Make us your home page
Instagram

Dock at Indian Rocks, for free and for fun

Indian Rocks Beach welcomes boaters of all types to dock for free during the day at its public docks on the Intracoastal Waterway. Within two blocks of the docks, visitors will find more than a dozen restaurants, shops and attractions.

Bill Demarest gazed at the new floating boat docks on the Intracoastal Waterway side of Indian Rocks Beach. "Every town should have one of these," the boater said.

Demarest had tied up his 22-foot Sailfish and, with his wife, two young daughters and their friend, were headed to get lunch a couple blocks away at Slyce Pizza Bar.

"IRB has some of the best places to eat on the beach," the Madeira Beach resident said. "We were probably some of the first people to use the docks."

Since the free public docks, which accommodate 18 boats, opened this spring at Keegan Clair Park, at the end of Second Street and Miami Avenue, they've drawn about 50 boaters a day on weekends, the only time a dockmaster is present to keep records, said Dean Scharmen, public services director.

"Overall, people are just absolutely fascinated and thrilled that the city would do this," said Scharmen, who oversaw the $550,000 project. "From the docks, you can walk to over 12 restaurants and shops in a two-block district, and 300 yards away is the Gulf of Mexico."

Pinellas County has about 47,700 registered boats, second only to Dade County. Most dock users come from between Tarpon Springs and St. Petersburg and are driving anything from personal watercraft to powerboats.

Shawn Byrne of Treasure Island, returning to his 30-foot Scarab, said he was pleasantly surprised to spot the docks.

"I was just cruising by and saw a dockmaster and the sign on the piling that said "courtesy dock," so I checked it out," said Byrne, who was on his way back from Jimmy Guana's, a restaurant and bar complex at the Holiday Inn Harbourside, a 1-minute walk away. "It's rare to see something as nice as this and free."

Nonmotorized boaters such as kayakers and standup paddleboarders have a place to dock or launch as well, partly thanks to input from Steve LeVine, owner of Watersports West in Largo and a longtime Indian Rocks resident.

"I was really happy with the outcome," LeVine said. "A nice path with steps runs right into the water and it goes to a beach for easy launching."

The docks are also convenient for pickups, boat captain Jim Labadie discovered. Labadie, a city councilor and co-owner of Colonial Court Inn, often takes guests on fishing and sightseeing tours.

"I used to have to meet them at the Belleair Causeway boat ramp 3 miles away, and they had to pay for parking. Now they just walk across the street."

Local businesses are equally buoyant about the project. Many, including Slyce and Jimmy Guana's, have experienced an increase in customers, and some are actively courting boaters.

At Impressive Designs & Florida Wines, a gift and wine shop a block from the docks, owner Bev Malley added chilled wine in pouches and plans to sell microbrews.

At Slyce, which has indoor and outdoor seating, hungry boaters have increased sales and inspired new services.

"First we started delivering pizzas to the docks," said co-owner Ken Gillespie. "Then, because there wasn't always room or boaters didn't want to stop, we added delivery by water. Now we have a Slyce jet ski and we go out to boats."

Paul Jenkins Jr., general manager at the landmark Crabby Bill's, sees the docks, two blocks from the restaurant complex, as a catalyst for further development of the business area.

"I'd love it to be a centerpiece for IRB," Jenkins said. "We're extremely excited about it."

Area maps already are posted, but Jenkins and other merchants are working on a welcome kiosk at Keegan Clair Park that will provide boaters and other visitors with detailed information on nearby sights and businesses.

This story originally appeared at Visit Florida.

If you go

The free Indian Rocks Beach Public Boat Docks are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Overnight stays are not allowed. For information, visit www.indian-rocks-beach.com or call 727-595-2517. Public restrooms, 203 4th Ave. N., open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Nearby

Indian Rocks Historical Museum: 203 4th Ave. N., 727-593-3861, www.irbmuseum.com.

Impressive Designs & Florida Wines, 311 1st St., 727-595-9000, www.impressivefloridawines.com

Jimmy Guana's, 401 2nd St., 727-595-8356, www.hiharbourside.com

Crabby Bills, 401 Gulf Blvd., 727-595-4825, www.crabbybills.com

Slyce Pizza Bar, 311 Gulf Blvd., 727-408-5272, www.slycepizzabar.com

Lighthouse Donuts, 215 Gulf Blvd., 727-517-8722

Keegan Clair Park, Second Street and Miami Avenue, Indian Rocks Beach

Dock at Indian Rocks, for free and for fun 12/04/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 4:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bar review: Les Partners Lounge goes old-school in Clearwater

    Bars & Spirits

    There are some local places that I'm shocked aren't more well known, and I think that's the result of a general aversion to stepping out of one's comfort zone. I make regular concerted efforts to step outside of mine, which often leads me to strange and rewarding drinking establishments.

    Les Partners Lounge is an old-school, smoker-friendly cocktail lounge and live music venue tucked away in a nondescript shopping plaza in Island Estates.
  2. Local craft beer of the week: Plongeur a L'eponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

    Bars & Spirits

    Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. has a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to wild ale brewing, utilizing an open brewing approach involving uncovered fermenters in order to brew beer with local ambient microbes, reminiscent in some ways to the fermentation techniques used by rustic farmhouse breweries in Belgium …

     Plongeur a?€š€™L?ˆš??ponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, 6/23/17  Electric Chair Sour Shandy, Angry Chair Brewing, 6/30/17   Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA, Motorworks Brewing 7/7/17
  3. ‘80s acts dominate lineup of 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

    Blogs

    Oh, yes. Christmas is coming early this year to ‘80s fans in Florida. Disney’s Epcot Center has announced the lineup to its “Eat to the Beat” concert series that coincides with their annual International Food & Wine Festival.

  4. Equality Florida leader honored at Tampa U2 concert

    Briefs

    TAMPA — Equality Florida director Nadine Smith couldn't attend last week's U2 concert in Tampa, but she can tell you which of her friends had great seats for the June 14 show at Raymond James Stadium.

    Nadine Smith, Equality Florida founder and CEO, received a unique distinction last week when U2 included her in a montage of photos saluting activism and women leaders.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 23

    Events

    Leslie Odom Jr.: A solo concert by the Broadway star who won a Tony for his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton. 7 p.m., Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $35.50-$55.50. (813) 229-7827.

    Leslie Odom Jr. accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical in "Hamilton"  during the 70th Annual Tony Awards  on June 12, 2016.  (Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)