Expansion at Tarpon Point Marina

Additional docks are nearing completion at Tarpon Point Marina adjacent to the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral, Florida. Sixteen slips are being added to ‘H’ dock to accommodate larger boats from 65-80 feet. Harbormaster Rick Munson says the additions will bring the total number of slips to over 200. Tarpon Point Marina offers direct access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Caloosahatchee River. The sheltered harbor is surrounded by the Westin Resort, which is home to four restaurants, boutique shops and a pool. The Westin Resort is also breaking ground to add a 40,000-square-foot conference center. tarponpoint.com

Megayacht docking comes to St. Petersburg
Construction is complete on seven megayacht slips at downtown St. Petersburg’s Harborage Marina at Bayboro. Accommodating vessels up to 200 feet in length, the custom engineered concrete floating docks provide fully enclosed power (480 volts), plumbing and built-in pump-out, and the 24-inch stressed concrete pilings are capable of withstanding a 10-foot storm surge. One resident’s 145′ Christensen megayacht I Love This Boat homeports here when not on charter. “This is the only megayacht port on the West Coast of Florida,” notes assistant dockmaster David Dabney.

St. Petersburg has shaken off last century’s moniker as “God’s Waiting Room” and is more than alive with activity, from major league baseball to its three world-class museums: Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts and the Dale Chihuly Collection at Morean Arts Center. The waterfront has turned into a foodie haven with highly rated eateries such as the Z Grille, Parkshore Grill and BellaBrava as well as traditional favorites such as Marchand’s at The Vinoy and the nearby Maritana Grille at Loews Don CeSar Hotel. harboragemarina.com

Country on the Coast
Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, a three-day celebration of sun, fun and country music, will host its 4th annual festival on the shores of Panama City Beach, Florida, on Labor Day weekend, September 2-4. Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, The Band Perry, and Sara Evans are just a handful of the artists headlining this year’s event. gulfcoastjam.com

Suwannee River Marina
For years, the Millers were fixtures at Gulf Coast boat shows. Emblematic agents of the laid-back Suwannee River, Bill and Gloria called this place home with their houseboat and fishing rentals. Recently, the Miller family sold the marina to new owners who renamed it Gateway Marina. Fittingly, the marina is closest to the mouth of the storied river and also the Gulf of Mexico.

Major upgrades are underway, with 24-hour fuel-pay at the pump (ethanol and non-ethanol), new live bait tanks, 30- and 50-amp dockside power, and a more robust ships store. In addition to offering transient slips, Gateway will continue to rent the original fleet of 44-foot houseboats, which are ideal for large groups cruising the river. All onboard appliances and linens are updated, and you can enhance your experience with Gateway’s fishing kayak and paddleboard rentals. Be mindful of the marina’s low depth of 4 feet. gatewaymarina.us

By Alan Wendt, Southern Boating Magazine August 2016