This post about Crab Island in 2022 is the third post 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.
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 in 2021, 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 in 2021. 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.
Okaloosa County 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 in the interim. However, the National Parks Service has been largely silent throughout 2021 about the direction they plan to take in 2022. Emails sent to the Parks Service continue to go unanswered, and the Superintendent, who first identified Crab Island as being under their jurisdiction, has since retired and been replaced.
At this time, it is unknown whether there will be any changes to Crab Island in 2022. This post will be updated as, or if, more information becomes available. In 2021, the decision to allow vending was not made until the proverbial 11th hour, in February, just one month before the start of the boating season. It is possible that this may happen again in 2022. It is also possible that no decision will be made, in which case vending will be able to continue under the current rules of the County. Here is a recap of the current rules:
- 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
What do you think will happen to Crab Island in 2022? Comment below!