On Tuesday morning, the future for Ft. Pierce and St. Lucie County got even brighter. With a few signatures and handshakes all around, a new era at the Port of Ft. Pierce was ushered in. After a nearly year-long process, the County and Derecktor Shipyards signed a long-term agreement for the development and operation of a megayacht maintenance, repair and refit facility at the Port.
The new shipyard will be unique in the U.S. – the first facility designed and built specifically to accommodate power and sailing yachts in the 200 ft. plus range. Until now, these large yachts, particularly sailing vessels which require extreme overhead clearance and considerable water depth, have had few or no shipyard options in this country. Derecktor Ft. Pierce (DFP), as the new yard will be known, changes that. It provides direct access from the Atlantic through Ft. Pierce inlet, with no overhead obstructions and a maintained depth of 28ft. (8 meters). The yard itself will feature a concrete apron of over 8 acres, providing ample work and storage area, as well as over 1000 linear feet of deep water dockage. An existing large building will be refitted to house machine, wood, pipe and electrical shops along with other service support activity.
Vessel hauling will be accomplished through both a mobile lift and a drydock, giving DFP tremendous flexibility in the range of yachts it can handle. The lift is anticipated to have a 1500 ton capacity, making it the largest in the world. This, combined with the advantages of the site, will make DFP the one US yard fully capable of handling the international mega sail fleet. Plans are for the lift to be up and running by fall of 2020. The drydock, which will go into operation after the lift, is projected to be able to accommodate vessels up to 4000 tons, meaning all but a handful of the world’s largest yachts can be serviced.
“This is a big day in the history of our company”, said Paul Derecktor President of Derecktor Shipyards, after the signing. “This yard lets us bring in a whole new range of boats. It’s a new market for us and, in large part, a new market for the U.S. We see great things ahead for Derecktor, for Ft. Pierce and for the people of St. Lucie County.”
Initial plans call for infrastructure improvements to begin as soon as permits are in place. DFP will start bringing in vessels for dockside work in the very near future, with operations steadily expanding as the facility is improved.
“It’s been great to get to know the area and some of the people here while working on the agreement with the County.” said Paul Derecktor. “We can’t wait to get the yard up and running and show the yachting world what Derecktor Ft. Pierce and the Treasure Coast have to offer”.