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Florida Marinas CONTINUE to DISAPPEAR

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Old 09-21-2005, 08:24 AM
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Unhappy Florida Marinas CONTINUE to DISAPPEAR

This was in the local FL. Today newspaper.



Losing Florida's public marinas

Back local proposal to ensure water access

BY BRIDGET MORTON
GUEST COLUMNIST

Last year, as I researched a cruising guide for boaters, I visited hundreds of marinas on Florida's East Coast. I realized quickly I was seeing parts of Florida not many will see again.

Few of us question the need for state and local governments to plan for development as population grows. We recognize that growth strains our schools, roads, and other services.

But what about our more fluid resources? What about Florida's waterways and shoreline?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission conservatively estimates that Florida has 1,197 miles of coastline. This sailor would call that a landlubber's throwaway guess.

From Tiger Point near Georgia, past Miami and around the Keys, getting lost in the Thousand Islands or the Panhandle's bays and bayous, there's more shoreline in this state than we can ever reasonably explore.

In my childhood, we simply couldn't travel that far. These days, unfortunately, developers and corporations are rapidly buying up waterfront, while the rest of us face the likelihood that in 20 years we'll no longer have access to inland waterways.

Every week, more old Florida boatyards and marinas are slated for 'dock-o-miniums,' another catchy name for exclusive waterfront condos with dockage for luxury yachts at additional exorbitant prices.

Communities from California to Maine face similar issues, as prices and taxes on the waterfront rise steeply. Waterfront property is about as limited a resource as we can get. Why wouldn't marinas become more exclusive, with fewer, fancier boats at the dock -- or simply sell out altogether?

In Florida, marina owners work every evening and weekend all year, risk thunderstorms in summer and hurricanes in fall, barely making a profit. Yet many hold on as long as they can, since they love the boating lifestyle as much as anybody.

Florida floats a million registered boats, most not owned by the wealthy. Approximately 400,000 more yachts visit annually from other states and foreign countries.

Yachters may contribute to the local economy less obviously than tourists in theme parks, but boaters often stay for months, spending on goods and services throughout the community.

They tend to care passionately about the waters they cruise, and they're looking for places to stay, since most municipalities limit anchoring out. Still, quicker than orange groves can disappear, watch for the loss of a marina near you.

At least four in Brevard County are already in preliminary stages of development.

Towns like Fernandina Beach, Titusville, Vero Beach, and Stuart solved at least part of this problem by buying waterfront and creating public facilities with slips, moorings, boat ramps, and fuel for local and visiting yachters.

Fort Pierce's city marina is leading a community renaissance, with a burgeoning shopping district and park nearby.

Brevard County Commissioner Ron Pritchard has suggested such a plan for Brevard County, recommending the use of Indian Cove and Island Pointe in Cocoa.

Please encourage your city and county representatives to support this innovative and practical plan. Let's keep Florida's waterways accessible to everyone. Even our grandchildren.
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: Florida Marinas CONTINUE to DISAPPEAR

Me and my buddy were scratching our heads yesterday regarding the limited # of places to hoist in SWF (Fort Myers to Naples). Also limited are the ramps capable of splashing a cat. Most are bulit for Small fishing craft.
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:45 AM
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Default Re: Florida Marinas CONTINUE to DISAPPEAR

Quote:
Originally Posted by expresscat39
Me and my buddy were scratching our heads yesterday regarding the limited # of places to hoist in SWF (Fort Myers to Naples). Also limited are the ramps capable of splashing a cat. Most are bulit for Small fishing craft.
I hear ya! Banana River Marine on Merritt Island, a 40+ yr. family owned and run marina, just sold to a Condo Developer for $ 19 MILLION!
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