Security Alert

We just received some footage from a local break-in this weekend. We advise everyone to please keep their guard up, luckily they only managed to get a steering wheel before noticing the cameras and leaving.



BOATER ALERT: The USCG is surveying the boating community to see what impact a change in bridge opening schedules will have on boaters. This is being driven by All Aboard Florida which is a public/private passenger rail project (Florida East Coast Industries) that connects Miami with Orlando in three hours. Several waterways are impacted, including New River in Ft. Lauderdale, Loxahatchee River in Jupiter and St. Lucie River in Stuart. Trains are stated to be less than 1,000 feet long and capable of crossing each waterway in less than 60 seconds, but it will result in the train bridges being closed over ten hours a day, with most of the rail traffic taking place when boating is also at its peak traffic hours. This does not include the existing commercial rail traffic.

Click to download the Seventh Coast Guard District, Navigation Survey.

SWFMIA Annual Dinner

IMPORTANT! Due to a very strong response from our members and guests, we have moved Wednesday’s dinner across the street from the City Pier back to Harborside (1375 Monroe Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901). Looks like this will be our biggest Annual Dinner ever.


Mark your calendars for Wednesday, September 17th for our Annual Meeting at the City Pier building on the Caloosahatchee in downtown Fort Myers. Cocktails, Dinner, a candidates “Meet and Greet” prior to elections, an auction to raise funds for our scholarship/community donation fund, and our “State of the Association” Presentation. Please RSVP by emailing

St. Pete needs breakwaters in any pier plan


ST. PETERSBURG — Water taxis, kayaking and courtesy boat slips all made the short list for the city’s new pier, reflective of a community eager to turn its signature waterfront into a maritime playground.

But those plans may be unrealistic, according to a consortium of about 50 local boat builders and nautical firms who are warning that the unprotected waters around the pier would damage moored boats and often are too choppy for activities like kayaking and paddle-boarding.

Although attention has been focused on the high-profile pier project, behind the scenes, leaders of the Tampa Bay Marine Industries Region have been telling local leaders they need to invest in breakwaters to calm the waters around the city’s downtown.

“None of this is going to work without a breakwater,” said Jopie Helsen, group chairman.

The group, with members from Catalina Yachts and Mastry Engine Center, has been meeting to draw up a proposal to transform the city’s waterfront. Now the group is going public and looking to gain support for its proposal.

Breakwaters would help protect the city’s downtown from storm surge in the event of a hurricane and calm the waters in the city marina and other moorings. That would attract yacht and power-boat owners who shy away from tying up expensive vessels in St. Petersburg because they fear wave damage, Helsen said.

“St. Petersburg should be the No. 1 boating destination in the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico,” Helsen said. “But it’s a lousy boating destination. When it’s rough, there’s no protection.”

A preliminary design produced by the group shows 1,200 feet of breakwaters including a submerged breakwater west of the pier and two above-water structures extending from Vinoy and Lassing parks. Those could become extensions of the parks, giving walkers, joggers and cyclists a fun trip out into the bay, Helsen said.

Rubble from the demolition of the old pier approach could be used to construct the structures that would then be overlaid with lime rock. Over time, the underwater breakwater would become like a reef and attract marine life, Helsen said.

Such a project would not be cheap. Industry estimates run between $15,000 and $25,000 per foot, which means construction costs could run up to $30 million. Any such project also would have to navigate a host of permitting and environmental hurdles.

“There is a lot of environmental and cost issues,” said Dave Metz, interim administrator of city development. “The city has listened. As we develop the pier area and the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan, those ideas will be looked at closer.”

Some of the cost could come from federal funds. President Barack Obama recently signed into law a bill that makes more money available for dredging, ports and harbor projects.

Helsen and other leaders of Tampa Bay Marine Industries Region have shown their ideas to several local groups including the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ross Preville, who is chairman of the chamber’s Downtown Waterfront Master Plan Task Force, said the idea was well-received at the chamber and that he would be pushing for its inclusion in the waterfront plan that is being developed by AECOM Corp.

