The need for a marina in St Kitts-Nevis
Since the days of old it has been recognised that neither St Kitts nor Nevis can provide safe anchorage, a natural harbour or safe haven especially for small vessels in time of storm or hurricane.
The British Admiralty Hydrographic Pilot long referred to Basseterre Roadstead as 'the worst anchorage in the Caribbean' and 'liable to the sudden development of breaking swells even in clear weather'.
Within St. Kitts and Nevis the Marine Sector now earns vital revenue for the Federation in many ways.
1. Inter-Island Ferries for travelling within the Federation.
2. A well established marine construction (Catamaran) boat-building facility for export and local customers.
3. Deep-sea Fishing, Diving, Sailing, and other Small-Craft operators providing marine related facilities for tourists and locals in the Federation.
4. Hosting of visiting or Cruising Tourists in the Marine environment of the Federation.
5. Hosting of visiting participants in marine sports events, fishing tournaments and sailing regattas.
All the above facilities and operators have Small Craft as floating assets which are at risk for at least 6 months each year in our local waters during the Hurricane Season.
There is no established facility for the 'hauling-out' or 'slipping' of these craft in the Federation for even routine maintenance, not to mention necessary and sometimes emergency repairs.
Given times of 'threatening' weather it is up to owners of these craft to run to distant islands, Sint Maarten, Antigua or Guadeloupe for safety or run the risk of losing their vessels in the unprotected waters of St Kitts and Nevis.
The only answer to this situation is the establishment of a 'Small Craft Basin' (SCB) for safe haven within the Federation.
Furthermore the equipment and the necessary expertise for dredging is now locally available.
Traditionally in islands and in mainland countries Small Craft have sought shelter in both lagoons and opened ponds in the absence of naturally protected bays or constructed safe harbours.
For many years we have heard mention of various plans for large 'Marina Resorts' but no progress is seemingly made in these areas.
There is currently a level of local interest which encourages studying this matter with a view to making expeditious progress within the foreseeable future. The creation of a SCB need not detract from any of the projected developments planned within the same or in other areas - local islands which have addressed themselves to the economic advantages of the fishing, marine tourist and leisure industry have several marinas and safe anchorage areas. The Virgin Islands (both U.S and British), St Martin/Sint Maarten, Antigua and Guadeloupe to name but a few in this region.
Which sites in St. Kitts could make a suitable SCB ?
St Kitts has a number of ponds which are approximate to the sea but do not in most cases open into the sea.
1. Small Salt-Pond
2. Major's Bay Pond
3. Cockleshell Bay Pond
4. Frigate Bay Pond
5. Friar's Bay Pond
The question now is
Which of these is available or suitable for a SCB
- small or large -
and how soon?