Boats on shallow water area.

Implement Commercial Services Strategy for Crab Island

Gulf Islands National Seashore » Implement Commercial Services Strategy for Crab Island » Document List

The National Park Service (NPS), Gulf Islands National Seashore (GUIS), is proposing to implement a Commercial Services Strategy (CSS) to better manage commercial operations in the Crab Island Area of the national seashore.

Crab Island is a large submerged sandbar located near the William T. Marler Bridge, on the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island within the Choctawhatchee Bay portion of Gulf Islands National Seashore. The Crab Island Area has become a highly popular recreational site, drawing hundreds of boats and numerous floating commercial services such as restaurants, water taxis, and mobile small craft vendors which traverse and anchor within the sandy and seagrass portions of the sandbar. The popularity of the sandbar has led to issues of concern shared by the National Park Service, state and local governments, agencies, and other stakeholders. These issues include life-threatening accidents and fatalities, damaged seagrass beds, and diminished water quality. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, there are hundreds of visitor incidents including, marine DUI, disturbances and altercations, boating and personal water craft accidents, boat fires, medical emergencies, swimmer assists and rescues, and fatalities.

To address these concerns, the Gulf Island National Seashore has begun a formal planning process to determine the level of commercial activity consistent with the national seashore's General Management Plan, federal law, and local laws and ordinances.

The newsletter under Document List contains background information on the Crab Island area, the park's 2014 General Management Plan (GMP), and a suite of preliminary Reasonable Alternative Concepts representing Commercial Service Strategies which could be employed by the NPS.

In addition, the NPS will host two virtual civic engagement meetings scheduled for Tuesday, November 10th at 6:00 p.m. and Thursday, November 12th at 1:00 p.m. Please join us at either virtual meeting via the links under Meeting Notices.

Comments may be submitted through November 23, 2020 via the link under Open for Comment.

The NPS encourages your participation in this planning process and invites your input.
Thank you for your interest in the GUIS planning process. We look forward to hearing from you.


Daniel R. Brown
Gulf Islands National Seashore

Contact Information

Gulf Islands National Seashore
Daniel R. Brown, Superintendent