He said the results of the public meetings and online poll conducted by the Pier Working Group show residents want more activities on the new pier than just a place to fish and stroll.

“My understanding is in order to accomplish this we do need to add protection, and I don’t know any other way to do that than a breakwater,” Preville said.

Catering to boaters may make economic sense. More than 47,000 recreational boats are registered in Pinellas County, the most in Florida. Add Hillsborough and Pasco counties, and there are more than 111,000 registered recreational boats within a day-trip of the city.

But few boaters visit St. Petersburg because of a lack of available courtesy boat slips and because easterly winds often kick up strong waves that slam boats against their moorings.

On, boat owners leave reviews for other boaters. Reviews of the moorings in St. Petersburg rave about the city and its downtown but frequently leave warnings about conditions.

“Pass it by if winds are E or NE above 10 knots,” wrote Apollo Beach resident John Stocksdale, reviewing moorings in the Vinoy Basin. “Surge gets in the basin and makes it feel like the inside of a washing machine.”

Those same conditions would likely play havoc with boaters trying to tie up at a new pier or navigate a kayak, said Nancy Frainetti, who for seven years ran The Electric Marina Boat Rentals in the North Yacht Basin renting out kayaks, pedal boats and 21- and 24-foot electric boats. She shuttered the business when the pier closed.

“There were at least 100 or more days a year I had to close the business because the wind was blowing out of the east and the waves were just crashing,” she said. “It wouldn’t be safe to send out people, plus it was damaging my boats.”

Boat slips and kayaking also were part of the ill-fated Lens pier design that voters soundly rejected in a referendum last year.

That may have been a blessing because that pier would have suffered from the same buffeting, said Robert Weisberg, distinguished university professor at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, who specializes in physical oceanography, which is the study of ocean circulation and waves.

Weisberg said the pier design was unrealistic for Tampa Bay conditions and likely would not have stood up to a Category 1 hurricane. The activities proposed for the new pier also may not be practical in some weather conditions.

He said he hopes this time around the city will take advantage of the world-renowned marine research institution it has in its backyard.

“For the Lens debacle, I don’t think anybody consulted with anybody in my college,” he said. “That was a serious error. It remains to be seen how much we get consulted on any new projects.”

The son of a boat builder, Helsen has been involved in yachting all his life. Once a yacht designer, he now runs Sailor’s Wharf, a boat servicing company in the Salt Creek area.

For St. Petersburg, he envisions students taking water taxis from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg to go out in the evening, and yachts docked in transient slips so the passengers can dine along Beach Drive and sleep in calm waters on their boat.

But he worries that most leaders and planners do not understand boating. The group’s video that was released Friday claims most planners view the downtown area from the land looking out.

“We see it from the water side looking in,” the narrator says.

Tribune staff
(727) 215-7654
Twitter: @codonnellTBO


View waterfront plan concept video here.

Paradigm Yacht Sales Merges with Pier One Yacht Sales

Pier One Yacht Sales

Pier One Yacht Sales owners Len Garofoli and Tony Mondello announced today that Paradigm Yacht Sales located at Cape Harbour Marina in Cape Coral, FL has merged their company with Pier One Yacht Sales.

Pat Roush started Paradigm Yacht Sales in 2003 with an office in Cape Coral. Pat moved the office to Cape Harbour Marina located in Cape Coral, FL in 2007. Pat Roush, who was Sales Manager of Jefferson Yachts before starting Paradigm has 20 years experience in the boating industry.

“This is a win win situation with benefits” says Roush. “With the collective knowledge and experience of all parties involved and the worldwide exposure of Pier One Yacht Sales, this is one merger where the most important part will be for our clients. They are the ones who will benefit the most”. “We will not be closing the office in Cape Harbour Marina” Roush went on to say, “If anything we will be expanding its impact. This gives both Paradigm clients and Pier One clients who are from Cape Coral, Ft. Myers, St James City and Matlacha a closer office while still getting all the benefits of Pier One’s three other locations”. The Cape Harbour office will now be called, Pier One Yacht Sales at Cape Harbour.

