News & Updates

Long-Term Agreement Finalized to Develop the Port of Fort Pierce into a Mega-Yacht Center

More than 20 years after St. Lucie County made its first purchase of land inside the Port of Fort Pierce, the Port is poised to become a major player in the world’s mega-yacht maintenance, refurbishing and overhaul (MRO) industry. St. Lucie County Commissioners voted 5-0 on April 16 on a 30-year agreement with Derecktor Shipyards, which has operations in South Florida, New York and Maine. The Derecktor/ Fort Pierce MRO facility will focus on a booming market that includes mega yachts (200 feet and larger) and, unique to the US, large sailing vessels.

Paul Derecktor, owner of Derecktor Shipyard, signs the official agreement with St. Lucie County to become the operator of the Port of Fort Pierce, focusing on maintenance and overhaul of mega-yachts.

Industry experts have long thought the Port of Fort Pierce, situated on Florida’s east coast between Port Canaveral and Miami, less than three miles from the mouth of the deep-water Fort Pierce Inlet and offering unobstructed access to the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean, ideally suited for the development of a maintenance and refit facility for marine vessels, including large recreational vessels that have made calls on the port in increasing number over the years. The Port’s close proximity to the Treasure Coast International Airport and Business Park, with its growing U.S. Customs facility and expanding Foreign Trade Zone, is a great benefit to each.

In early 2018, St. Lucie County Commissioners finalized the purchase of the former Indian River Terminal (with its valuable 1200 feet of heavy-duty seawall used primarily for cargo for decades) together with a 10-percent interest in an undeveloped 67-acre tract inside the Port of Fort Pierce known as the Bell Property.

St. Lucie County went through an extensive year-long procurement process with the Board selecting Derecktor as the top-ranked firm. (The second ranked firm, Fort Pierce Yacht and Ship, had already purchased land inside the Port area and will continue to benefit the Port and community through its development and operation as a second MRO facility in the Port).

Paul Derecktor, owner of Derecktor Shipyard, hands St. Lucie County Attorney Dan McIntyre a signed copy of the 30-year agreement to operate out of the Port of Fort Pierce, while St. Lucie County Commission Chair Linda Bartz adds her signature to the documents.

The County/Derecktor agreement will generate an annual guaranteed revenue stream of over $1.35 million that will cover the County’s debt service for bonds issued to purchase the property. St. Lucie County will also receive an amount equal to 2 percent of Derecktor’s gross revenues from $30-40 million and 1 percent of gross revenues above that.

Derecktor will assume responsibility for the full development, operations, and maintenance of the terminal, will create a job training/apprenticeship program with Indian River State College and other local organizations, and, underscoring its commitment to the local community, actually relocate its corporate headquarters to Fort Pierce.

 Finally, again reflecting its commitment to the Port of Ft Pierce and the community, Derecktor intends to acquire and operate what will likely be the world’s largest mobile ship lift.

St . Lucie County’s goal is straightforward: Create an enduring source of economic activity that will generate high-paying, long-term jobs within the community. An economic analysis by Fishkind & Associates of Orlando projected that a vibrant, working port in Fort Pierce would create up to 900 skilled-trades jobs in three to five years.

What was once a dream is now becoming a reality.

For more information about the Port of Fort Pierce visit: