Temporary docks keep Stuart show afloat

STUART, Fla. – Producers of the annual Stuart Boat Show are building a quarter-mile of temporary floating docks so that the event can be held next month, the Palm Beach Post reported in a story today.

September's hurricanes destroyed nearly every boat dock in Martin County, but the temporary docks will allow the show to go on.

"The only way to keep a 30-year history alive was to rebuild docks," Rick Allen, president of Miami Beach-based AllSports Productions, told the newspaper. "It's become a bigger project than any year in the past."

Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne wiped out the docks at Northside Marina, home of the Stuart Boat Show for the past decade. Knowing it could take several months for the marina to rebuild, AllSports started its own construction in October, the Post reported.

"We were not going to have a show if we didn't do something," said Tom Ryon, operations director for AllSports. He told the newspaper that Northside "couldn't get past their insurance and their permits in time."

AllSports, which has produced the show for 10 years for the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast, built the temporary docks in Miami and trucked them to Stuart to attach the foam that keeps them afloat. They'll go into the water in early January, after the hurricane-damaged Northside Marina is dismantled, Ryon said.

This year's show will showcase about 400 boats, Ryon said. The floating docks won't accommodate as many boats as the old marina, and the hurricanes washed out some of the shoreline, cutting back space for boats displayed on land.

"Everybody wants more space," Ryon said. "If we could have grown the show 30 percent over what we had last year, we could have sold it."

The Stuart show is scheduled for Jan. 14-16.

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