Public harbors and marinas

Larry SablichLarry Sablich

Manager of harbors and marinas
679 Beach Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39530
(228) 374-6600 voice
(228) 435-7228 fax

The Biloxi Port Division was formed in 2004 after the Biloxi Port Commission, a partnership between the city, state and county was absorbed entirely into the city. It is responsible for four harbors with a total of 457 slips, seven boat ramps, seven piers and the fishing bridge on Back Bay. Unlike all the other city departments, the port division receives no money from the city and funds itself entirely with its own revenue from slip rentals and building leases. The division employs 22 people at this time.

“Basically, it’s like running an apartment complex on water,” said Port Division Director Larry Sablich.

“It sounds pretty simple, but it’s like a little city inside the big city,” he said, explaining the challenges of managing a harbor. “It’s always exciting.”

Unlike many other departments within the city, the port division is mostly self sufficient, seldom working with other departments or agencies. Sometimes though, the division relies on the public works department for equipment. An outside electrician is often brought in as well, due to the dangers of working with electricity near water. Also, the parks and recreation department does some mowing for the division.

Dredging the harbors is a major challenge for the division and must be done regularly to ensure that no vessels run aground. It is difficult  mainly because the cost of disposing of the mud legally. This dredging is the division’s highest expense. Repairing unexpected major damage is also difficult due to the high price of marine construction. Another challenge the department faces is making room for large fishing tournaments at the Point Cadet Marina. Due to the loss of the Broadwater and Beau Rivage Marinas in Hurricane Katrina, there is no place for slip tenants to go to make room for tournaments.

Yet another challenge is keeping all the different types of boat owners – recreational, charter, sail and commercial – all on the same page.

“It’s like putting out fires all day long,” Sablich said.

Both the Point Cadet Marina and Biloxi Small Craft Harbor include restrooms and showers for their tenants, and all of Biloxi’s harbors are patrolled 24 hours, seven days a week by harbor masters. Slip rentals range from $6.25 to $8.50 depending on the size of the vessel’s generator.

The Biloxi Port Division is at 679 Beach Blvd., and can be contacted at 228-374-6600.

–Charlie Benton, Public Affairs intern, 2015