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Marinas upper Gulf Panama City to Biloxi

Discussion in 'Gulf Coast' started by Marksearay, Dec 12, 2020.

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  1. Marksearay

    Marksearay Member

    68
    Sep 6, 2018
    Orange beach Alabama
    1999 da500
    Dd6v92
    Looking to start a thread on Marinas...marina life..fun marinas in the Gulf area. Bays..Rivers etc. There must be fun active marinas for cruising. Visiting,Nightlife,dining etc. Anyone find any hidden gems? Where boaters have a smile on their face? or have all the marinas sucked the life out of boating in the region?
     
  2. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    600
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    1994 Chaparel 310 Signature
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    Well I don't know if the life has been sucked out of boating/crushing the Red Neck Riviera but it's sure has become more challenging. The Wharf has gone nuts with their pricing, the Board Walk in Biloxi shut down Panama City, Mexico beach and Apalachacola are slammed and the marinas in my home port of FWB are pretty much beat to hell. As it is right now I'm just happy to have a slip that accommodates my size vessel. May not be strolling around with a grin but at least I'm still in the game.
     
    Chris-380 likes this.
  3. Chris-380

    Chris-380 Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2019
    Pontoon Beach IL
    2000 380 Sundancer
    7.4L Horizon w/V drives
    If I had a 510, I would have a grin all the time, except when I fill up!
     
  4. Marksearay

    Marksearay Member

    68
    Sep 6, 2018
    Orange beach Alabama
    1999 da500
    Dd6v92
    Exactly my feelings. as I’m currently at a marina rhymes with the guy that cuts hair. Death warmed over! 50s aren’t easy to find a spot for. But a fun spot not sure it exists at the moment.
     
  5. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    600
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    1994 Chaparel 310 Signature
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    You may have a point.
     
    Chris-380 likes this.
  6. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    I think you might be a bit early to consider cruising to this area.

    The coast from Apalachicola west to Pensacola is still reeling from the effects and damage done by Hurricane Michael in October, 2018. Our marina was the only one who's storage capacity not significantly damaged by Michael. Bay Point, the PC City Marina and St. Andrews Marina were all demolished and saw their capacity go from 100 or more large boats to zero. Every boat left in those 3 marinas was destroyed, sunk in place and eventually ended up on the local landfill.

    There is no local capacity for transient dockage. Our marina has a small number of spaces they can use for transients in the winter but once the weather pretty's up in the spring, you will need to plan away ahead and reserve space.

    If you want a resort style weekend, Baytowne Warf at SanDestin is about all there is in this area right now.

    Our favorite destination spot in this area is Apalachicola. It is a rustic little waterfront town, quaint little stores and exellent small local restaurants and the locals are the nicest folks you will ever meet. If rustic, quaint and walking 3/4 mile to town from your boat for food, groceries, drinks, etc isn't your idea of a weekend cruise, then keep looking.
     
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  7. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Frank are you hearing any comments from Marinas about how long to rebuild?
     
  8. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Mark,

    They have started the redesign and survey work for Bay Point and their plans are to build a "Destination marina in conjunction with the Marriott hotel and BayPoint Golf course. How long that will take is going to be economy driven because there was so much lost in this area building materials are in short supply and expensive.

    They have dredged and removed the boats sunk at the PC Marina and St. Andrews. The PC marina is going to be built in conjunction with a Hotel and the City civic center.......get the local politico's involved and everyone has an agenda and progress comes slow.

    I'd guess at least a year before we see any relief in transient space.......
     
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  9. Marksearay

    Marksearay Member

    68
    Sep 6, 2018
    Orange beach Alabama
    1999 da500
    Dd6v92
    We bought our current 500 in Tampa and brought it across the gulf and stayed a couple days at St Andrew one week before Michael. We met some really nice people before moving on to Orange beach area. We went back after the storm and had some machine work done at Cylinder head Service of Panama City. Highly Recommend!! We surveyed the damage at St Andrew’s then. It was a total loss and wondered where our friends ended up. Hopefully we can checkout Appalachicola soon. We love supporting any community that has a nice marina life. Hopefully we will all see dock life rebound. Unfortunately there are a few Marinas exploiting the current condition of loss by storm damage. Jacking up prices and taking full advantage when able.
     
  10. my3sons

    my3sons Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Feb 24, 2009
    NY (Lake Erie)
    2004 400DB, Onan 9 kw Gen, Highfield RIB,
    Cummins 6CTA
    I agree with Frank on Apalachicola. Sometimes a local's idea of the best places are different from a transient's point of view, but Apalach is a great little town, and when the fishing trawlers wake you up when they idle past your boat at 3 in the morning, you will fall back to sleep dreaming of buying the best oysters anywhere in the morning!
    Sorry Chesapeake Bay folks, but you do have the best crab imo.
     
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  11. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    600
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    1994 Chaparel 310 Signature
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    The Linda Jean is tied up to a floating dock that's in a little cove just off the ICW. She's 17 miles from the house; the people and services are great. Don't get me wrong; love to have bikini clad dock hands and the rhythmic sound of steel drums 24/7 but that ain't gonna happen. So the marina itself ain't no intertainment destination but it's within hiking distance of some fun dinning establishments. The Gulf, FUBAR Pizza and across the bride to FWB entertainmnat area.

