FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – While Broward County’s marine industry survived Hurricane Frances with minimal damage, that wasn’t the case for many marine businesses north from Palm Beach to Melbourne, reported Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), in an interview today.
In the four-county area that received the brunt of the hurricane, “our industry was heavily damaged,” said Herhold.
One such example is Pahokee Marina on Lake Okechobee, where owner John Sprague reported that 8 to 10 big boats were sunk and 40 percent of the marina was torn up, according to MIASF. Fort Pierce municipal marina also was hit hard, with 25 of the marina’s boats unable to be found, Herhold said.
Hurricanes aren’t new to this region of the country; and as in the past, the marine industry will rebuild and come back stronger, he stated.
In the meantime, MIASF is trying to determine how it can assist those marine businesses to the north.
Following the declaration of a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida, MIASF is making it a priority to ensure that marinas are take advantage of the political momentum to rebuild immediately. For example, it will be asking the state to streamline the permitting process, Herhold said.
Meanwhile, some marine businesses are contemplating keeping their storm shutters up, as reports of a third hurricane, named Ivan, have emerged. Though it is not yet clear whether Ivan will hit the United States, if it does, it is likely to come ashore in Florida sometime this weekend, forecasters are predicting.
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