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News notes – Florida – October 2006

New Riviera Yachts dealer in St. Pete

Thunder Marine of St. Petersburg, Fla., has been named an official dealer by Riviera Yachts of the Americas, covering the West Coast of Florida, according to Mike Scruggs, president and CEO of the company.

Thunder Marine will handle the line of Australian-built Flybridge Convertibles, Sport Cruisers and Sport Yachts ranging from 33 to 60 feet.

“I personally went down to Australia to look at the manufacturing setup and was hugely impressed by the quality construction,” says Mark LaPrade, president of Thunder Marine.

The dealership also sells Baja, Bayliner, Hydra-Sports, Luhrs, Maxum, Silverton and Trophy boats.

Three Florida marinas to become yacht clubs

Granite Partners of New York City, representing Yacht Clubs of the Americas, announced it has arranged $200 million in first mortgage and mezzanine debt for the largest financing of a multiple marina transaction.

The buyer is acquiring three marinas in Tampa, Naples and Key West, Fla., for redevelopment as “dockominium” and “rackominium” locales with individual boat spaces owned by individual boaters. Once redeveloped, the sites will offer “yacht club-style” services to the sites, which together will encompass 1,750 new dry rack boat storage spaces and 142 wet slips.

YCOA acquired the properties from three different sellers for a combined price of $99 million. Together with $7 million in equity, the overall transaction value was $207 million. The latter figure includes redevelopment costs.

Tow service grows in the Bahamas

TowBoatU.S. expanded into the Bahamas with two new locations. The new ports — TowBoatU.S. Marsh Harbor in the Abacos and TowBoatU.S. West End on Grand Bahama Island — represent the first 24-hour presence by TowBoatU.S. in the Bahamas. The new ports are an expansion of TowBoatU.S. Port Canaveral, Fla., owned by Jess Cooley.

“By positioning our vessels in the Bahamas we greatly reduce response times,” Cooley says in a statement. “This region sees a lot of transient cruisers, and tournaments bring in the big sportfishing crowd, but there is also a good quantity of local boats that could use our assistance on occasion.”

The TowBoatU.S. ports in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, Fla., will also continue to provide service to parts of the Bahamas.

TowBoatU.S. Marsh Harbor is adjacent to Rainbow Rentals and Marine while TowBoatU.S. West End is at the Harbour Hotel & Marina.