By Dorie Cox
Two Florida marina projects with large yacht facilities are underway with Westrec Marinas. The company announced work at the Hall of Fame Marina in Fort Lauderdale and Fernandina Harbor Marina in Fernandina Beach during a press conference at the 59th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on Nov. 1.
Scott Solomon is marina manager of Hall of Fame Marina, which is part of the Fort Lauderdale show and located just north of Bahia Mar Marina. He said the upgrade is welcome.
“Requests for wider and larger slips have doubled,” Solomon said. “We will be able to accommodate five megayachts up to 160 feet.”
Renovations will begin this summer and the north dock will remain open during the work.
“We will still be able to accommodate yachts with 12 slips up to 125 feet,” he said of the summer construction.
The power will be upgraded and 400 feet of wood dock will be replaced with 600 feet of concrete Bellingham Marine docks. The company expects the changes to be made ahead of next year’s Fort Lauderdale show.
The Fernandina Harbor Marina in Fernandina Beach has been closed for the past two years according to Joe Springer, marina manager. A contract for repairs – estimated at $6.5 million – has been authorized for the marina, which was severely damaged in a direct blow from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The city-owned marina in the heart of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island in northeastern Florida is managed by Westrec Marinas.
Plans are underway to reopen with transient dockage for yachts from 20 to 280 feet. During the storm, the marina’s 1,120-foot wave attenuator that protected 41 boats failed to maintain its integrity; four of nine docks were left inaccessible; the café’s walkway broke away from the building, taking with it electrical, water, fire, sewage and fuel lines; and, the dock store lifted off its foundation resting at a 25-degree angle. In the months that followed, the marina’s staff of seven was reduced to two and transient boaters were no longer accepted.
“Previously we had 1,400 transients each year,” Springer said. “Our concern now is that delivery captains are calling for a place to stop.”
There will be a single straight dock and it will allow water to flow in and out, as well as 72 mooring balls, Springer said. While some repairs have been made – including the replacement of some damaged docks and gangways, and the restoration of basic services for 41 long-term and commercial vessels – additional work is necessary for the marina to begin to recoup what the city estimates is a loss of $4.1 million in cash flow in the two years since the storm.
According to City Manager Dale L. Martin, now that funds have been authorized, the final restoration work is expected to begin by year’s end, with completion expected in late May 2019.
City officials look forward to the return of boaters to Fernandina Beach next summer, Martin said.
Dorie Cox is editor of Triton Today. Comments are welcome below.