Boaters reaping benefits of renovated Tropic Star boat ramp
The boat ramp at Tropic Star on Pine Island was recently renovated to include the newest technology in ramps for those who wish to launch their boats in Bokeelia.
Vince Tapager, owner of Tropic Star on Pine Island, said Lee County bought the boat ramp and brought it up to code, along with renovating the property a few years back.
The boat ramp started deteriorating, so the county closed down the facility for additional repairs to fix the problem.
Tapager said that power boats created a drop off, which eventually led people away from launching their boat from that location due to them being scared it would damage their boat.
“The county re-engineered it for a couple months last summer,” he said.
The ramp closed in July and August last year and reopened to the public in September.
“There have been no complaints,” he said. “Everything is working smooth.”
The new “V” grooved concrete boat ramp is two lanes wide to provide easier access to the water. It also includes an articulated mat that slopes down into the water to again provide easier access for those launching their boats off of boat trailers.
The boat ramp was also extended beyond 15 feet in the water.
To ensure the ramp does not deteriorate, it also includes layers of stone, biaxial geotextile fabric and riprap.
Mark Barocco, who has visited the island for the last three years during the winter months from Michigan, said he has seen improvements since the repairs were made on the boat ramp.
“After the first renovation, we have seen a massive improvement,” he said about the ramp.
The renovation also included a new sea wall, docks and bathrooms, along with a retention system.
Tapager said all of the water from the parking lot goes through the retention system, so it can filter out the debris, oils, chemicals and sand.
With the new renovation, the county also provided landscaping around the ramp that is all Florida native vegetation.
The bathrooms, Tapager said, are all self filtering as well, so it does not go back into the ground.
“It is a really neat environmental project,” he said.
The ramp is open from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., seven days a week. It is $5 to launch a boat from the site and $10 to launch and park a vehicle on the premise.
The office is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
Another new addition to the premise is Pine Island Marine, which opened on July 1. He said they have six rental efficiencies available for $90 a night. The little one-bedroom places, which have two beds, include a kitchen with a working stove, bathroom and little living room area.
Tapager said the rentals are targeted for the fishermen, who can dock their boat over night for free, along with free ramp use while they stay on the grounds.
“It works out good,” he said. “It is a good deal for them.”