Stan Antrim, founder of Sarasota-based Yacht Escort Ships, started his company in 1994 to design and build luxury yachts. But as the recession slowed discretionary spending, Antrim realized he would need to reinvent his business to stay afloat. Drawing from his 25-year experience in the Navy SEALs, Antrim branched out from traditional yachts and began offering custom-built escort ships—private security vessels for passage through dangerous territory, like off the coast of Somalia—and “toy boats” for storing items like cars and helicopters that would clutter a primary yacht. Every project is designed by Antrim’s staff (often just Antrim, his wife and an engineer) according to the customer’s specifications and is then constructed by a third-party shipbuilder. “We work hard to say ‘yes’ to whatever the client wants,” says Antrim. “The fun is finding something that matches their price and still delivers the dream.” Most of Antrim’s projects cost between $10 million and $20 million per ship, and new customers come from around the world, almost exclusively through word of mouth.