Boca Ciega Yacht Club

History of the Boca Ciega Yacht Club

Established in 1965

The colorful history of the Boca Ciega Yacht Club dates back to the early 1940's during World War II. About a dozen men who owned small powerboats shared the single desire to form a club and have their own dock. Their request for waterfront had been denied by the City of St. Petersburg, so this low horsepower group came up with a high-powered plan. They pre-assembled a dock and trucked it to the Vinoy Basin 'on a dark night' where they constructed it in hopes they would not be evicted. The City eventually granted a lease on that land for the sum of one dollar per year at this site. The club was named the "Sunshine City Boat Club", and it grew to 110 slips and remained a very active all volunteer organization at that location until 1965.

The "M.G.M. BOUNTY" (of Mutiny on the Bounty) was coming to St. Petersburg and would be a tourist attraction for the city. The club was given its walking papers to make way for The Bounty. They found a new location on Boca Ciega Bay. Gulfport was improving its waterfront and was happy with a marina that was realistically planned and financed. The "Sunshine City Boat Club" was considered an asset to the community.

The club set about to build a rick-rack sea wall and to dig out the marina basin that we now occupy, and changed the name of their organization to "THE BOCA CIEGA YACHT CLUB' July 21, 1965. A golden spike was driven into the dock to signify completion of phase one, which included the construction of 48 slips. An additional 27 slips were added later to accommodate up to 75 boats. In 1996, our marina was re-built by the City of Gulfport in accordance with BCYC's lease with the city.

Due to the 1965 move, the membership dropped. The ability to attract more yachts and yachtsmen was found when the club started its highly successful sailing school. In 1967 BCYC opened the club doors to an enrollment of 170 students. This fulfilled the provision in the club charter "to promote education in safe boating and all nautical activities while remaining as a non-profit not-for-profit organization."

The club grew and so did its programs. We now have sailing for the area youth in the summer; monthly club cruises to nearby anchorages and ports of call, potluck dinners and parties on club weekends, monthly club races, and more.

The annual Labor Day Sunflower Raft-Up started in the summer of 1989 with only 17 boats with no wind and nothing better to do than to tie up and party. This event grew each year to be the best-attended activity in the Club. Festivities include a dinner and dance the night before the Raft-Up, and then a day of rafting, swimming and end of summer companionship.

The 1991 raft was built in 5 hours and gained national recognition in Boat/US Report with the 81 boats participating. The 1994 Raft-Up was the largest ever on this continent and it had a record-setting 176 boats. 'The Day on the Bay' and Blessing of the Fleet at the Gulfport Pier held in March has become a more recent tradition and is gaining popularity. Participation has doubled from one year to the next.

We are expanding our historical archives!  Check this out:

BCYC Historical Dates.pdf
The "original" BCYC (Gulfport 1908-1918)

The Feininger Family (date unknown - does anyone know?)

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Boca Ciega Yacht Club‎
Latitude 27° 44' 21.0552'' N
Longitude 82° 41' 44.7252'' W
4600 Tifton Drive South   Gulfport, FL 33711   (727) 321-7295

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