For as many years as history has been recorded, sailors have gone to sea for one purpose or another. Some of the earliest biblical recordings speak of fishermen working their nets in search of food for consumption and sale. We read about the Egyptians who navigated the Nile River fishing and transporting goods. Then international trade begins to emerge, and as land trade routes became too dangerous and time-consuming, sailors put their fears aside and began exploring the oceans for faster trade routes. As oceanic trade routes became more frequent and financially profitable, ports around the world began to develop facilities and equipment that would allow the transfer of goods from ship to shore and vice versa. These facilities and their equipment quickly began to replace beach landings and rowboats, so the concept of maritime port facilities began to take shape. Docks were built, ports dredged, and all manner of mechanical transfer equipment began to appear as efforts to streamline the transfer process were modernized.
Historically, ports were used for commercial purposes only, but it wasn’t long before ships began to be used for recreational purposes as well. As this transformation began to take hold, it became clear that additional facilities would be needed to support recreational boating, just as they did for commercial maritime vessels. Commercial port facilities initially provided accommodation for a small number of pleasure craft, and in some parts of the world they still do. However, as the number of pleasure boats began to increase, it was obvious that additional facilities would have to be built to meet the demand for space, and the first predecessors to what we now call marinas were born.
Over the years, the concept of what a marina should be has changed dramatically. In smaller ports that support an equal number of work and recreational vessels, it is not unusual to find that marinas remain fairly basic, providing the minimum facilities to support the type of vessels that ply their waters. In these cases, it is not unusual to see older fishing boats tied up alongside modern megayachts. In some communities or ports that are home to a larger population of pleasure boats, marinas continue to exceed the limits of the facilities they provide. In some larger coastal cities, it is not uncommon to find marinas that have, in essence, become resort communities within themselves, providing pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, condos, and whatever else they feel the public will support.
The Florida Territory has many natural harbors, some large and some small, but they all serve the same main function, and that is to provide a safe haven for sailors sailing the sea for any reason. The Forgotten Coast also has its share of natural harbors, and these are extremely valuable to our local economies as they support recreational boaters and commercial fishing fleets. Here along the Forgotten Coast, as in other areas of Florida, the marinas that dot the shores of our ports, come in all shapes and flavors. Recreational boaters, as well as commercial fishing fleet crews, find everything they need in these marinas, as these marinas have been adapted to support the local market. Listed below are the marinas that we rely on to facilitate our access to the sea and some of the services they provide:
Carrabelle, a quiet little fishing village that doesn’t know the meaning of crowds. It claims to be “The gateway to the most beautiful beaches in the world”, and is just a short drive down the Carrabelle River from St. George Sound. Far enough inland from the strait to protect ships from stormy seas, Carrabelle offers a pleasant and safe harbor for all its occupants. It has been said that “fish literally jump into their boat” in Carrabelle. Well, it remains to be seen if this is true or not, but the city is home to four pretty marinas in which it is entirely possible to rent the boat in which they will jump.
Moorings in Carrabelle, Marina is the largest marina in Carrabelle with 124 wet slips. In the jargon of marinas, it is called a “full service marina”, which means that it provides all the basic necessities that the vessels using it would require. It is equipped with a fuel base and a waste pump station. In addition to the marina facilities, Moorings operates a rental complex on the pier adjacent to the marina, rated by Yahoo Travel as the # 1 Motel in Carrabelle.
C-Quarters Marina, the second largest, is a full-service marina with 67 wet slips, a marine store, shoreline rental units, a fuel dock, and a seafood store. In addition to the basics, they also have showers, a laundry mat, and a waste pump station.
Carrabelle Marina is a smaller wet slip marina, a tow facility with a quality marine repair and mechanic shop. Carrabelle Marina is a new boat dealer for Grady-White boats and Yamaha engines.
The Dockside Marina & Boatworks facility has sail and powerboat wet slips, closed door RV and boat storage, a tow facility, a shipyard with mechanical repair and welding capabilities. In addition to these services, fishing charters and the Dog Island taxi service operate outside the marina.
Historic Apalachicola, located on the shore of the Apalachicola River where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico, is known throughout the country for its wonderful seafood and historic charm. Apalachicola has a deeply rooted maritime history and attracts thousands of tourists who come each year to enjoy the serenity and partake of the many delights of the sea. In addition to all the history and seafood, Apalachicola is home to three marinas.
Scipio Creek Marina is the largest in Apalachicola, and is a full service marina with a store that offers a full line of marine supplies. It has wet slips, as well as a dry dock boat storage building, a fuel dock, a waste pump station, showers, and a bait warehouse.
Deepwater Marina claims to be “Franklin Counties’ largest functioning shipyard,” and is a full-service marina. It is a marina that allows pets and can be lived on board. Its facilities include floating docks, a shipyard with a large boat storage area, security, laundry, toilets and showers.
Breakaway Marina & Motel sits on the banks of the Apalachicola River and features a motel, marina, marine supplies, excellent fishing, and tour guides.
Port St. Joe
Port St. Joe is a quaint, “old Florida style” town located on St. Joseph’s Bay, on the site of the Gulf of Mexico. Port St. Joe is well known for its fishing, scallop fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and white sand beaches. Port St. Joe has only one marina, the City Marina, but it is a full-service, state-of-the-art marina with one hundred and twenty-eight wet slips. Facilities at the marina include covered slips for boats up to 40 ‘, a Dry Stack boat storage building, a fuel dock, a dock cafe, a marine store, showers and restrooms.