key demographics. It also ranked as the second-highest-rated ad-supported cable movie of the day and fourth-highest-rated of the week, delivering a 1.8 household rating with 1.5 million homes, over 2 million total viewers and 3.2 million unduplicated viewers.[6]

Reviews were moderately positive. The NY Daily News called it an expected delivery of "decent people, solid values, [and] a general sense that there's more good than bad in the world." They also called it "heartwarming."[7]

Critic Laura Fries from Variety says

She also states that "obstacles and resistance are too easily overcome" and that there are deep characterizations of "good" and "bad" people, but that the talent of the cast makes it almost believable.[8]


External links[edit]