St. Augustine Marina getting $2.5 million upgrade

FEMA-funded improvements will protect boats, infrastructure from storms

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A new $2.5 million, 1,000-foot breakwater dock is being readied at St. Augustine Marina to protect boats, slips and marina infrastructure from storms and storm surge.

The reason for the construction? A little over the past decade hurricanes have done about $1.5 million worth of damage to the St. Augustine Municipal Marina.

The project stems from a project Federal Emergency Management Agency asked the city of St. Augustine to take on.

"People that have boats here, since this has been in we've actually had several people comment on how great it is now inside not as rough and they're loving it," said Jim Piggott, city of St. Augustine's director of general services.

After years of storm damage to the popular marina -- which can hold over 80 boats -- FEMA helped the city pay for the repairs.

"FEMA actually paid the bulk of that and they said what are you guys going to do to mitigate the amount of money you've put into the docks and we said we would build a breakwater," added Piggott.

A breakwater will be help when storm winds and rain push waves up against the marina.

"A breakwater is a dock system where it's going to protect the life of the docks this breakwater is designed to knock a three foot wave into a six inch wave," explained Piggott.

Construction started in November when they began to build the dock off-site. That dock was installed during the second week in February. Four new slips will be added, but the breakwater isn't designed to be another dock- it's a preventative measure that Piggott says will give the marina 20 more years of life.

"Hopefully it will bring some more boat traffic into the city but also we have a cruise ship we'll be able to put another cruise ship on the face dock," Piggott said.

The city issued an $18 million bond two years ago and the breakwater money came from that. The ship channel under the Bridge of Lions will be 100 feet from the end of the dock. The construction on the marina is set to be complete by the third week in April.

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