The year is 1947, and Coral Ridge Yacht Club starts from rather humble beginnings on the site of what had been known as Mud Lake Island. The Island was cleared of mangroves, a causeway was built for access and 11th Place was renamed Yacht Club Boulevard. Mud Lake was renamed Coral Bay on the south and Sunrise Bay on the north. Original memberships were sold for $500. When #150 was sold, ground was broken for the first clubhouse, and the membership reached 450 in only four years.
The Coral Ridge Yacht Club opened its first clubhouse in 1949, built at a cost of $36,400 for the facility and $11,000 for the docks.
In the mid-fifties the original 3.3-acre parcel was expanded through the purchase of two adjacent lots. In a bold move that was designed to retain current members and attract new ones, a plan was formulated to raise nearly a half million dollars to build an entirely new facility. New Year’s Eve 1959 saw the formal opening of our present main facilities.
The sixties, a turbulent time in the USA, marred by the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, witnessed the beginning of the space program, the war in Vietnam, and, of course, the slogan, “make love not war.” All of these events grabbed national and international attention. At Coral Ridge Yacht Club, the decade of the 1960s was marked by a series of improvements and changes to the main building, outbuildings and surrounding facilities.
The year was 1970 when member Francis J. Schuster and his daughter Diane were on their vessel, “Trade Winds,” going up the Intracoastal Waterway from Fort Lauderdale. They arrived at Lake Santa Barbara, in Pompano, and saw all these decorated boats coming from the lake. The police were present telling everyone to stop until the parade went through. Since “Trade Winds” was all decorated with lights, Fran, as he was called, suggested that they join the parade, and they did. Fran thought it was “neat,” and that there should be a Fort Lauderdale Boat Parade.
At the time, Fran was serving on the Marine Advisory Board of Fort Lauderdale and suggested the adoption of a Fort Lauderdale Boat Parade, and they went with the idea. He organized and led the first annual Christmas Boat Parade in 1970. For several years “Trade Winds” was the lead boat in the parade. Fran was awarded a plaque for initiating this beautiful tradition, and he proudly mounted it on “Trade Winds,” where it remained even after it was sold.
During the seventies, I-95 was completed through Broward County, which received its charter during this decade. Because of a nationwide recession, which certainly was felt locally, it was estimated that, at one point, 50,000 condos were for sale in Broward County. Despite this environment, the CRYC had 850 members with another 80 on the waiting list and celebrated its Silver Anniversary.
In the 1980s, Broward County had reached one million residents, and the thousands of spring breakers were gone.
During the booming nineties, 150 new members were brought in to our Club during a successful membership campaign. Major improvements were made to celebrate our 50th Golden Anniversary in 1997. A major redesign of the docks resulted in 55 slips - several of which can accommodate vessels up to 90’+ and all equipped with boat side pump-out.
Entering the 21st Century, Fort Lauderdale became home to nearly 180,000 people while Broward County’s population soared to 1.6 million. AIA had a changing landscape from mom and pop hotels to luxurious hi-rise condo-hotels, and early in the decade the Coral Ridge Yacht Club was near its membership cap.
Major building projects helped to keep Coral Ridge Yacht Club as a premier facility, with a complete rehab and expansion of the Point Bar & Grille, a new Exercise Facility, a Children’s Activities Center, reorientation of the SE docks for additional slips and a new awning over the 100’ x 40’ Intracoastal Terrace. A Wi-Fi system was also installed that reaches throughout the buildings, grounds and docks.
In 2007 Coral Ridge Yacht Club celebrated its 60th Diamond Anniversary; and in 2008 membership grew under the inexhaustible efforts of Rear Commodore Len Tower, who created seasonal plans which allowed prospective members to “sample” Club life before committing to membership. That year, Commodore Roger Adams gave a whole new meaning to the concept of “hands on” administration and was usually spotted on top of a ladder, repairing or re-wiring something.
A new outside dining patio adjacent to the Wheel Room was completed during 2009; and Full reciprocity between Fort Lauderdale Country Club and CRYC was established. The face dock was enhanced as the result of increased ownership of the Intracoastal bottom land granted to CRYC by the State of Florida.
Since then, a number of amenities were added and remain a significant part of our social life. Those include having a variety of bands most Wednesday evenings for our members’ enjoyment and the establishment of a Sports and Summer Camp program. CRYC also received IRS approval for its 501c(3) charitable organization, “The CRYC Sailing and Water Sports Foundation.” This allows tax deductible contributions to the Foundation, which not only benefits the Club, but the community at large. The CRYC Pontoon Boat was added to our Fleet and provides innumerable hours of fun at reasonable rental rates for our members.
Coral Ridge Yacht Club Members look forward to the future with enthusiasm with the celebration of its 70th Platinum Anniversary in 2017. Its exceptional location on the Intracoastal Waterway allows our members to enjoy a myriad of fun-filled activities or just the simple pleasure of each other’s company. The dedication and warmth of its members and staff make the Coral Ridge Yacht Club a “most special place.”