The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: New boat ramp options being discussed

Boaters use the ramp at Silver Palm Park, at Palmetto Park Road and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

An angler cleans fish as boaters leave the water via the ramp at Silver Palm Park in Boca Raton.

Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Willie Howard

    Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie wants to improve access to the water for boaters and relieve congestion at Silver Palm Park, the city’s only ocean-access boat ramp.
    In her May 6 state of the city address, Haynie said the city needs to investigate the possibility of building boat ramps with parking at Lake Wyman Park on Northeast Fifth Avenue, north of the existing ramp at Silver Palm Park.
    “We looked into this years ago and there were some environmental concerns,” Haynie said. “But that (proposal) included a marina and fuel sales. I think that pretty much what torpedoed it.”
    Residents often request additional ramps in the city for trailerable boats, Haynie said, noting that the parking spaces at the Silver Palm Park ramp are often filled on weekends and holidays.
    Boca Raton resident Jason Naumann said he drives to Deerfield Beach to launch his 20-foot Sea Craft because the ramp at Silver Palm Park is “a zoo.”
    “A second ramp would be awesome,” Naumann said. “It would give boaters another option. Silver Palm is always packed, and parking is very limited.”
    Boat captain Nick Cardella said Silver Palm Park is typically full “plus some” on weekends.
    The southern half of Palm Beach County has fewer boat ramps providing ocean access than the northern part of the county, said Alyssa Freeman, operations director for the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County.
    “More boat ramps in South County would be beneficial,” Freeman said.
    Palm Beach County residents pay $55 for an annual permit (or $20 per launch) to launch at Silver Palm Park, which is open 24 hours a day. Boaters who live outside Palm Beach County pay $435 for an annual launch permit, or $50 per launch.
    Of the 1,082 boat launch permits issued for Silver Palm Park during the latest complete budget year, 75 percent were issued to city residents who pay Beach & Park District taxes. Most of the remaining launch permits were issued to Palm Beach County boaters who live outside Boca Raton. Only five boaters who live outside the county paid for a $435 annual permit.
    Haynie said the proposed Lake Wyman Park boat ramps could serve boaters from Palm Beach County and the city, while the existing Silver Palm Park ramps, which are closer to the inlet, could be set aside for Boca Raton residents only.
    So far, building boat ramps at Lake Wyman Park is just an idea.

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