Gulfport harbor open for business

After being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor is telling boat owners it's time to come home.

"It makes a very big statement when you look at recovery on the coast. The folks who put this together, the planners, designers, contractors and the city. Everyone put their heart and soul into it" said Harbor Master George Manemann.

Manemann says the new marina boasts 319 slips and modern construction techniques designed to help the harbor weather a storm.

"It's built with raw lumber. It's full size lumber that can withstand almost any storm. All the power centers are 24 feet above sea level. So after the surge we'll be back in business. Everything is above normal surge levels".

In the business world they have what is called a soft opening. In other words there was little fanfare on Monday. One sail boat had moved in, one charter boat is good to go.

While the emphasis is on recreational boating, Manemann says the city has bigger plans.

"Pier six is reserved for commercial. I hope to see the old charter fleet back. I want to see the signs and the guys bringing in fish. We have about 28 slips on the north side" said Manemann.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.