Looking Ahead and Digging Deep

South Florida aims to improve superyacht access with several miles of dredging.

Bahia Mar Yachting Center

Plans call for dredging to give the approach to the Bahia Mar Yachting Center and other facilities a depth of 15 feet, instead of the current 10.Courtesy Bahia Mar Yachting Center

The Dania Cut-Off Canal in Broward County, Florida, is now 14 feet deep — up from 10 feet and making life easier for the owners of superyachts who want access to a half-dozen shipyards including Derecktor.

And with that multimillion-dollar project complete, the Florida Inland Navigation District is now seeking permits to dredge about two and a half miles of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) from the 17th Street bridge to Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The new depth would be 15 feet (instead of 10) cruising into Las Olas Marina and the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, where more and more superyachts could then bring business.

Not to be outdone, Palm Beach County also has plans to dredge the ICW leading to Viking Yachts, the Rybovich shipyard and Riviera Beach Marina. Like the Fort Lauderdale plans, Palm Beach’s are still in the permitting stage, running up against environmental concerns about seagrass.

Yard owners say the future of their business is the increasing number of megayachts being built and bought, and dredging is needed for Florida shipyards to stay competitive with those in Europe.

“Without the dredging, it’s going to be very hard for the company to grow any further,” Jason Sprague, director of business development at Rybovich, told the Sun-Sentinel. “We’ve grown very rapidly, but the limit now is space.”