City commissioners have decided to allocate $63 million to improve beach areas in and around Fort Lauderdale. A portion of these funds are slated to be used to update facilities at Las Olas Marina, the largest marina owned by the city.
Realizing that those city funds could be used to increase the size of the Las Olas Marina, some marine-industry representatives are clamoring for expansion.
Currently the marina has 60 slips. Proposals would add an additional 91 slips. And 14 of those slips would be slated for megayachts.
The proposed expenditure? $16 million, but proponents say that the costs could be quickly regained as revenue from the additional slips should equal $3 million per year.
“We have to build for the future and ensure Fort Lauderdale continues to be the first choice in the global yachting market,” Frank Herhold, executive director emeritus for the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, is quoted as saying. “It all starts with slips, so we need adequate dockage not only for the local boating community, but those who visit us.”
The yachting industry’s influence is tremendous as is its economic impact for the entire state.
Fort Lauderdale is known as the Yachting Capital of the World. It’s reputation has evolved because the city is home to a large community of yacht owners, from 4o foot yachts to 200 foot superyachts and larger. And it’s also a primary destination for yachting enthusiasts from around the world.
Each year the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show takes center stage within the world’s yachting community. This year is the 52nd annual show and, like previous years, megayacht slip availability and local marina expansion will be a hot topic of conversation.