Yacht servicing and refurbishing company Rybovich is one step closer to being able to work extensively on mega-yachts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permitting of a dredging project in the Intracoastal Waterway.
The permits issued Friday will allow a channel west of Peanut Island to be deepened to 15 feet from 10 feet for three-quarters of a mile.
The dredging will extend from the area near the Port of Palm Beach to Rybovich’s Marine Center at 2010 Avenue B in Riviera Beach just south of the Blue Heron Bridge.
Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach; Riviera Beach Councilwoman Dawn Pardo, Rybovich President Wayne Huizenga Jr;. and Florida Inland Navigation District Executive Director Mark Crosley gathered by the Intracoastal at Rybovich Marine Center to announce the permit in the works for six years.
Crosley said the dredging, funded by taxpayers through FIND, will cost an estimated $2 million to $3 million. No start date has been determined for the project expected to take about a year. Roughly 95,000 cubic yards of dredged material will go to Peanut Island.
“This is good dredging, not bad dredging,” Frankel said, referring to another controversial but unrelated potential dredging project at the Port of Palm Beach.
“The marine industry is a $9 billion industry in South Florida — 135,000 jobs, good-paying jobs,” Frankel said.
The project has the potential to bring the world’s largest yachts to the area along with millions of dollars of economic impact, Frankel said.
Pardo said, “Riviera Beach will soon be known around the world as the marine capital of the United States.”
The deeper channel will also allow defense contractor Lockheed Martin to bring larger U.S. Navy vessels into its facility for work. Currently, those vessels can only be serviced locally at the Port of Palm Beach.
Huizenga compared the channel’s deepening to a new highway and said two hurdles remain.
A separate permit to dredge an 800-foot access channel from Rybovich is still pending. In addition, Riviera Beach needs to permit the company’s expansion on land, such as more buildings to hold equipment and offices.
Rybovich plans to tow yachts from its West Palm Beach facility on Flagler Drive three miles to its Riviera Beach center where the work will be performed. It works on yachts as large as 330 feet in the water, and on yachts of up to 160 feet out of the water. When all the dredging and expansion is completed, it will be able to work on yachts as large as 250 feet out of the water, Huizenga said.
Last year the company with 330 employees competed 297-yacht-related projects such as painting, deck replacement and expansions.
“We are able to berth larger yachts at our West Palm Beach facility, but we are not able to haul them out of the water,” Huizenga said.