By Dorie Cox
Long an icon, the Pier Sixty-Six hotel north of the S.E. 17th Street Causeway bridge is one of the more striking buildings that mariners see when arriving in Fort Lauderdale. Prominent after entry through Port Everglades from the Atlantic Ocean, the round tower with spikes will remain as the entire hotel property is closed for extensive renovations.
But dockage is up and running for yachts up to 400 feet in length at two locations, said marine director Megan Washington.
The 2017 acquisition of the property on the south side of the causeway bridge is referred to as Pier Sixty-Six Marina South. Formerly The Sails Marina, the addition brings 37 slips and 2,000 linear feet of dockage (610m) with no obstructions and a maximum draft of 30 feet (9m).
The marina property adjacent to the hotel, now known as Pier Sixty-Six Marina North, is home to the marina office located below Pelican Landing Restaurant and 127 slips with 3,000 linear feet of dockage (915m).
The dockage is a mix of floating and fixed concrete docks with high-speed fueling up to 100 gallons a minute and a new pump-out system, according to Washington. Several yachts in the marina have taken advantage of the property’s Foreign Trade Zone to save on duty and taxes, she said.
Since 2005, Jennifer Cognet has worked on the docks. After attending the University of Central Florida, she first applied to work at the hotel, but she was asked if she would like to be at the marina instead. With little background in boating, she set to work to learn the industry.
“I remember they drew me a boat on the first day and labeled it,” Cognet said.
“I can learn,” she told the management. And she did. Throughout the years, she worked her way to the dockmaster position and saw the lengths of yachts grow from about 100 feet to more than 300 feet in length.
She likes the challenges of the dockmaster position and the view of the water. Plus, the work is different each day.
“You have to be really good at puzzles,” she said.
Pier Sixty-Six Marina South is also home to the boat show’s new Superyacht Village this year.
Dorie Cox is editor of Triton Today. Comments are welcome below.