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Robo dock

Construction underway on Gulf Star Marina at Fort Myers Beach, the world’s first dry stack marina using automated storage and retrieval technology.

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  • | 5:20 a.m. September 14, 2018
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Boat owners know well the double-edged sword of keeping their watercraft in dry stack storage: While protected from the elements, having the boat retrieved by lift truck can mean a long time waiting at the dock and result in damage from lift trucks.

Hospitality and marina operator Carroll Properties offers as a solution that can be best described as a boat vending machine; an automated retrieval system that robotically takes the boat from rack to water in seven minutes. 

For two decades, the company owned a traditional, large metal boat barn next door to Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille at Fort Myers Beach, where it has stood for more than 50 years. Although footings have been poured where the barn once stood, Carroll Properties held the official groundbreaking Sept. 6 for the new Gulf Star Marina . It will be the region’s first smart marina and the first in the world to feature the automated storage and retrieval system. 

Todd Carroll, owner of Carroll Properties, speaks at the Sept. 6 groundbreaking for Gulf Star Marina. Courtesy Carroll Properties
Todd Carroll, owner of Carroll Properties, speaks at the Sept. 6 groundbreaking for Gulf Star Marina. Courtesy Carroll Properties

Designed by LTW and provided by GCM Contracting Solutions, ASAR is used by companies such as Mercedes and Ikea to optimize storage and reduce damage risks.

 “Boat owners are challenged with finding dry boat storage and concerned with protecting their boats from environmental damages such as diesel soot from forklifts and from the sun, if kept outside,” says Todd Carroll, owner of Carroll Properties and Gulf Star Marina. “This new technology greatly minimizes those risks and the associated maintenance costs. With the push of a button, your boat is in the water and ready for a day of boating, in a matter of minutes.”

Scheduled to open in May 2019, Gulf Star Marina is located at 708 Fisherman’s Wharf on San Carlos Island. In addition to dry storage for boats up to 40 feet, the marina will offer concierge services including indoor valet parking, boat fueling and cleaning. Public access to the marina includes 20 wet slips, a fueling station and a ship store.

GCM will build the 29,000-square-foot structure using tilt-up concrete construction, which will withstand wind speeds of a Category 5 hurricane.

To view how the ASAR system works, visit


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