Published: March 22, 2007
A generous gift by Steven Knight, the founder of Yacht Clubs of the
Americas, will guarantee The University of Tampa a stake in the future
of Tampa Bay.
Knight, who is building a network of private
marinas from Key West to Jacksonville, including Tampa Harbour, has
donated a gift in kind to the University worth $537,500. The gift
includes two boat racks and one wet slip to accommodate the University’s
marine science research boats. Marine science is one of the most
popular majors at UT, and the gift allows continued access to the water.
am pleased to be in a position to make this contribution to the
University,” Knight said. “I know it’s been said many times before, but
water is truly our most precious natural resource, especially here in
Florida, and I believe we need to keep it that way.”
waterfront Marine Science Center is located at Bayside Marina, the
future site of Tampa Harbour, 20 minutes from campus. The facility
serves students and faculty in the marine science, environmental science
and biology programs. It features a wet lab, a dry lab, a classroom and
a SCUBA storage area.
"The marine science program is one of our
largest and best academic programs, and the Marine Research Lab with
boats and water access is important to student learning, as well as our
marine research efforts,” said University President Ronald L. Vaughn.
frequently conduct research from the 45-foot research vessel, the Bios,
which is equipped for SCUBA diving, trawling, dredging and on-site
study of marine ecosystems. The Bios will be kept in the wet slip, while
the University’s two Grady White boats will be housed in the indoor
Now under construction, Tampa Harbour Yacht Club on West
Tyson Avenue is set to open this December and will offer luxury
amenities for boaters, such as valet parking and wholesale costs on fuel
and provisions. Owners will be able to call an hour before their
arrival, and their boat will be fueled and ready to go. When they are
finished, the crew will clean the boat, flush the engine and return it
to an indoor dry store rack.
“If you are a boat owner, you own
that boat for the pure joy of being out on the water, and by owning a
slip at Tampa Harbour Yacht Club and other locations, all the work is
done so our members can enjoy themselves,” Knight said.
lifetime boater who grew up in South Florida, Knight wants to preserve
recreational boating in the state through this concept. He is CEO of
Yacht Clubs of the Americas, and his vision is to create the largest
private yacht club network in the Americas. He believes customer service
is lacking in the marine industry, and that the five-star concierge
service available at his upscale marinas will fill the void.
Clubs of the Americas also will offer owners reciprocal privileges at
other yacht clubs across the state, including the Grand Bahama Yacht
Club on Grand Bahama Island.
Yacht clubs are under construction
on Ft. George Island near Jacksonville, and in Stuart, Key West and
Naples. Knight opened the first of his marinas at Sanibel Harbour in
April 2006, and hopes to expand to Acapulco, Mexico; Myrtle Beach, SC;
and Destin, FL.
The luxury marina concept has received much press
attention across the state. In addition to the amenities, Knight plans
to sell a majority of slips, rather than lease them, which is becoming
more commonplace as the competition for slip access becomes greater. As
slip space makes way for condominiums, Knight offers a way to preserve
valuable waterfront property for boating access.
appreciating in value by 35 percent over the past eight years, according
to Florida State Certified Appraisers. Pre-sales of the slips already
have begun in Tampa. The company recently announced that Tampa Bay
Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott has taken ownership of a YCOA slip for