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Date of Issue: July 15, 2009

County: No commercial use of city boat launch

Commercial boat rental businesses are not allowed to use the newly established launch site at Bayfront Park in Anna Maria, according to Manatee County Parks and Recreation director Cindy Turner.

The county approved a launch site at the park for non-motorized vessels such as canoes, kayaks and windsurfing, but only for the public, said Turner.

Turner said companies can rent a kayak away from the launch site and the renter can take the craft to Bayfront Park for launching, but commercial operations are prohibited from bringing vessels to the site to rent, or placing advertising signs at the park. Bayfront Park is owned by the city, but maintained and operated by Manatee County.

A spokesperson at Beach Bum’s on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria, where kayak rentals are commonplace, said the company just became aware of the county’s position July 10, and they’re in the process of working out a solution.

 Another company that has rented and delivered boats to the Bayfront Park launch site is Bimini Bay Sailing, which formerly operated out of a private marina at the Fiske home at the south end of Bay Boulevard. Efforts to reach Bimini Bay Sailing were unsuccessful.

The Bayfront Park launch site is not approved for motorized vessels, Turner emphasized.

The launch site is located at the south end of Bayfront Park near the humpback bridge at the Lake LaVista inlet.