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Bocilla Island Seaport ramping up with repairs, better vessel accommodation

By Staff | Aug 12, 2020

There are 50 boat slips at the Bocilla Island Seaport in Bokeelia. Upgrades are planned for the facility. PAULETTE LEBLANC

Some much needed improvements are coming to the Bocilla Island Seaport.

Bocilla Island Seaport, which is located at 8395 Main St. in Bokeelia, was established in 1908. According to property manager Cynthia Welch, it has been a marina for just as long, having seawalls, which were built in the 1960s.

“The seawall is seriously compromised at this stage,” said Welch, explaining that Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage. “So it’s time to repair.”

Welch says there are 50 boat slips from the “L Dock” to the west. She said that although it’s possible to rebuild exactly as it is, modern boats are much larger on average than they were in the 1960s.

“Our commercial customers,” said Welch, “who are all island people, have 20-foot boats, or 24-foot boats. They don’t fit in our slips.”

In order to accommodate these vessels, the slips need to be larger, but also she said the water at low tide is 6 inches high along the seawall. In all practicality, in order to repair the seawall, the docks will need to be taken down. Welch said at this point, rebuilding is the only way to accommodate everyone.

The L Dock will be extended by 200 feet, transitioning into more of an F Dock.

Welch explains that 90 percent of the slips will then be in deeper water, roughly 3 feet at low tide. The access to Jug Creek is approximately 3 to 3 1/2 feet deep all the way through, which is already restrictive, she explained. A former project, which has since been tabled, was the idea of installing boat slips on the Charlotte Harbor side of the property. Welch says the project was dropped due to a list of compliances.

“We are replacing existing structure,” said Welch. “Because we have 50 slips, we want to replace with 50 slips that accommodate our current boaters, and that’s the bottom line.”