McCarthy’s Marina, originally called “City Dock,” was the hub of the island starting in the early 1900s. During this time, river steamers brought residents and visitors along with supplies to the island. Starting in the mid-1920s, Charles and Annie Randall (“Mom and Pops” as they were affectionately called) operated a grocery store, fish house and a gas pump at the end of the pier. Mail boats and service-run boats dropped off ice, food, passengers and even Sunday dresses. These daily ferries served as the lifeline to the islands until the Sanibel Causeway opened in 1963.
In 1940, Andy Rosse, a local fishing guide, and his wife Dessa, took over ownership of the City Dock. The City Dock now known as “Andy’s Fishing Pier and Waterfront Saloon” was the place to be on Captiva, especially on a Saturday night. During this time, they hosted famous Americans such as J.N. “Ding” Darling (who loaned Andy the $800 purchasing price of the city dock) and Adlai Stevenson. Fun Fact – Dessa & Andy Rosse’s former cottage on the marina property now serves as McCarthy’s Marina & Captiva Cruises’ office.
In 1986, Paul McCarthy founded Captiva Cruises, a premier eco-heritage tour company focusing on the environment and cultural history of Southwest Florida. A few years later he purchased Andy’s fishing pier now known as McCarthy’s Marina. Paul was active in many local organizations and generously committed his time to benefit the community and conservation efforts.
The current owners of McCarthy’s Marina and Captiva Cruises have proudly worked at the marina for over 20 years. They continue to maintain its status as a family owned local business and a hub of the island.