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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
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Dinghy Dockage Rules on Smokehouse Bay Anchorage (Marco Island)

Apparently, Esplanade Marina on Marco Island’s Smokehouse Bay will no longer allow dinghy dockage unless you spend all your time ashore at the marina and its surrounding shopping complex. It’s a good thing there is another source of dinghy dockage nearby at the local Winn Dixie (see below).
We verified this report by calling Esplanade Marina on 4/23/12, and were told their “dinghy slip space is for patrons of the Esplanade.” So, looks like Captain Noel’s info is accurate!

April 19, 2012 — We are anchored in Smokehouse Bay and just notified the harbormaster of our intention to come ashore to do some shopping and sightseeing around the island. We were informed that new rules have been adopted that anyone coming into the Esplanade docks will be required to remain on Esplanade property. I was informed that a dinghy found at he dock earlier was going to be “locked up”. The harbormaster was very polite and informative. I’m sure the rules are not his to decide – only enforce. We will be proceeding to the dock behind the Winn-Dixie where we expect our presence and money will be more welcome.

It’s their private property. I see nothing wrong with this. Especially with a great dock at Winn Dixie.

And, well considered input directly from the folks at Esplanade Marina:

While the above reports are true, I think that it is important to clarify that this rule actually has always been in effect and is contained in the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions that were filed 04/02/2003 with Collier County, FL. In this document we have USE RESTRICTIONS that outline how and what of our marina will be used for the general boating public. This outlines that in fact the general boating public has access to the Esplanade to conduct business at the Esplanade. (Para phrasing of course with consideration to time and space with no change to the intent),. In addition it goes on to say that the Esplanade Marina Board of Directors has the full responsibility of enacting and enforcing rules regarding dockage and the entire marina facility property.
With all of that stated; in the past, the Marina Board, my staff and I attempted to be very generous with our enforcement of the rules when it came to cruisers moored in Smokehouse Bay. However after having our generosity taken advantage of more and more over the last 24 months by cruisers who have trespassed on to locked private gated docks to dump trash and fill water, cruisers who came in to walk pets and did not pick up after the pets, documented and proven cases of cruisers who have been pumping waste straight overboard into the water, and more and more cruisers who would leave dinghy’s tied to our docks for 5,6,7 and 8 hours a day without contacting the Dockmaster we decided that we needed to take a more defined level of enforcement regarding how our docks are being used.
So with all of that said here is our current policy that follows our Use Restrictions, and Marina Guidelines generally related to dinghies and Boaters moored in the bay so there is no question:
All vessels entering into the Esplanade Marina must abide by all Coast Guard Regulations or will not be allowed to dock.
The Esplanade Marina technically does not provide any dingy dockage however will allow those with dinghies to dock only on the single floating slip to the left of the mole located between B and C dock. If a powerboat is in this spot than unfortunately we will have no dingy dockage at that time regardless of what other space exists at that time. All guest dockage is limited to 2 hours.
All Guest dockage is for the use of the Esplanade Businesses only. You may not dock your dingy and leave the Esplanade Property; if you do so your dingy may be locked to the dock and or towed at the owner’s expense.
All Boats needing dockage must contact the Dockmaster either on VHF ch.16 or by phone number provided on the whalers of all docks.
The Esplanade will not accept any Trash from any boat and will not fill water containers.
The Esplanade Marina will provide Pump Out services to any boat based on Dockmaster availability. You must schedule your pump out in advance.
It is and always has been the intent of the Esplanade Marina Board of Directors, its Staff and Slip Owners to be good neighbors and great Stewards of the Sea’s that we all share. It is however our responsibility to those individuals and businesses invested in the Esplanade Property to make sure that we are taking each one of them into consideration when it comes to how we manage the Marina Property. We hope that all Boaters can understand and appreciate the knowledge that we welcome you to our property with the understanding that while you are here you are our guests and must follow a simple set of rules that we have set forth.
We look forward to seeing you on the water and on the docks.
Kris Greenough

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Smokehouse Bay Anchorage

Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Smokehouse Bay Anchorage

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