Updated: Jul 29
When I came to the Coast many years ago, I was working for out at the NASA site. As a recent college graduate, I didn’t have much money, but was thrilled to be living near the ocean.
On Sunday mornings, often times I armed myself with a cup of coffee and a newspaper before heading down to the Broadwater Marina. I would find a spot to park on the southern end beside the huge grassy area where I could look at the water and read my paper while watching folks throw Frisbees with their dogs. It was always peaceful, and I treasured those moments.
We would frequently go to the marina restaurant for ribs or steaks and maybe a Daily Double or two, their signature drink. I remember swimming in the hotel pool on the north side of highway 90 a time or two. I’m certain that in its time The Broadwater was the pride of the Coast; it even hosted President Reagan.
Entrance to Broadwater Marina
When I was fortunate enough to have our first big (for me) boat, a 40ft Mainship Sedan Bridge, we leased a covered slip in the Broadwater Marina. The boat had twin diesels, and I felt like I was aboard some fancy mega-yacht whenever we headed out of the marina.
The boat was set up like a sportfish and had outriggers, which gave me my first taste of offshore fishing. I had read about Hemingway’s adventures and was eager to give it a try. A few of my friends had already had experience trolling the Mississippi Sound, so we ventured out. On our first trip, we came upon a school of bull reds, and all four lines went off at the same time. I too was hooked.
Sometimes I spent the night on the boat there with the family. Great memories.
Close Up of Slips- West Side Of Marina
On one occasion, we were awakened in the middle of the night by someone coming into the marina while blowing their boat horn. I assumed that alcohol was involved and was the catalyst for their boisterous entry. I admit to secretly chuckling when I discovered a few days later that the boat owner was indeed imbibing…to the point he forgot to lower his antennas and broke off both of them.
When the President Casino came to the Broadwater, the south end of the harbor saw sweeping changes to accommodate the influx of people and automobiles. It changed the feel of the harbor, so eventually, we were able to get a slip at the Gulfport Yacht Club and relocated the boat to the west.
Hurricane Katrina devastated the Coast in 2005. Among its casualties was the Broadwater. It was sad to see the scalloped concrete covers over the slips collapsed and the area destroyed. After the damage was cleaned up, the harbor was empty of boats, finger piers, and even the pilings.
President Casino After Katrina
The marina’s southern end is no longer grass covered. Instead, it is deeply rutted with concrete remains, a shadow of it’s former glory. The road circling the marina is covered with sand on the east side, and the southern area is unkept. Recently, there was talk about a huge development being built at the site of the old hotel. Yet for now, people still come on Sundays to grill, catch fish, and enjoy the view.
Marina After Katrina-The Grassy Area On The South Side Looks Sad
The West Side Of The Marina Where We Once Had A Boat Slip
Looking North To Where The Hotel Once Stood From The South Side Of The Marina
Often times as I drive by the Broadwater marina, I recall fond memories. Though I know it must be my imagination, I sometimes catch the smell of ribs grilling coming from the site of the old Marina Restaurant.