Ship Island ready for summer tourist season

Ship Island ready for summer tourist season
West Ship Island will be closed in preparation for Memorial Day Weekend's incoming tropical weather system. (Photo Source: WLOX)

SHIP ISLAND, MS (WLOX) - Seven months ago, Hurricane Nate caused significant damage to the infrastructure on Ship Island. However, the island is once again in ship shape thanks to a detailed restoration effort.

From red-winged blackbirds swaying on the sea oats to the flag flying high over Fort Massachusetts, Ship Island appears picture perfect as the summer season approaches.

That's great news for Captain Louis Skrmetta and his Ship Island excursions crew.

"We started running back in late March, and so far, good response from the public," Skrmetta said. "We had a lot of high school groups over the spring holidays."

Those visitors are seeing improvements like the nearly completed dock at the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor and the ticket area near the dock. The 1/3-mile boardwalk on the island was finished Wednesday, which was just in time for a group of 100 ninth grade biology students from Vancleave High School. The group was there for fun, and to help pick up trash and debris.

Meanwhile, at Fort Massachusetts, workers are putting the last pieces in place after Hurricane Nate's storm surge bucked the wooden floor of the group room last fall.

"It looks great. In fact, they're just finishing the room," said Charlie Clark, Gulf Islands National Seashore tour volunteer. "That'll be up and running tomorrow. It's nice because it gives us a resource for people who have trouble with those stairs and can't get on top of the fort."

During this trip to Ship, everyone seemed to enjoy their time on one of the Coast's barrier islands.

"Beautiful," said one tourist from Missouri. "We didn't know how pretty it was on this side."

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