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Marina Puerto Chico Expansion: Boosting Fajardo’s Boating Infrastructure with BIG Grant

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Marina Puerto Chico Receives Infrastructure Boost

Puerto Rico has always been a beacon for cruisers, offering a blend of recreational and essential amenities. With attractions ranging from sightseeing to shopping and the essentials of chandleries and airports, Puerto Rico’s appeal is undeniable.

BIG Grant and Its Impact

Soon, finding a slip space in Fajardo’s sought-after east coast will be easier than ever. Marina Puerto Chico has collaborated with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, securing a Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) totaling $1.137 million. This grant will pave the way for new dock construction, elevating transient dockage. A significant part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s BIG program, the grant is among the whopping $20 million earmarked for 2023, with a singular vision: enhancing marinas and related boating infrastructure, thereby promoting outdoor recreation.

Features and Amenities of the New Construction

With the grant’s backing, Marina Puerto Chico is set to unveil 41 slips. Among these, 19 will be transient slips, augmented by a floating wave attenuator. Designed to house boats of varying sizes, with a cap of 50 feet, the new slips promise versatility. But the expansion isn’t merely about numbers. Boaters can look forward to a slew of amenities, including:

  • A dedicated restroom/shower building
  • State-of-the-art sanitary pump-out facilities
  • An ADA-compliant gangway
  • A strategically located fuel dock

Further enhancing the marina’s resilience, the new docks, paired with the floating wave attenuator, are expected to mitigate wave and storm impacts. By targeting both local and out-of-state boaters for short-term stays, the marina’s expansion doesn’t step on the toes of local marinas focusing on long-term tenants.

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Financial Backing and Future Prospects

Grand Caribbean Marinas, the proud owner of Marina Puerto Chico, is committed to the project’s success. They’ve pledged an additional $968,582, ensuring that the project sees the light of day.

Marlon Mellado, the driving force behind Grand Caribbean Marinas and a significant player in Puerto Rico’s marina landscape, pegged the project’s total estimated cost at $4.5 million as of January. Mellado believes this initiative marks a pivotal step in amplifying boating infrastructure while also boosting tourism in the Fajardo community.

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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