The Coastal Star

Boynton Beach: Water taxi aims to start this month

Admiral is a 40-foot fiberglass boat licensed to carry 43 people. It will depart Boynton Harbor Marina.

Photo provided

By Jane Smith

    After four years and $20,253 in federal tax money, the Boynton Harbor Marina has a water taxi operator. 

    Capt. Dane L. Mark returned to South Florida to set up the service. He had operated the Ramblin’ Rose Riverboat in Delray Beach in the 1990s.

    “We’re thrilled,” said Michael Simon, development director for Boynton Beach. “That means our marina is completely leased. We have dive boats, deep-sea fishing boats, pleasure boats for rent.”

    Mark chose Boynton Harbor Marina because it had dock space available for Admiral, his 40-foot fiberglass boat licensed to carry 43 people. 

    Plus, the marina has free, covered parking for guests, Mark said.

    Separately, the county’s League of Cities is working on a countywide ordinance to make it easier for boat owners to operate a water taxi service, said Richard Radcliffe, executive director of the Palm Beach County group and coordinator of its water taxi task force. 

    In late January, the League’s board approved the ordinance. It streamlines the paperwork for boat owners by allowing them to register with the county for $100 and pay the business tax to the city where they are based, not to all the cities where they stop. The registration is good for two years.

    The county’s boat owners are in favor of it, said John Sprague, who sits on the legislative affairs committee for the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County. “As long as it pertains only to water taxis, we have no problem with it.” 

    The League is working with the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization to make better use of the eight new water taxi docks that were built using federal tax dollars, a total of $842,163 in the past five years.

    The ordinance returns to the County Commission to be heard sometime soon. It will cover all water-taxi docks along the Intracoastal Waterway.

    But Mark is setting up his business now. He has a daily schedule of morning trips from Boynton Beach to Deerfield Beach where guests can cruise down the Intracoastal, marveling at the mansions along the way, then get off for a 90-minute lunch at the Two Georges at The Cove Restaurant. The cost of the 5½-hour round trip is $28, not including food. His vessel is not equipped to do credit card processing, so he suggests visiting an ATM before boarding.

    Although the Admiral is licensed to carry 43 people, Mark will take only 33 on those day trips.

    Thursday through Saturdays, he plans an evening trip to Delray Beach for those who want to dine there or even just visit that city and its funky downtown. The Admiral leaves the Boynton Beach marina at 6 p.m., arrives in Delray Beach at 6:30 p.m. Then departs Delray Beach at 9 p.m. and arrives in Boynton Beach at 9:30 p.m. 

    Mark left South Florida for a variety of reasons, including that he was just starting a family and wanted to raise his children in small town up North where he and his wife are from.

    During that time, he maintained his captain’s license and operated a water taxi service on Lake Erie. His business is dependent on the weather, and last summer was very rainy in northeastern Ohio. So he is back in South Florida, hoping to complete his paperwork and be in business by Feb. 1.

    For reservations (recommended), call 400-9054 or visit palmbeachfl.com-thingstodo/attractions.

 

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Tags: Admiral, Boynton Beach, Boynton Harbor Marina, news, water taxi

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Comment by Bill Bathurst on February 9, 2014 at 10:34pm

Looking for ward to this!

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