Pier One Yacht Sales presently has three locations, Burnt Store Marina, Cape Haze Plaza and its main office located in Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda. Pier One was founded by Len Garofoli, former Vice President of Navigator Yachts Inc. back in the fall of 2004. “Any firm in Florida would have jumped at the chance to work with Pat and his team” said Garofoli, “All I can say is that I am honored that he is now on our team”.

Pier One Yacht Sales started as a dealer for Navigator Yachts, Californian Yachts and Legacy yachts. Garofoli expanded the brokerage part of the firm when he moved from Gasparilla Marina to Fishermen’s Village back in 2006.

In October of 2011, Garofoli brought in Tony Mondello, former VP of IBM, as a full partner. “These are the places to be” says Mondello. “Three resort marinas with over 3 million people a year, from all over the world, walking by our windows. We have a selling tool that no other firm in the area can offer”.

This is the third brokerage firm to join under the Pier One banner in the last 18 months. The merger now makes Pier One Yacht Sales the largest brokerage firm between Charlotte and Lee County that has four fully staffed offices with a total of 22 brokers serving South West Florida.

For more information contact:
Len Garofoli
Pier One Yacht Sales

Marina Operators Roundtable


Marina Operators Roundtable

Join us for our upcoming Marina Operators Roundtable. This event is a chance for marinas, dealers, and related businesses to network, discuss issues of common interest, and share ideas. This meeting’s agenda includes:

  • Electrical shock issues
  • WiFi for marina customers
  • Marina security & break-ins
  • A presentation by Florida’s clean marina program
  • An open forum session
  • Cocktail hour sponsored by SWFMIA

The event is open to all SWFMIA members and guests.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Time: 3:30PM – 6:30PM
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel
13051 Bell Tower Drive
Ft. Myers 33907
RSVP Today: or call 954-570-7785

Vote NO on SB 1126 and HB 955

Vote NO on SB 1126
Please contact your State Senator immediately!

Senator Dean and Representative Goodson have worked hard this session on Senate Bill 1126 and HB 955.

Please OPPOSE any amendments filed to these bills!

Marine Industries strongly opposes the amendments filed by Senator Smith as it would allow local governments to regulate the distance a boat can anchor overnight from a private residence on state sovereign submerged lands.

This is an example of why the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission must continue to pursue the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot program so we can have uniformity on our state waters. Numerous local ordinances, city or county, will only create confusion on our state waters!


Please vote “NO” on the Senator Margolis Amendment to SB 1126

What does it do?
This amendment would grant municipalities in Miami Dafe and Broward County sweeping authority to regulate the overnight anchorages of vessels based on proximity to a private residence.

We are opposed, because the amendment…

  • Undermines the basis for bill’s extension of FWC’s Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program to January 2017, which would allow the state, local governments, and boating stakeholders to develop long term solutions on state anchorage and public water access issues.
  • Undermines the ongoing efforts of local government participants in the pilot program to explore the appropriateness and consequences of regulating anchorages based on proximity to the shoreline.
  • Short circuits the years of extensive work that has been done to bring diverse stakeholders together on the contentious issue of anchorage regulation in the state.
  • Opens the door for a patchwork of unduly burdensome anchorage restrictions.
  • Is hostile to the cruising boating public, which provides a positive economic impact on the state.


SWFMIA Members – Per request from Missy, our lobbyist, please contact your Senator and ask them to oppose the amendment. Below is a listing of the Senators in the Appropriations Committee that will be taking up the amendment tomorrow. Also below are some talking points that you should use to craft an email to your representative. Thank you for taking the two minutes that is needed to demonstrate the power of our membership in communicating to our legislators. – Hans

