New water taxi service lets you cruise South Florida’s coast

Pompano Beach Water Taxi co-owner Jeff Torode is shown aboard the “Island Girl” in Pompano Beach on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. (Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

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Pompano Beach Water Taxi co-owner Jeff Torode is shown aboard the “Island Girl” in Pompano Beach on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. (Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—A new water taxi service will allow you to sightsee from the mansions in Lighthouse Point to the condo canyons of Hallandale Beach.

But be prepared for a leisurely tour — between transfers and wait times, it will take you a full day to do so, the service operators say.

The Pompano Beach Water Taxi will open to the public Dec. 13, offering an hourlong cruise with 11 stops from Lighthouse Point to Bokampers in Fort Lauderdale. Day-trippers and pub crawlers can keep heading south by transferring to the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi, which makes six stops in an hour before arriving at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina.

Want to go further? You can go six more stops down Fort Lauderdale’s New River, or take the 45-minute “Margaritaville Express” that ends up in Hollywood. From there, take another boat for another 45-minute cruise to Hallandale Beach.

The trip from Pompano Beach to Hallandale Beach will cost you $46.

“It’s such a gorgeous way to see properties and it gives people a feel for the lifestyle this area has to offer,” said Bobbi Ocean, a Fort Lauderdale real estate agent who frequently takes clients on the water taxi service. “You don’t realize how much water there is (from a car) and you can see everything from the boutique condos to the multimillion-dollar homes.”

Water taxis are more like ferries or shuttles. You can get off and on at any stop you like, without paying again.

The new north service will allow cruisers to see sprawling Spanish-revival style mansions and the Hillsboro Inlet.

Jeff Torode, who owns the Pompano water taxi service, said he is planning special runs that emphasize the historic spots along the way.

Three stops are listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places: Cap’s Place Island Restaurant, built in 1928 and Lighthouse Point’s oldest structure; the Hillsboro Lighthouse, and the Indian Mound Park in Pompano, preserved as one of the few remaining vestiges of the Tequesta tribe that once lived in the area.

Torode envisions a dinner package that involves sunsets at the Hillsboro Lighthouse.

The Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi carries an average of 25,000 people each month during the season, said Philip Burroughs, the service’s director of sales and marketing. It runs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and charges $26 per person, with discounts for retirees, military personnel and children. Company officials say they are looking at extending runs until 11 p.m. nightly.

Pompano Beach Water Taxi, also running 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., costs $20 per person, $15 for Pompano residents.

Torode said he’s working on a package deal that will get his passengers onto the Fort Lauderdale service at a discounted rate and vice versa.

The time has never been better for this to happen, Torode said.

A new pier is under construction in Pompano Beach. The city’s first oceanfront restaurant since Hurricane Wilma damaged Fisherman’s Wharf in 2005 will be opening Feb. 1. Another restaurant and retail complex is under construction on the south side of Atlantic Boulevard.

Before this, Torode said, “there just hadn’t been enough to attract people to Pompano Beach.”

Jack Miller, manager of the 50-year-old Beachcomber Resort & Villas in Pompano Beach, said he welcomes the water taxi service.

“People ask about the taxi all the time because they’ve read stories about the Venice of America,” he said. “Now we don’t have to send them down to Fort Lauderdale to catch it.”

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