The recently rebuilt and enlarged facility has garnered a host of favorable comments here on the Cruisers’ Net. Below, Captain takes a look at both side of the proverbial coin.
Lots of good comments regarding this marina and staff here. I moved over here in January from another local marina with intent on making this my permanent home port but am leaving after 4 months. Some good points to be aware of … some not so good.
Sunsets are to die for here. Locals and tourists line up on the seawall by the restaurant to watch and photograph them.
Pricing was considerably more expensive here for a lift slip than where we came from. But given the resort-like feel, the proximity to my house, nice ship’s store for sundries, cleanliness and the comments here about staff we felt this was a good move and that the $250 more per month we would pay would be worth the cost increase.
The lifts are brand new and there are 10 or 12 of them at the marina. I had to adjust the bunks to my specifications after the staff told me that the bunks could not be tilted (they can be). They are a bit slow and have no automatic raise/lower feature enabled, but there is a good 8 feet of water under them. The current happens to run in-line with the lifts so getting on and off even in a cross-wind is easy.
For transients, this is definitely one of the better marinas in Stuart in terms of facilities, boat access and nearby amenities. Note the comments above with other posters really reflect and center around the transient and live-aboard populations.
Fuel pricing is competitive with the other local marinas. The problem of boats running the Okeechobee waterway at speed parallel to the fuel dock has been resolved with a “Slow, Minimum Wake Zone”.
For locals, parking is incredibly limited and gets way worse during weekends when the Sailors Return restaurant gets wound up. The marina started using a valet parking service in an attempt to deal with what they even admit is a very poor parking lot design with small spaces and too few spaces.
At first the valets were best described as rude and confrontational with the paying marina partrons and restaurant customers but that seems to have been ironed out. A parking permit sticker is made available to marina patrons and we get priority handling without the attitude from the valets.
My experience with the staff was mixed. Some were among the most customer-oriented and customer-friendly people I have conducted business with. Others not so much … with some pretty surprising authoritarian and uncaring attitudes toward the paying customer from a few. Once in a while is just a bad day but there are a couple of guys there that just do not get it and it is recurring enough to be noticed.
One example of staff not meeting my expectations: We had one recurring issue with dock people driving their three wheel electric scooters at high speed on the narrow docks. Even after repeatedly asking the offending staff guys to slow down, the behavior continued. The Harbormaster did tell me after complaint to him that he would slow them down, but it did not happen.
After nearly being hit on the narrow dock while getting some supplies from my dock box once too often, we decided to move on. You cannot hear these scooters coming so be aware of this safety issue especially of you end up on the “A” dock that has the fuel dock at the end. Be told “coming through!” as the dock boy flies by is just not acceptable.
Another example of staff not meeting expectations: Last weekend while I was not there, my son was reportedly told by one of the staff that he was not allowed to wash our boat due to South Florida Water Management District regulations forbidding water use. I was not there to see who actually said this but that was incorrect.
When I talked to the Harbormaster about this and to point out that SFWMD does not have a rule forbidding boat or car washing, he agreed and stated that he did not ask people to not wash boats. He did state that the marina has high water bills and that they are asking people to conserve water. I suspect something got lost in interpretation with one of the staff when this issue was discussed with them.
So… *some* staff is great and “gets” it. Others I am not so sure I would say do.
Ultimately, we just did not feel we were getting the value and service expected for the *premium* price charged us. Granted there are a good 300 slips here and our experience needs to be taken in light of how many seem happy. We were disappointed to have to leave but decided it was for the best for us.
I hold no ill will with Sunset Bay Marina and wish them luck. They just have a few things to work on as I suspect they have back-slid a bit since opening.