BY JACK SHORT - Anglers participating in the upcoming fishing tournament may find themselves looking for dockage. While there are some island options, one of the oldest and most tried-and-true is just off-island on Placida Road and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Palm Island Marina is offering discounted dockage during the tournaments, cutting the normal price of $2 per night per foot down to $1 for boats fishing in the tournament. And, of course, those taking advantage of the discount will still be entitled to the benefits of their “resort style” marina.
“This is not just a place you dock or store your boat,” said Tim Lynch, general manager. He and his father, Terry, have run the Palm Island Marina for the last 16 years. Tim said he is proud of the family atmosphere and his employees, most of whom he said have been with him for a long time.
Though he was a software engineer before coming on board at the marina, he said he feels more at home upstairs in the harbormaster’s office – Tim grew up around boats, has had a boat since he was six years old and has been a captain for about 25 years, he said.
Terry entered into business in the early nineties with Dean and Garfield Beckstead, the original owners and now silent partners in the marina. Gar founded Useppa and Dean founded Palm Island Resort. Dean is still the owner of Palm Island Resort.
That partnership pays off in a big way for patrons of the marina, who are automatically considered members of the Palm Island Marina Yacht Club with its private pool, and full use of Palm Island Resort and Useppa Island Club. Tim said there are a few surprises, particularly on Saturday nights, that people will have to stop by and discover.
Terry added that patrons are entitled to a discount at Johnny Leverock’s, which is on the premises, and the Rum Bay Restaurant, which can be reached by boat or a ferry from the marina. The ferry service is discounted, too.
Tim said that there have been many changes in the last three years. They’ve opened their own service department and their certified techs can service motors, electronics, fiberglass, perform bottom work and much more.
They are also a Mercury/Mercruiser dealer and sell Aeon boats, which come as a 20-foot or 23-foot custom fishing boat that Terry said is perfect for the flats or the Pass.
Terry used to own Gulf Wind Marine, the United States’ largest Sea Ray dealer and the world’s largest Boston Whaler dealer. He sold to Marine Max about seven years ago and when Marine Max closed, it left a need for a service department that could perform needed work for customers at the marina. He was happy to bring back some of the same people that used to work for him, such as Mike Nix, who had also worked at the Mercury/Mercabo test center.
Though they have a full service department, Terry said, guests are not subject to the same sanding and grinding people will find at some marinas.
“Here, you’re sitting by a pool,” he said. “A waitress is serving you cocktails. It’s a big difference.”
They have room for those who need dry or wet storage, transient or otherwise, with about 100 slips in the water that can accommodate boats up to roughly 65 feet, and about 200 dry slips for boats up to 50 feet. A small percentage are available at this time.
Stop by and check out the marina, or just wish Terry luck in the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament on May 23 and 24.
He’ll be fishing on Team Savannah alongside Steve Futch and a few others.
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