High-Speed Ferry Closes The Distance Between Bimini Bay and Miami
A 450-SEATER high-speed ferry service scheduled to start bringing passengers to and from Bimini and the Port of Miami this summer will be a “game changer” for the island, the head of a new resort company managing the Bimini Bay Resort and Marina believes.
There is a possibility that the vessel may also dock in Grand Bahama, allowing visitors to take day trips to both of these islands from Florida as often as six days a week.
Rafael Reyes, president of RAV Bahamas, revealed that his company is in the “final contractual stages” of arranging the ferry service.
He was addressing a group of gathered government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette and Minister of the Environment, Earl Deveaux, and RockResorts, the resort management company which took over the operation of Bimini Bay at the beginning of March.
They, along with other stakeholders and the media, gathered at Bimini Bay on Friday as the official signing ceremony took place, which transferred management responsibility for the property to RockResorts.
In an interview with Tribune Business after the event, Mr Reyes said of the ferry service: “It is my father-in-law, Gerardo Capo’s vision. He saw that it would create a bridge between Miami and Bimini. It’s natural. We’re only 48 miles away and it’s an hour-and-a-half ride on a wave-piercing vessel that’s 250 feet long, 80 feet wide, travelling at 34 knots.”
Tribune Business understands that the service is to be provided by a Spanish ferry company, Balearia, which has typically operated in the Mediterranean. It would involve a 450 person capacity vessel, which is likely to depart the Port of Miami at around 9am and return at 8pm.
Exactly where the vessel would dock in Bimini is still being finalised. Engineers have visited the island to determine where “the most environmentally sound” place for the boat to dock would be, said Mr Reyes.
Mark Jeffrey, RockResorts’ vice-president for Florida and the Caribbean, said he believes the introduction of the ferry service linking Bimini to Miami will be a “game changer” for the resort and the island.
“It will definitely have a big, big impact,” suggested the hospitality executive.
Charles Albury, deputy permanent secretary for the Ministry of Tourism, who also spoke at the Bimini Bay/RockResorts signing ceremony on Friday, said he foresees the ferry service providing a “much needed boost” to Grand Bahama, if it does service that island as anticipated.