By Chris Fish
SATELLITE BEACH - The staff at the Satellite Beach Recreation Department said it is in dire need of a pontoon boat in order to maintain Samson Island.
Samson Island has been owned by the city of Satellite Beach since 1991 and is located within the city's boundaries on a 52-acere island in the Banana River.
The island includes more than 30 species of birds and can be accessed by boat only.
Kerry Stoms, recreation director of the Satellite Beach Recreation Department, said the department began clearing invasive exotic plants and trees in 1991, as part of a long-standing beautification project, and staff and volunteers have been replanting and making trails and campsites for the island ever since.
The department's current pontoon boat is inoperable and the department is currently looking for a used or donated boat, Ms. Stoms said.
"Purchasing a new boat is harder since we need a tug boat," she said, which can carry different exotic plants removed from the island from the island for maintenance. "If we purchase a new boat, we'd have to remove all of the expensive seats and sound systems in the boat (due to making room for transporting exotic plants), so it would be too expensive to purchase a new one."
Ms. Stoms said the pontoon boat is used at least two times a week and launches from the Satellite Beach Fire Department, and the pontoon boat is only used for the practice of traveling to the island, unless there is an emergency in the waterways that might be better served using the flat-decked boat.
For more information, or to donate a used pontoon boat, call (321) 773-6458.