The Port of Fort Pierce will soon be a major port of call for the global fleet of megayachts and large sailing yachts.
After signing a 75-year lease with St. Lucie County in April 2019, Derecktor Fort Pierce began the lengthy approval/permitting process as required by its agreement. The facility opened for in-water service and dockage the following November, while at the same time permitting for development was submitted to Florida Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approval.
Permitting was officially approved in October of 2020, allowing Derecktor to begin development of necessary infrastructure improvements in December. The facility is currently bursting with construction activity as work on the haul-out basin, utility loop and assembly of the 1,500-ton mobile boat hoist – largest in the world – is all being done concurrently.
Hauling operations at Derecktor Fort Pierce are scheduled to commence in May of 2021, coinciding with the centennial of Fort Pierce Inlet opening in 1921.
“The inlet provides unobstructed deep-water access to the Atlantic Ocean allowing safe passage for the largest yachts in the world, so it’s fitting the opening of the yard aligns with the centennial,” Justin Beard, marketing and sales development for Derecktor Shipyards, said. “Not only is this going to be a new destination for the global fleet, but Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County stand to benefit substantially as the marine industry continues to grow over the next 100 years or more.”
Once fully operational, Derecktor Fort Pierce will be a full-service shipyard capable of accommodating yachts up to 150 meters (500 feet) in length, with a hauling capacity of 76 meters (250).
Derecktor is working with Indian River State College, Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County and Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast in creating a yacht service technician apprenticeship program to build the skilled workforce needed to support the local marine industry.
“Building a program from scratch and finding the right candidates who are interested in learning a marine industry trade takes time, but we’ve had success with a similar program at our Dania Beach facility, so we’re confident about it working in St. Lucie County,” Beard said. “Hiring at the shipyard will ramp up quickly as the facility comes online this spring and we envision the training program developing in due course.”