Committee Members

Name District Phone/Assistant Capitol Office
Abruzzo, Joseph (D) 25 (850) 487-5025
Kimberly Diaz (Wellington), Shreya Kuntawala (Wellington), Philip J. Massa (Wellington)
220 Senate Office Building
Altman, Thad (R) 16 (850) 487-5016
Nancy Bernier (Melbourne), Selene Bruns (Melbourne), Rick Kendust (Melbourne)
314 Senate Office Building
Bean, Aaron (R) 4 (850) 487-5004
Dee Alexander (Jacksonville), James Kotas (Jacksonville), Meghan Tarsitano (Jacksonville)
302 Senate Office Building
Benacquisto, Lizbeth (R) 30 (850) 487-5030
Dane Bennett (Ft. Myers), Tamara Holliday (Ft. Myers), Matthew Hunter (Ft. Myers)
330 Senate Office Building
Bradley, Rob (R) 7 (850) 487-5007
Steven Richardson (Orange Park), Rhett Roberts (Orange Park), Tonya Shays (Starke), Tom Griffin (Tallahassee)
208 Senate Office Building
Brandes, Jeff (R) 22 (850) 487-5022
Robert Combs (St. Petersburg), Caitlin Murray (St. Petersburg), Chris Spencer (St. Petersburg)
318 Senate Office Building
Braynon, Oscar (D) 36 (850) 487-5036
Oneca Lowery (Miami Gardens), Jennifer Rojo Suarez (Miami Gardens), Katia Saint Fleur (Miami Gardens)
213 Senate Office Building
Bullard, Dwight (D) 39 (850) 487-5039
Venusmia Fernandez-Lovely (Cutler Bay), Tyrell Hall (Cutler Bay), Aaron McKinney (Cutler Bay), Sean Nixon (Cutler Bay)
218 Senate Office Building
Clemens, Jeff (D) 27 (850) 487-5027
Evelyn DuPlecy (Lake Worth), Chauncey Graham (Lake Worth), Beth Hartnett-Murphy (Lake Worth)
226 Senate Office Building
Dean, Charles S. “Charlie” (R) 5 (850) 487-5005
Janet Oehmig (Inverness), Judy Wells (Inverness), Nicholas Abrahams (Ocala), Chase Daniels (Ocala)
311 Senate Office Building
Detert, Nancy (R) 28 (850) 487-5028
Charlie Anderson (Venice), Rita Faulkner (Venice), GeeDee Kerr (Venice)
416 Senate Office Building
Diaz de la Portilla, Miguel (R) 40 (850) 487-5040
Anabel Castillo (Miami), Julio Guillen (Miami), Patricia Gosney (Tallahassee)
312 Senate Office Building
Evers, Greg (R) 2 (850) 487-5002
Ann McGraw (Pensacola), Angela Miller (Pensacola), Dave Murzin (Pensacola), Shannon Hardy (Milton)
308 Senate Office Building
Flores, Anitere (R) 37 (850) 487-5037
Maria Chamorro (Miami), Patricia Flor (Miami), Lissette Vasquez (Miami)
413 Senate Office Building
Gaetz (D), Don (R) 1 (850) 487-5001
Emily Badraun (Destin), Allison Hess (Destin), Melissa Ullery (Destin), Eric Edwards (Tallahassee)
212 Senate Office Building
Galvano, Bill (R) 26 (850) 487-5026
Victoria Brill (Bradenton), Whitney Deem (Bradenton), Kathy Galea (Bradenton), Allie Mattice (Bradenton)
326 Senate Office Building
Garcia, Rene (R) 38 (850) 487-5038
Chastity Acosta (Hialeah), Lily Oliveros (Hialeah)
310 Senate Office Building
Gardiner, Andy (R) 13 (850) 487-5013
Gina Herron (Orlando), Kathy Johnson (Orlando), Stacy Vancamp-Garcia (Orlando), Michael “Tony” Cortese (Tallahassee)
420 Senate Office Building
Gibson, Audrey (D) 9 (850) 487-5009
Farisha Hamid (Jacksonville), Teresa Williams-Elam (Jacksonville), Brandy Wright (Jacksonville)
205 Senate Office Building
Grimsley, Denise (R) 21 (850) 487-5021
