crab island adventure tour inflatables destin florida boatThis post about Crab Island in 2022 is the third of four posts in our annual series, offering a continuation of the yearly updates on the changing Crab Island rules and regulations. Check these links for information on Crab Island in 2020 and 2021. The newest information about Crab Island 2023 can be found here. 

If you’ve been following the news from Okaloosa County and the National Parks Service, which share jurisdiction over Crab Island, you know that Crab Island vendors were anticipating being shut down completely last year, as the Parks Service had stated during an informational planning meeting that concessions were not considered to be a “necessary or appropriate use of the park” and that there would be no more vending allowed under their new Commercial Services Strategy. This didn’t happen, though, due to delays from Covid-19. Instead, vendors were given more time to operate while the Parks Service finalized their Commercial Services Strategy for the sandbar.

What We Know About Crab Island 2022

The Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners has made it clear that they will defer decision-making to the federal government and will uphold any decisions made, provided that vendors continue to meet the requirements of the County. On Feb 19, 2022, the National Parks Service announced in an email to Crab island vendors that due to ongoing staffing shortages within their department, they have again decided to allow vending to continue with the same restrictions as 2020 and 2021. “As you may know, the National Park Service (NPS) is working its way through two simultaneous planning processes at the same time (an environmental assessment-EA, and a commercial services strategy-CSS). These have both been delayed by COVID and staffing issues but are both planned to be completed later this summer. The outcome of these planning issues will determine how the NPS will move forward in 2023 and beyond. The park has determined that since these planning efforts are not yet complete, we will continue to operate the commercial services in the area under the same pattern as the three previous years,” the email stated.

These restrictions are recapped below.

Current Crab Island Regulations

  • No overnight anchoring
  • Sale or distribution of alcohol is prohibited (Boaters can still BYOB)
  • Propeller cages on vendor vessels under 21′ to protect sea grass beds
  • Restroom required on commercial passenger vessels (not rental boats) over 21′
  • Shuttle services must remain with their customers at Crab Island. (No dropping people off.)
  • 3% of gross income to National Parks Service
  • $400+ per vessel/structure (based on size) per month to Okaloosa County

2022 Approved Crab Island Vendors

As of April 1, 2022 approved vendors include Jimmy’s Ice Cream, Wild Coconuts, Crab Island Grill, Ruckin Fidiculous BBQ, Crab Island Shuttle Boat & Adventure Tour, and various pontoon charter and tour companies for transportation to and from Crab Island. Please note that Crab Island vendors are independently owned and operated and that there is no guarantee which/how many vendors will be out on any given day. This list will be updated as more vendors are added throughout the season.