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New lift coming together at Derecktor Fort Pierce

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It’s happening, and it’s going to be big. That’s the sense one can get as they see the buildout of the new Derecktor Fort Pierce shipyard.

With the lengthy permitting and review processes completed and approvals now in hand from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other state and federal agencies, Derecktor broke ground on the new property on Nov. 13. Since then, construction of the property has commenced as well as the first shipments of the new yacht hoist.

With the ability to lift yachts up to 1,500 tons, the new $6.5 million hoist, built by Cimolai Technology in Northern Italy, will be the largest in operation in the world. The structure will stand 85 feet tall, 75 feet wide, 120 feet in length and weigh just over 700 tons. The hoist will be able to haul yachts up to 250 feet in length. Supported by 32 8-foot-high wheels, each weighing 10,000 pounds, this is one clear indication as to the lift’s ability.

Derecktor started receiving the hoist components last week, with two additional shipments coming into the Port of Miami over the next few weeks. Shipped in 38 closed containers, open top containers and flat racks due to the large size of several pieces, they have to use step deck and lowboy trailers to move them. Because of the oversized and out-of-gauge containers, shipping logistics from the landing port in Miami to the Derecktor facility are being managed by Compass Logistics & Marine of Fort Lauderdale. Owned by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Danny James, one of his company’s core focuses is the marine industry. 

“We prepare the paperwork for customs, manage offloading operations, supply chain, transportation, stevedores and receiving at the Derecktor yard for the client,” James said.

Once the containers are on site, Derecktor personnel use a heavy lift fork-lift, 90-ton front loader and 150-ton crane to remove the components and arrange them in the yard for the Cimolai technicians to install. Kind of like a giant erector set.

Simultaneously, the new haul-out basin is being carved out on the eastern side of the property. With a depth of 21 feet, the 50-foot-wide by 220-foot-long basin will be able to receive motor yachts as well as large sailing yachts. Vessels will be blocked up around the 12-acre site. 

Additionally, a utility loop will ring the perimeter of the property, supplying electricity, water and fiber optics to yachts on the hard and along the bulkheads. The existing terminal building will also be upgraded to a modern workshop for employees and vendors.

With unrestricted access from Fort Pierce Inlet, the deep-water access and a large turning basin will allow yachts to safely navigate from the ocean to the yard. 

“The Port of Fort Pierce is the ideal location for America’s next great shipyard,” stated Justin Beard, marketing manager for Derecktor Shipyards. 

“Even due to factors out of our control, specifically the COVID situation especially in Italy, Derecktor and Cimolai changed some operations but continued working to stay close to the schedule,” Beard said. “They [Cimolai] made a lot of accommodations to get the lift over here.”

With operation of the hoist and basin to start in May, Beard said Derecktor is taking haul-out reservations for late spring and summer.

Located at the Port of Fort Pierce, Derecktor Shipyards has a long-term lease on the property from St. Lucie County, helping to revitalize the area with commerce and jobs.

Capt. Tom Serio is a freelance captain, writer and photographer in South Florida. Comments on this story are welcome below.

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