Larry Ford (Sebring), Marty Mielke (Sebring), Andrea Jahna (Lake Wales), Hilary Webb (Lake Wales)
306 Senate Office Building
Hays, Alan (R) 11 (850) 487-5011
Nanci Cornwell (Umatilla), Jessica Crawford (Umatilla), Anne-Marie Norman (The Villages), Renee Hodges (Clermont)
320 Senate Office Building
Hukill, Dorothy L. (R) 8 (850) 487-5008
Elizabeth Fetterhoff (Port Orange), Lindsey Swindle (Port Orange), Connie Mullis (Ocala)
210 Senate Office Building
Joyner, Arthenia (D) 19 (850) 487-5019
Randi Rosete (Tampa), Rosalie Smith (Tampa), Kassandra Timothe (Tampa)
202 Senate Office Building
Latvala, Jack (R) 20 (850) 487-5020
Tracy Caddell (Clearwater), Courtney Vandenberg (Clearwater), Brenda Johnson
408 Senate Office Building
Lee (T), Tom (R) 24 (850) 487-5024
Audie Canney (Brandon), Brooke Renney (Brandon), Douglas Roberts (Brandon)
418 Senate Office Building
Legg, John (R) 17 (850) 487-5017
Spencer Pylant (Lutz), Rich Reidy (Lutz), Becky Zizzo (Lutz)
316 Senate Office Building
Margolis, Gwen (D) 35 (850) 487-5035
Zoraida Druckman (Miami), Terri Jo Kennedy (Tallahassee)
414 Senate Office Building
Montford, Bill (D) 3 (850) 487-5003
Marilyn Barnes (Tallahassee), Melissa Durham (Tallahassee), Taylor Gilbert (Tallahassee), Marcia Mathis (Tallahassee)
214 Senate Office Building
Negron, Joe (R) 32 (850) 487-5032
Holly Demers (Palm City), Carrie Lira (Palm City), Audra Robitaille (Palm City)
412 Senate Office Building
Richter, Garrett (R) 23 (850) 487-5023
Rebecca “Becky” Kokkinos (Naples), Sandra Mummert (Naples), Michael Nachef (Lehigh Acres)
404 Senate Office Building
Ring, Jeremy (D) 29 (850) 487-5029
John Piskadlo (Margate), Sheldon Plotnick (Margate), Joel Ramos (Margate)
405 Senate Office Building
Sachs, Maria Lorts (D) 34 (850) 487-5034
Matthew Damsky (Delray Beach), Joshua Freeman (Delray Beach), Laura Jimenez (Delray Beach)
216 Senate Office Building
Simmons, David (R) 10 (850) 487-5010
Valerie Clarke (Altamonte Springs), Diane Suddes (Altamonte Springs), Jean Van Smith (Altamonte Springs)
406 Senate Office Building
Simpson, Wilton (R) 18 (850) 487-5018
Patty Harrison (New Port Richey), Judy Parker (New Port Richey), Rachel Perrin Rogers (Tallahassee), Patrick Weightman (Tallahassee)
322 Senate Office Building
Smith (C), Christopher L. (D) 31 (850) 487-5031
Diane Randolph (Fort Lauderdale), Sharonda Wright-Placide (Fort Lauderdale)
200 Senate Office Building
Sobel, Eleanor (D) 33 (850) 487-5033
Timothy Mason (Hollywood), Yale Olenick (Hollywood), Jeremy Shir (Hollywood)
410 Senate Office Building
Soto, Darren (D) 14 (850) 487-5014
Christine Biron (Kissimmee)
220 Senate Office Building
Stargel, Kelli (R) 15 (850) 487-5015
Rachel Barnes (Lakeland), Chris Dowdy (Lakeland), Samantha Hartman (Lakeland)
324 Senate Office Building
Thompson, Geraldine F. (D) 12 (850) 487-5012
Roosevelt Holmes (Orlando), Patrecia Ming (Orlando), Dan Rogers (Orlando)
224 Senate Office Building
Thrasher, John (R) 6 (850) 487-5006
Darla Kubacki (St. Augustine), J.J. Whitson (St. Augustine), Kelly Williams (St. Augustine)
400 Senate Office Building