Making Room for Megayachts
A project to deepen the Intracoastal Waterway through Fort Lauderdale began Wednesday, in an effort to accommodate the floating mansions called megayachts.
These sleek craft boast helipads, elevators, saunas, wine cellars, pools, gyms and luxurious staterooms. But beyond serving as deluxe transportation for the wealthy, they form an important part of the region’s marine economy, with a single megayacht capable of accounting for tens of millions of dollars in repairs and maintenance work at local boatyards.
“We’re extremely excited about the project getting underway,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said. “It’s so important to our economy and so important to our marine industry. I think the project will inject millions of dollars into the economy. Every dollar spent on dredging will stimulate multiple dollars in economic output.”
The work, being done by Cashman Dredging, will run the two miles from the 17th Street bridge to Sunrise Boulevard, deepening the channel from 10 to 15 feet. The dredging will actually take the depth down to 17 feet, with the expectation that silt and sediment will fill in the very bottom.
The project has been eagerly sought by the boating industry, which is both looking forward to reaping the profits from accommodating larger boats and concerned about competition from facilities as far away as Spain.