Three marinas survive hurricanes unscathed

SARASOTA, Fla. – Three of the marinas operated by Brandy Marine, the marina management and consulting company, faced down two hurricanes in three consecutive days last week and avoided damage, the company reported in a statement yesterday.

“With all due respect to Mother Nature, I can report that all three marinas took precautions and came through Hurricanes Bonnie and Charley with flying colors,” said Brandy CEO Bruce Blomgren.

On Thursday, Port St. Joe Marina in the Florida panhandle took a direct hit from Hurricane Bonnie but survived the encounter without any damage. Marina staffers secured all windows and glass with plywood and cleared the property or tied down loose items, according to the company. They ventilated the high and dry so wind could exit as well as enter the building, thus releasing pressure on the roof.

On Friday, the Sarasota Yacht Center anticipated a 12- to 16-foot tidal surge from Hurricane Charley. Marina workers removed more than 60 vessels from the water, put them on cradles side by side, then tied them together and to nearby trees, Brandy Marine reported. The strategy was that if the surge arrived, the boats would float and also would remain reasonably separated one from another. Fortunately, Hurricane Charley came ashore well south of Sarasota and precautions at the Sarasota Yacht Center were not tested by wind or tidal surge.

On Saturday, the new Marina at Grande Dunes on the Intracoastal Waterway near Myrtle Beach, S. C. expected trouble from Charley, still a hurricane as it spun its way up the Atlantic Seaboard. At Grande Dunes, marina personnel put all merchandise in the storeroom and sandbagged the doors. They emptied the septic tank to help prevent overflows and backups, according to Brandy Marine. They covered all windows with plywood, ran a hurricane ensign up the flagpole, and joined the evacuation of 350,000 other residents. Charley’s visit Saturday was wet and wild and, fortunately, quick. The Marina at Grande Dunes did not suffer any damage.

Blomgren instructed marina managers to take their computers and billing statements with them, put them on a top shelf at home, and protect them like their “first born.” Meanwhile, at corporate headquarters, Blomgren did the same with the company server, the “brains of the organization,” Brandy Marine reported.

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