With minimal impact from the recent waves of red tide blooms in the Bay area, Gulfport’s first annual National Marina Day celebration was a success, according to Gulfport Marina Harbormaster Denis Frain. The day of festivities included light tackle fishing seminars, castnet demonstrations and raffles, with visits from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, US Coast Guard Auxiliary and Gulfport Police Marine Unit.
“As COVID hit, a lot of people went into the recreational world where the marina was one of only like two to three facilities open during COVID,” Frain said. “We knew that we had grown our business here, and… wanted to capitalize that and give back to the community and invite people who don’t have boats, come down to the marina, see what the marina enviroment’s all like. Great turnout.”
Recently, Frain said the celebration for National Marina Day expanded from a single day to the whole month. Frain decided to celebrate on July 24 to allot adequate time to plan events and book sponsors.
“The Gulfport Marina decided to join in on Marina Day….and we’re very glad that they asked us to be part of it,” Marcella Ruso of the Coast Guard Auxiliary said.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary brought team members to the marina to educate attendees on life jacket safety, boat safety and provide information to interested people about the Coast Guard.
“It gives us an opportunity to show the community what the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary does, how we support recreational boating safety through classes, how we support vessels for vessel inspections, for safety and to help people be aware of the importance of wearing a life vest. As it is so important anymore. There are so many deaths attributed to not wearing one,” Howard Bush, a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. said.
Frain said the city plans to celebrate this event annually.