South Florida amps up the marinas.

St. Augustine Municipal Marina is now the second Clean and Resilient Marina in Florida. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection gave the marina its designation in the fall of 2014 for sustainability, environmental responsibility and the ability to bounce back from manmade and natural disasters. The marina is the first municipal marina out of more than 2,000 Florida marinas to earn the honor.

Riviera Beach, Florida, rolls out the welcome mat for megayachts as the nearby ICW will be widened and deepened from 10 to 15 feet to allow boats up to 330 feet to visit Rybovich Marine Center, Viking Yachts and other local marine businesses. Viking Development plans new shops, restaurants, a boardwalk promenade, and marina improvements to be ready by April 2015.

Fort Lauderdale also lures megayachts to Pier 66 Marina after completion of phase one of the two-phase renovation. A new power distribution with capacity of 480 volt, 400- 600 amp and three-phase power handles the larger yachts. Sixteen yachts up to 150 feet are easily berthed amongst 127 slips plus the deep-water basin accepts yachts up to 295 feet. The renovated yachting venue with a new captain- and-crew clubroom was a host location for the 2014 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Rescued man dissatisfied
In October 2014 a man in a hydro pod asking for directions to Bermuda was saved by the U.S. Coast Guard 70 miles off the coast of St. Augustine. The disoriented man in the inflatable bubble had only protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and a satellite phone on board, not impressing the Coast Guard with adequate safety. Although taxpayers paid $144,000 for his rescue, he complained that his bubble wasn’t rescued as well. Hearing of a second attempt, an anonymous person remarked that he should be on his own.

Osprey accommodations
“Why can’t we get along?” will no longer be asked after new channel markers like the one erected in Georgia’s Skidaway River are in vogue. The new navigational aid at the Isle of Hope provides a platform for sprawling osprey nests whose gangly sticks block necessary navigational numbers. Built last fall, the nest is ready for returning nesting birds to lay eggs this spring.

Transient cruiser accommodations
In North Carolina the Swansboro Town Dock is open for transients headed to northern locales this spring. No services were offered at time of publication but may be ready now or are soon to come. A floating dock accommodates 10 visiting vessels with a face dock for vessels up to 40 feet. Shoppers or diners dock for free; overnights are $1.25 per foot. Call (910) 326-2600 for reservations Monday-Friday after 5PM and on weekends call (252) 725-5400.

Conch is still on the menu in the Conch Republic and the rest of the U.S. since the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service did not declare Queen Conch endangered last
fall. Although harvesting conch is still illegal in the U.S., other nations are happy to provide chefs with the delicious delicacy such as The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Nicaragua, and Belize.

By Nancy Spraker, Southern Boating February 2015