Chicago’s News Marina Is Coming

October 2020 Feature Brady L. Kay

I’m not sure how you’re feeling about this current pandemic, but for me I’m really getting tired of “looking ahead” to when life might be normal again. Instead of anticipating future happiness, I’d rather just embrace today, hope for the best and enjoy my current situation. I guess I’ve just reached my breaking point where I no longer want to wait and prefer just to live in the moment. However, there is one exception I’m willing to compromise on. The one thing worth looking ahead to right now is Chicago’s newest marina that is set to open in 2021.

I know for some daydreamers the ultimate vacation includes a sandy beach and palm trees, but the city of Chicago is by far my favorite place to visit. The thought of Chicago’s Navy Pier Marina being the first and only dedicated transient Lake Michigan marina has me already looking ahead (and planning) for next year.

The first-class marina will provide boaters with a new and unique boating experience and will serve as the premier lakeside entry to the city. The marina will be an enormous asset to visiting boaters from all four states that surround Lake Michigan, not to mention this could become the most popular stop for Loopers as the Windy City has always been a preferred stop for those doing The Great Loop if they were lucky enough to find a place to tie off.     

“Navy Pier Marina’s access for boaters who come from nearby states to Chicago will be fantastic and long-awaited,” said Matt Eldean, co-owner of Eldean Shipyard in Holland, Mich. “My grandfather, uncle, and father started in the industry at Monroe Street Harbor before the Park District began operating there. We have strong ties to and serve many Chicago boaters. Our customers are always asking us where they can find a convenient place to dock for access to restaurants and the city, which has previously been a challenge due to the lack of accessible temporary moorings. This marina will solve that.”

My first visit to Navy Pier was back in the late 90s and since then I’ve returned often as I’ve created a lot of fond memories over the years during my regular trips to Chicago and like many boaters, I can’t help but wonder why it took so long.   

The marina will be located on the north side of Navy Pier and will offer hourly, daily, weekly, or longer stays and you’ll be able to moor vessels up to 130 feet I length. Guest amenities include concierge services, 24-hour access and staffing, advance online reservations, secured after-hours entry, a boater’s lounge, ship store, Wi-Fi, in-slip pump-out facilities, utilities (other than fuel), as well as bike racks with a bike repair station.

For me, you can’t beat the summer season in Chicago. With apologies to Mickey Mouse, Chicago is truly the happiest place on earth and having immediate access to The People’s Pier dining, shopping and entertainment makes the anticipation for the Navy Pier Marina that much greater.

The marina is generating excitement from the Lake Michigan boating community and neighboring states businesses. 

“Navy Pier Marina is being developed with private funding and will drive economic benefits to local businesses and the city,” said Randy D. Podolsky, project developer.  

Please forgive me for already looking ahead, but I can hardly wait for the 2021 boating season in Chicago to begin.

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