As a result of damage sustained during Tropical Storm Sandy in late October, Elliott Key Harbor has remained closed. Inspection by an engineer revealed extensive structural damage to the harbor’s seawall and boat slips, making the area unsafe for docking.
In the interim, three of the harbor’s 33 slips have been repaired and marked for loading and unloading with a ten minute stay limit. Designated slips are located at the southern entrance to the harbor. The two adjacent floating slips are designated for NPS use only. After unloading passengers and gear, boats will still need to anchor outside the harbor. Vessels that can be hand-carried to and from the shoreline, such as canoes, kayaks, and other small boats, can land on the island. Recommended access is via the swim area on the northern end of the harbor.
“We are doing everything possible to restore Elliott Key Harbor to full operations,” said Acting Biscayne National Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs. “Providing a place for boaters to safely unload passengers and gear on Elliott Key is a small step toward improving access for campers and daytime visitors inconvenienced by the closure of the harbor.”
Visitors are urged to be alert for swimmers and paddlers in the vicinity of the harbor, and avoid entering closed areas. As always, landing on the concrete maintenance dock south of the harbor is closed to the public and open to official use only. Although most of the harbor and the ocean-side boardwalk remain closed, the restroom facilities, camping areas, hiking trails, and University Dock, north of the harbor, are open to the public.
All other areas of the park remain open as they were prior to the storm’s brush with South Florida. Boca Chita Key is fully open, including the harbor and campground. Only one boat may raft to another boat tied to/docked in the harbor. Adams Key is fully open, but for day use only.
Logo courtesy National Park Service