Port St. Joe marina reopens four years after Hurricane Michael
It has been more than four years since Hurricane Michael flattened the Port St. Joe Marina and almost as long since the community began to anticipate its reopening.
The wait is finally over.
On Wednesday, Nov. 30, the marina, now rebranded as Point South Marina at Port St. Joe, reopened to the public, featuring a new 63,000 square foot dry boat storage facility, a fully stocked outfitter shop with premium outdoor brands and boating necessities, and other amenities.
“I was here the day after the storm hit delivering supplies, and it was just such wreckage,” said Preston Sutter, the marina’s new general manager. “And four years later, I’m sitting in my office now looking out at docks that are rebuilt, fuel pumps, and I just think that it’s going to be such a central hub for both locals and tourists.”
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The loss of the original marina was felt deeply in Port St. Joe.
Before it was destroyed, it served as a gathering place for the community and a landmark for the town.
Sutter said that he was ready to see the facility returned to that role, expressing that marina staff was looking into hosting regular events, starting with a large grand opening celebration.
He also expressed that the facilities would provide support for local businesses serving tourists.
“I think that it’s going to be an amazing thing from a tourist standpoint,” said Sutter, a former professional fishing guide himself. “I mean, we’ll have boat club and pontoon rentals and fishing guides and guided tours and all kinds of things operating out of this marina.”
“I can see it becoming kind of a must-stop when somebody’s on vacation here.”
This sentiment was echoed by the Gulf County Tourist Development Council.
“The reopening of the Point South Marina in Port St. Joe is a pivotal point in our communities recovery from Hurricane Michael in 2018,” said Rebecca Holley, the TDC’s marketing specialist. “The new marina offers a variety of amenities for our locals and will also boost visitation by attracting new visitors to Gulf County. We are truly excited to have this iconic landmark resurrected and look forward to seeing the growth and opportunities the new marina brings to our community.”
But there’s still a little more work to be completed before the marina can be opened fully.
Phase II improvements are underway, according to a releasw from the St. Joe Company, the marina’s owner. Namely, these improvements involve completing the planned floating dock facilities and 48 wet slips.
These projects are expected to be completed around late January or early February in 2023.
Until then, Sutter said that efforts at the marina will start shifting towards integrating the opened facilities into the community, with boat slips already being sold at the dry dock facility and the general store open to holiday shoppers.
“It’s just been kind of out in the distance for so long and now it’s here, so I feel like now we can breathe and just start focusing on serving people, which is what I really like doing,” he said.
Those interested in keeping their boat at Point South Marina Port St. Joe can submit information to reserve a spot now in the brand-new boat barn or opt for one of 48 wet slips scheduled to become available in the marina basin in 2023. Rates start at $17.50 per foot per month for barn storage, with a 25-foot minimum.
For more information, or to discuss setting up an appointment time when the marina can accept your vessel, please reach out to the marina team at www.PointSouthMarina.com or call (850) 797-3489.
This story has been updated from an earlier version to include comment from the Gulf County TDC.