Marinalife's 2023 Best Marina Contest

September 2023

Where’s your go-to spot to tie up? Whether it’s a favorite hometown marina or annual vacation resort, celebrate their service with Marinalife’s highly anticipated Best Marina Contest! Send your choice of the top marinas of 2023 in two categories: Best Large Marina (over 100 slips) and Best Small Marina (under 100 slips). Submit your selections by October 2, 2023.

Best Small Marina (under 100 slips)
Best Small Marina City and State
Best Large Marina (over 100 slips)
Best Large Marina City and State
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Marina Updates: What's Up Dock?

From small ports to luxury resorts, marina marinas are buzzing with news and exciting announcements. Constantly working to accommodate boaters' needs from upgraded amenities to new restaurant openings, these dockmasters continue to enhance facilities and make guests feel at home. Check out the latest happenings at the following marinas from the New England coast to the Atlantic seaboard and the lakes of the midwest.

Courtesy of Newport Harbor Island Resort

Newport Harbor Island Resort

Newport, RI

This plush resort on Goat Island completed a $50 million renovation this spring, marking a new era for the former Gurney’s Resorts property. Davidson Hospitality Group and Pebblebrook Hotel Trust present the newly revamped facility with a 22-slip marina, a contemporary spa, and upgraded culinary outlets such as 1639, Torpedo Bar and Lounge, The Bakery, and the beloved Pineapple Club. The hotel boasts expansive guestrooms and suites filled with décor commissioned by local artists.  

LoonASea Marina

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore’s local sports bar chain, Looney’s Pub, recently purchased the former River Watch Restaurant & Marina in the Essex community, revamping it with a major facelift. Located on the banks of Hopkins Creek, the renovated property premieres this season as the all-new LoonASea Marina & Restaurant. Boaters will love the beachy vibe with lively entertainment, fruity cocktails and 40-slip transient marina with amenities including showers, Wi-Fi, pumpout and a service facility next door.  

Anchor Yacht Basin

Edgewater, MD

Located on Turkey Point Island just outside of Annapolis, this full-service marina completed a major renovation to better accommodate guests. Facilities include newly installed underground fuel tanks with a point-of- sale system, new hydraulic trailer with 75-ton travel lift, and fully renovated bathrooms, showers, and ships store. The marina also reconfigured the docks to offer 29-foot-wide easy access and accommodate catamarans.  

Waterways Marina

Richmond Hill, GA

Coastal Georgia’s newest and nicest dry stack marina is located 30 minutes south of Savannah and offers 200 dry storage racks for boats up to 36 feet in length. Waterways is currently building 103 wet slips accommodating boats up to 40 feet. Located in a luxury development but offering boat storage to the public, this full-service, valet marina offers top-notch security and access to amenities including a gym, pool and restaurant onsite.

Legendary Marina & Yacht Club

Gulf Shores, AL

This new marina is proud to bring a state-of-the-art facility to the heart of the Gulf Shores maritime community. Legendary accommodates vessels up to 65 feet and boasts extensive amenities such as a fuel dock, ship store, on-site service team, pool, clubhouse, and a remarkable dry storage facility for vessels up to 50 feet. The dry storage boat racks are designed with hurricane-proof precision to protect against Category 5 wind speeds. Enjoy a seamless booking experience through the launch request app service.  

Snook Bight Marina | Courtesy of Gorman Marine Construction

Snook Bight Marina

Fort Myers, FL

In September 2022, Hurricane Ian devastated this Fort Myers Beach marina, resulting in its complete destruction and shutdown. The Suntex Marinas property worked with Golden Marine Systems and RJ Gorman Marine Construction to restore and reopen the facility in record time. The new Golden 850 Series aluminum docks are meticulously crafted with premium marine-grade structure and stainless-steel hardware for ultimate durability and resistance. The marina features 70 floating docks for vessels up to 50 feet, 200 hurricane-rated indoor storage racks, fuel, ship’s store, private pool and club room.  

Nine Marina

Eufaula, OK

Lake Eufaula’s premier destination recently completed a full renovation with first-class construction from the Oklahoma-based company, Marine Development, Inc. The project featured reconstruction of the ship store and fuel dock, plus marina expansion of 34 covered slips. Amenities include restrooms, boat rentals, boat sales and a convenient storage platform. Feast on authentic street tacos and sip on signature margaritas at Rojas Taqueria & Cantina onsite.