    We use to cruse the 400DA over to Whanna's Beach Bar in Navarre but the channel is a tad too shallow for the 510 and the East Rive Steak House Marina was taken out by Hurricane Sally. Those two places use to have bands and on the week ends; generally a good time.

    Marinas in Niceville also were ravaged by the storm surge. Even before that the Bluewater Bay marina wasn't all that acomidating. The folks were great, just no transiate slips to tie up to.

    I just came back from a Nashville trip. Man was that place rockin. As I was walking Broadway, being bombarded by rockabilly bands left and right; kind of wished there was a boating place along that line. Closest to me on the Gulf Coast is the FlorBama Yacht Club but that's more suited to pontoon boats over my battle wagon. Although I did see Burt Reynolds boat there.

    First Mate and I are pretty much are sucking it up and waiting for the virus panic to fade. Maybe then more places will crank the fun back into boating destinations. As Frank said, Apalachacola is a nice place but its limited as to where you can dock anything over 15 ft beam. We were headed that way last month and just off the cuff I inquired about slipping my 5 1/2 ft beam at the Water Front hotel. That changed the whole plan. Could only dock at an end slip, none available. Left the docks along the city dock or at Scipio; they were booked. Story we got that with all the disruption in the marina availability the slips that can acomidate larger vessels are always booked out. Pretty much leaves one to consider boat burgers and beer and dropping the dingy for a run in to town.

    Hey, I'm sure things will start back up; maybe not as rapidly as we would like, but then again getting there on your own vessel is a big part of the event. :cool:Least that's what I have heard
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2020
    Marksearay likes this.
  12. Marksearay

    Marksearay Member

    68
    Sep 6, 2018
    Orange beach Alabama
    1999 da500
    Dd6v92
    Captures our thoughts exactly! Especially Florabama...But isnt that the idea? Bringing the “Battle Wagon” to the yacht club! I mean shock factor is it’s own reward...lol We don’t seek the steel drum thing. more the quieter kindred boaters off the beaten path. Security over tourist looky loos, kinda place to more long term dock than the steel drums, are fun for transient times of course! Hopefully the spots around FWB recover quickly they seem to have the better opportunities looking forward. IMO We have a backup for more humble times. 97A438FE-BDE0-4001-98C6-65BA6EDFD651.jpeg
     
  13. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    600
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    1994 Chaparel 310 Signature
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    Great being berthed at a quite marina with touristy diversions close at hand. The Wharf use to be great for that on event nights. Have a hoot and holler early on then retire to the boat; flip on the blue lights, mix up a frosty libation to some mellow tunes from my younger days. Good times. Biloxi's Small Craft marina by the Hard Rock Casino is another decent place to hang. Least it's close to what ever is goin on; car shows, concerts an so on. I was all enamored with the 510; the room, stabilty, over all presence and so on, then I was slammed with the reality that most places ain't set up to slip a big butt boat like my Linda Jean. Frank told me in an email that the 510 would be the biggest little ship I ever handled; best be getting ready. He also wrote a posting about considerations going in to purchase a new boat. Wish I would have read it before making the leap. Might have made a difference. On second thought; :) probably not. But I should have done a tad more pondering.

    Anyway; think your right, the Red Neck Riviera is ripe for a resurgence of boating and crusing destinations.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  14. Marksearay

    Marksearay Member

    68
    Sep 6, 2018
    Orange beach Alabama
    1999 da500
    Dd6v92
    ditto on the 15+ beam! Also on the Riviera.. There was a huge rebuild and evolution after Freddy in the 70s into the 80s perhaps we will se the same. As well as more storm ready marinas! There was much damage from less than sturdy dockage. But it cleared the way as Freddy did for better structures. Survivors should be studied. Until then hope for the best and enjoy every day on the water.
     
  15. Marksearay

    Marksearay Member

    68
    Sep 6, 2018
    Orange beach Alabama
    1999 da500
    Dd6v92
    This is not a good look 4A2A5122-187C-4124-9653-44A7FCA17C56.jpeg DFFB9E48-A3A0-45B4-8529-68146CE51060.jpeg
     
  16. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    600
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    1994 Chaparel 310 Signature
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
  17. All's Well

    All's Well Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    930
    Jan 14, 2010
    Houston
    '12 58 Sundancer
    900 MAN
    Palafox in Pensacola has a good location (at least it was in good shape a year ago)- Good restaraunt options and a good area to walk around
     
    Marksearay likes this.
  18. stephens013

    stephens013 Active Member

    600
    Oct 8, 2009
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    2001 510 Sundancer
    1997 400DA Sundancer
    1994 Chaparel 310 Signature
    3196 Cat; 660 PHP
    3116 Cat; 340 PHP
    Palifox is a great destination mooring. Sally messed it up a bit. Not sure how much. Stayed there in my 400DA. I do recall it being a tad tight. Might be my poor recollection.
    Just fewer and fewer decent places to park a big boat. Bummer
     
    Marksearay likes this.

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