Major reconstruction work is due to start within the next month at Bobby’s Marina in Great Bay, kicking off a project that has been in the pipeline for some four years. Up will come the existing wooden docks, to be replaced by concrete slips and a new breakwater to cope with the swirl and swell that enters Great Bay in a clockwise direction.
The yard will continue to host the assortment of motor fishing boats, catamarans and visiting yachts but the addition of the new slip, coupled with dredging to 15ft, will allow up to 12 megayachts to berth in Philipsburg.
According to Director Raymond Ditton, these slips would appeal not so much to the larger yachts that come to St Maarten’s Simpson Bay Lagoon for weeks, but for those who want to arrive, shop and be underway again to St Barths or further afield without waiting for bridge openings.
These are busy months for Bobby’s Marina. On the lagoon itself, the Cole Bay yard development looks to have received government approval at last. In September’s All At Sea we reported how the plans for the $5 million project had hit opposition from angry local residents and was holed up with the planning department waiting for a hindrance permit. Now, the Cole Bay yard, which will include a record-breaking 500-ton travelift, looks to have received government go ahead, making it the first marina on the Dutch side to meet local government planning restrictions relating to a fire plan, drainage and access.
Bobby’s Marina began in 1971 as Bobby’s Yacht Service and was the first yard in the Caribbean to bring in a 50-ton travelift. It currently has a 90-ton lift, the only one of its kind in the northeastern Caribbean, which can handle boats up to 22′ wide.