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Marina Industry News & Updates Summer 2024

Industry News

Nautical Boat Club Grows in Wisconsin & Texas

Founded more than two decades ago, this boat club pioneer brings a luxury country club experience to marina communities. Nautical Boat Club recently added two new locations at South Bay Marina in Green Bay, WI, and Kemah Boardwalk Marina in Kemah, TX, now totaling at 26 clubs and growing. Take advantage of membership benefits including access to a first-class fleet, watersport rentals, a range of excursions and more. Visit

Marina Updates

Suntex Announces New Partnership & Destinations

As Suntex Marinas rapidly grows, this marina owner and operator recently announced a new partnership with Almar Marinas, one of the largest marina operators on the West Coast. A few Almar marinas merging with Suntex include Marina Del Rey Marina, Peninsula Yacht Marina and Bahia Marina in California. Suntex also recently added to its Northeast roster by acquiring Lighthouse Point Marina & Yacht Club in Toms River, NJ. This scenic destination boasts 243 wet slips located on a fully protected breakwater leading into Jersey’s Barnegat Bay. Visit

Pier 4 Marina Coming Soon to Boston Waterfront

New England marina owner and operator, Ocean Havens, is in the works of adding another property to its growing portfolio. Due to the success of Fan Pier Marina, Ocean Havens is permitting another state-of-the-art marina next door at Pier 4. In the heart of the new Seaport District, Pier 4 Marina will offer stunning views of Boston Harbor and personalized concierge service. Guests of the marina only have to walk up the gangway to enjoy dining at Woods Hill Pier 4 and The Nautilus, a Nantucket favorite. Stay tuned for updates at

Show Us your Best Boat Drink!

As we approach our 25th anniversary celebration, Marinalife and our sponsor Tito’s Hand- made Vodka want to see how you toast to good times on the water. Send us the recipe for your favorite boat beverage made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka and share a photo of you raising a glass for a chance to be featured in Marinalife. Submit your recipes by October 1 at

Don’t Miss our Photo Contest Deadline!

Attention all creative seafarers! Check out our sixth-annual photo contest where we encourage everyone from amateur shutterbugs to seasoned photographers to send the best snapshots of what you love about boating and the cruising lifestyle. Submit your photos by July 19 at

Upcoming Boat Shows

Atlantic City In-Water Boat Show

Atlantic City, NJ September 5 - 8

Newport International Boat Show

Newport, RI September 12 - 15

Trawlerfest Baltimore

Baltimore, MD September 24 - 28

United States Powerboat Show

Annapolis, MD October 3 - 6

United States Sailboat Show

Annapolis, MD October 10 - 14

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ICW Awarded $48.5 Million for Dredging

It’s that time of year where thousands of East Coast boaters frequent the 1,100-mile Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), also known as Marine Highway 95. This season brings exciting news for cruisers as a recently passed bill provides funds for maintenance dredging projects to enhance boater accessibility by clearing debris, preserving ecosystems and returning the waterway to its authorized depth of 12 feet. 

ICW, Fort Lauderdale, FL | Credit: It Must Be F:8

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (AIWA) has been working for more than a decade to restore sufficient dredging funding for the ICW. After the Congressional earmark ban started in fiscal year 2012, it was crucial to modify advocacy and education strategies to build the case for ICW funding as an interconnected marine highway system that stretched beyond individual congressional districts. This approach led to receiving almost $150 million in funding for states along the waterway since 2022. 

Thanks to AIWA’s advocacy, Congress recently passed the 2024 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill with additional funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law granting $48.5 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to address critical waterway maintenance. The USACE is responsible for the waterway, and AIWA works closely with the federal agency to raise concerns for areas that require dredging. Dredging will take place in five states: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Extending from Norfolk, VA, through Key West, FL, the ICW was authorized in the 1939 Rivers and Harbors Act and serves as a major waterway for the U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessels, cruise and tour boats, commercial fishing, recreational boating and much more. AIWA’s overall mission aims to encourage and support ICW commerce and recreation development through education, maintenance, safe navigation and dredging. 

AIWA members range from state and local agencies and marine industry associations to various waterway services, marinas, clubs, dealers and more. Key partners include BoatUS, National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. As a founding member, BoatUS is heavily involved in advocacy and aims to bring boaters’ voices to the organization. 

“When we think about Marine 95, we’ve got the snowbirds, travelers and local boaters, but all the local marinas are also dependent on this whole system working, so that’s why this is one of our major advocacy pieces we’re involved with and help push,” says David Kennedy, BoatUS manager of government affairs and AIWA board member. “But I always emphasize that BoatUS doesn’t do these things alone, and joining with other groups and getting those interactions really magnifies and leverages what we’re able to do for boaters.” 

Cumberland Dividings | Courtesy of Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association


Brad Pickel, executive director of AIWA, says the funding will allow all five states to complete dredging projects or work on “dredge material management areas,” which focus on strategically placing materials that are removed. 

“In some areas where you dredge, you want to put it right on a beach, wetland or marsh for coastal resiliency and habitat restoration, but sometimes we have to store materials in upland locations, so we maintain those dredge material management areas,” says Pickel. 

The funding supports a unique new project in South Carolina to take an upland management area and re-liquify the sand from past dredging to move it across the waterway onto a beach. This not only allows for more dredging capacity, but also repurposes a secondary use for coastal storm damage reduction and hurricane resiliency. 

On Cumberland Island, GA, north of Crooked River near Cabin Bluff and Cumberland Dividings, the focus is on an in-water placement project to build a bird island and increase shorebird nesting habitats. The Florida region will work on what AIWA refers to as “direct beneficial use projects,” where they often place dredging materials directly on the beach and focus on environmental preservation. 

Stay tuned for updates and check out more info by visiting the AIWA and BoatUS websites.

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