Naples Yacht Club … A Rich Heritage

Brenda O’Connor

It all began in 1947 with just three friends and the shared dream of a boater’s paradise. Stephen Briggs, Benny Morris, and John Glen Sample envisioned a thriving Naples Community, but something was missing, a place to celebrate the traditions of the water and a place that would bring families together. What Naples needed was a private establishment, thus what would be the city’s first and oldest private club began.

In the early years, Naples Yacht Club (NYC) held informal “meetings” that more aptly resembled parties with the Members and their friends. Many of the early Club functions were hosted on the famous Mangrove King, a rather peculiar-looking craft that sported cocktail tables on the fore deck. The King’s successor, the Mangrove Queen, was a two-story houseboat moored at the south end of 14th Avenue South in a slip that would now be the middle of the Club’s south parking lot, and she served as the Club’s administrative headquarters in those early years.

It was determined that once the Club reached 200 members, NYC would begin building its Clubhouse. In January 1960, construction began. During construction, disaster nearly struck as Hurricane Donna bore down on Naples with winds of 180 miles per hour. While the storm devastated downtown Naples, the Club sustained only minor damage, and the Club was formally dedicated on December 15, 1960. Throughout the years, the Club’s membership has steadily risen to attract those who continue to seek the beauty and charm of this boater’s paradise.

With membership by invitation only, Naples Yacht Club has continued to build on its traditions of excellence to stay the distinguished Club of choice by expanding and growing to exceed the needs of its Members. The Naples Yacht Club was built by pioneering Members with a strong vision and a passion to help make a stronger
community. That tradition continues with the soon-to-be completed $10-million renovation project well underway. Slated to open in the spring of 2019, the new Clubhouse will maximize the views of beautiful Naples Bay, and offer NYC Members more opportunities to enjoy outdoor dining and cocktails.

Today, Naples Yacht Club is transforming what it means to belong to an exclusive club. Steeped in a tradition-rich, active social season, NYC offers its Members opportunities to connect with those that share your passions and interests through its “Club within a Club.” Whether you are a wine lover, car collector, or cruising aficionado-NYC fills Members lives with new experiences. For food lovers-NYC’s Master Chef has a passion for creating the unique and unexpected. If the soul of the Naples Yacht Club is its Members, then the heart is its cruises.

Each year lasting memories and friendships are formed on overnight cruises and shorter one or two day
cruises to Florida destinations. Naples Yacht Club is a founding Member of the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs.
NYC is recognized as a “Distinguished Club” award recipient and elected a Platinum Club of America, NYC. Both of these distinctions can only be attained by the finest clubs offering a world class member experience. The three founders would be proud to see that their vision for a private Club, founded on the ideals of camaraderie, community and meaningful connections has come to fruition in Naples Yacht Club as we know it today.

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