On Monday, March 6, 2023, the Destin City Council voted reinstate the annual pass for residents at Joe’s Bayou Boat Launch.
- According to the city, currently, Destin residents receive Joe’s Bayou annual passes free of charge.
- Non-Destin residents can purchase passes for $205 per calendar year.
- Daily launch fees are currently $20.
The council voted to reinstate the Residents’ Annual Pass to $20 per calendar year and to increase the daily launch fee to $25 per launch for non-pass holders.
In 2015, the city council approved the elimination of the Joe’s Bayou local fee and the increase of the daily fee from $15 to $20.
“Several years back it was $30 for annual passes for residents to Joe’s Bayou,” said Council-member Teresa Hebert during the meeting. “So it would not be anything out of the norm to just go back to that. That’s an annual $30 pass for everyone in Destin to launch their boat throughout the summer, winter. It’s good for a year.”
However, Council-member Kevin Schmidt suggested that rather than charging the citizens for the annual pass, he would like to leave it as-is (free) and just change the daily launch fee for the people that aren’t citizens.
- “It’s the citizens’ park, so part of me thinks about not bringing back the annual pass, but just increasing the daily launch fee,” he said.
Council-member Dewey Destin also agreed with Schmidt’s idea, stating, “I would agree with Kevin’s idea of not to charge the residents. $30 is too much. It’s above the commercial rate. And once again, we are trying to gouge some more money out of those that come here for vacation.”
In the end, Council-member Teresa Hebert moved to direct staff to reinstate the Residents’ Annual Pass to $20 per calendar year and to increase the daily launch fee to $25 per launch.
- The vote passed 4-3, with Mayor Bobby Wagner having to be the deciding factor in a split vote.
- Council-members Destin, Schmidt and Geile voted no on the change.
As as family that has been vacationing in Destin since the 60s and remember launching down at joes when it was just a little drive that ended in the water this is so wrong to keep raising the price we now spend over $3000 a week to keep coming down to enjoy the old friends from are childhood and go fishing so it’s just awful what Destin has become but will always come down as long as I can afford it