Those who have read my earlier SSECN comments concerning Western Florida’s Pine Island Sound, or the portion of my “Cruising Guide to Western Florida” describing Gasparilla Island, already know that the village of Boca Gande is one of our very favorite places on earth.
This is Florida at its very best. There are no fast food restaurants, no strip shopping centers and no high rise condos. Instead, visitors to Boca Grande will discover a quaint village atmosphere replete with GREAT places to dine (particularly the Gasparilla Inn), good provisioning and plenty to see and do. It’s the sort of place where you can quickly fill the memory card on your digital camera, and have to haul out that backup card you’ve never used before.
Until now, cruisers have had some difficulty taking advantage of Boca Grande’s many charms due to a building shoal jutting out from the entrance channel’s northeasterly point, as you swing south to visit Boca Grande’s primary pleasurecraft facility, known, appropriately enough, as “Boca Grande Marina” (formerly Millers Marina).
New owners took over here several years ago, and improved the on-site facilities, adding a new restaurant and downstairs bar. Everything was accomplished in an absolutely first-class fashion.
Almost from the first day that the marina changed ownership, the management has been seeking the necessary permits to dredge the entrance channel, and remove the aforementioned shoal. This process has seeming taken forever, BUT WE ARE VERY PLEASED TO REPORT THAT ALL PERMITS ARE NOW IN PLACE, AND DREDGING HAS BEGUN!
The far sighted owners have also taken the opportunity to completely rebuild their docks while the dredging is going forward. Now, that’s the sort of improvements we LOVE to hear about at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net!
In a telephone conversation yesterday (7/16/13) with Garrett Lown, Boca Grande Marina’s Operations Manager, the SSECN was informed that the marina and on-site restaurant would close while the dredging and dock rebuilding were in progress. The restaurant will probably reopen around the middle of October (2013), with a grand reopening of the marina scheduled near Thanksgiving, 2013.
The truly “on-the-ball” marina management plans to post regular project progress reports and photos on their web site at http://www.bocagrandemarina.net/Boca_Grande_Marina.html. Interested cruisers should monitor this site for the latest info!
We know that we speak for the entire cruising community when we say how much we all look forward to the new, improved and deeper version of Boca Grande Marina this coming fall and winter. This will be a superb addition to the Western Florida cruising scene, and one which many of us will make use of on a very regular basis.
The article and photo below are reprinted from DredgingToday.com (http://www.dredgingtoday.com), a new resource which we highly recommend to one and all who are interested in what’s happening with dredging projects around the nation. This publication’s scope is international, so you have to pull through the weeds a bit to pluck out the USA dredging news, but the format makes that an easy exercise, and the effort will be more than justified!
The SSECN will keep you apprised of Boca Grande Marina’s dock building and dredging project as progress goes forward. Makes your plans now to visit this newly minted facility this fall and winter. See you there!!!
USA: Boca Grande Marina Dredging Kicks Off
Posted on Jul 15th, 2013
Boca Grande Marina, Eagle Grille and Miller’s Dockside, will be closed for renovations beginning today, and it will be reopened in the fall of 2013.
Construction plans include:
– New docks ‘“ the new layout will eliminate the `stern to’ docks and allow us to accommodate larger vessels (up to 150 feet),
– Dredging of the entrance channel ‘“ allowing for an approximate 7 foot depth at low tide.
The Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Environmental Protection and Lee County have all signed on to the project, which will see a channel dredged from 5 feet deep at mean low water to 7 feet 6 inches.
`Now boats won’t be stuck in the Harbor waiting for high tide to get out,’ said Jerry Taylor, the marina’s general manager. `It will benefit the whole community.’