The Army Corps of Engineers evaluating proposal to deepen Intracoastal Waterway in Riviera Beach

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is evaluating a proposal to deepen parts of the Intracoastal Waterway including a section near Peanut Island and the Riviera Beach Marina.

Boatyards like Rybovich support the plan to dredge because mega yachts are getting bigger and bigger and some of the world's largest cannot fit into the boatyards because the Intracoastal Waterway isn't deep enough.

"There are occasions now we have to turn people away because they don't have the draft to make it," Jason Sprague with Rybovich Boat Co. said.

Three hundred employees work at Rybovich now. If the Intracoastal is deepened to accommodate the larger yachts, Sprague estimates the company could hire as many as 300 more employees.

"These vessels are some of the most expensive toys on the market. And their owners spend a lot of money to keep them maintained. This has a big impact on our local economy," Sprague said.

But some environmentalists are skeptical of the idea and worry about its impact on the ecosystem.

A spokesman from the U.S. Corps of Engineers says they are evaluating the concerns and working with other governmental agencies to review the permits.

If the waterway is deepened, Sprague says Rybovich would move most of its operation to the Riviera Beach location where it can accommodate more boats.

A decision from the Army Corps is expected later this year.

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