Public hourly boat docks open along downtown waterfront

Published May 25, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - Mayor Rick Baker rode in on a boat Thursday like he was George Washington crossing the Delaware River.

After five years of trying, the city has finally opened a set of public hourly docks along its downtown waterfront.

Accompanied by two City Council members, Baker used a fishing boat to demonstrate the new pay-as-you-use system.

"It's a great opportunity to even more enjoy all of the things going on in St. Pete, " Baker said after exiting the boat.

In the city's continuing efforts to bring more people downtown, Baker and others are banking on its sprawling waterfront to chip in for the first time.

The eight hourly docks are just a start, city officials said. If the initial program succeeds, officials say they will consider expanding the effort in its municipal marina.

The docks are available first-come, first-served, and can accommodate boats up to 60 feet long.

The docks cannot be used overnight, and cost $1 an hour. The meter machine attached to the slips accepts credit cards.

Council member John Bryan had been interested in adding hourly dock space along the downtown waterfront since he took office.

Growing up, he use to tie his boat to the seawall. Finally, there's a better option, he said.

Marina officials will enforce parking restrictions, which include a six-hour limit, said Walt Miller, who manages the facility.

The fine is $20 per hour, he said.

Aaron Sharockman can be reached at asharockman@sptimes.com or 727 892-2273.

Fast Facts:

New downtown courtesy docks

The docks, which are on the south side of the Pier approach next to Bayshore Drive, are open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. first-come, first-served. The docks cost $1 an hour, with a six-hour limit.