Ft. Lauderdale is no stranger to luxury motor yachts. For years the area has been a hub for luxury yachts and even a few megayachts. Now, understanding that “size does matter” the region is making a major push to expand its appeal to superyachts and other motor yachts tipping the higher end of the length scale.
Several proposals have recently been floated that plan to double the dock space at the city-owned Las Olas Marina. The top proposal in the running is from Dallas-based Suntex Marinas. Suntex would pay to run the operation that would increase the number of slips for vessels 80 feet or longer from 16 to about 34.
It’s no wonder why the city of Ft. Lauderdale is entertaining such proposals. According to the Sun Sentinel, a 200-foot vessel has a $4 million direct economic impact on the surrounding community, while four smaller boats filling the same space would only generate $340,000.
Speaking to the Sentinel, David Filler, a principal with Suntex said, “You can’t be the Yachting Capital of the World and not address the need of having spots for the larger vessels to moor. Fort Lauderdale could use another whole marina. It needs to think about how to grow its footprint of slips to address the continued demand.”
South Florida has long had a problem with enough dock space for existing and new yachts coming into the area.
Big Yachts – Big Money for South Florida
Ft. Lauderdale is not alone among South Florida “yachting cities” trying to woo bigger boats. Palm Harbor Marina in downtown West Palm Beach recently opened nine new slips that can handle yachts up to 250 feet in length, and Miami is in the process of choosing a company for a $100 million project that will include 300 more wet slips – many designed for larger vessels – on Virginia Key.
Of course bringing more boats, and particularly large motor yachts into the area, will benefit the many marine businesses in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. The Marine Industries Association of South Florida puts the boating industry’s overall impact in the three-county area at $11.5 billion annually, employing more than 136,000 workers. The epicenter is Broward County, which accounts for $8.8 billion of that total, and 110,000 of the workers.
The Fort Lauderdale city commissioners will soon decide between the Suntex and Island Global Yachting (IGY) proposals, which range from a $17 million to $27 million investment to be paid for by the selected firm. The chosen firm would run the marina and pay the city roughly $1.6 million a year.
The city’s request for proposals comes as the Florida Inland Navigation District begins a two-year, $17 million dredging project to deepen two miles of the Intracoastal Waterway south of Sunrise Boulevard. The new 17-foot depth will provide easier access for more megayachts to Las Olas and other area marinas.
Removing Dockage Hassles
Until these expansion projects come to fruition, finding the right place to dock your yacht can be a real headache in South Florida. One way to remove all of the hassles of dockage is to sign-up with a reliable yacht management program, such as our On Demand Yachting solution. As part of the program, we will help you to find the best dockage for your yacht that meets all of your requirements in a marina!
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.