Damage reports from Florida boat dealers and marinas hammered by Hurricane Irma cover a wide range of business and operational disruptions.
MarineMax, Inc. provided a preliminary Hurricane Irma update earlier this week. In a news release, the company reported its team members and families are safe. MarineMax is continuing to assess hurricane damage and the impact on two of the company’s largest markets, Florida and the Southeast.
Buildings and inventory did not incur major damage, but MarineMax Vacations, the company’s charter operation in the British Virgin Islands, sustained significant damage.
“Our thoughts and concerns are with those affected by the storm and we remain committed to engaging with our customers and the communities that require much needed assistance,” said William McGill, Jr., MarineMax chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Our team and the boating public are resilient and both will come back stronger through the recovery process.”
Hurricane Irma impacted OneWater Marine Holdings's SunDance Marine, Grande Yachts, Marina Mike's, Singleton Marine and Captain's Choice Marine facilities. At all locations, all team members are accounted for and safe.
“With so many of our stores located in the path of these major storms, we ensured that our facilities, inventory, and team members were fully prepared,” said Anthony Aisquith, COO of OneWater Marine Holdings. “We have detailed Hurricane and Flood Plans for all of our locations, and our team executed these plans precisely and efficiently. As a result, all of our team members are safe, our inventory was protected, customer and brokerage boats sustained minimal, if any, damage; and all preventable losses were avoided.”
Most locations incurred minor property damage, but the SunDance locations in Melbourne, Jensen Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., suffered extensive property damage, including a tornado that struck the dry stack marina in Fort Lauderdale, collapsing a portion of the building.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how our team, all across the organization, prepared for these historic storms and many acted as first responders,” Aisquith said. “I’m thankful that our team members and their families are safe and have been integral parts of the recovery and cleanup efforts in their local communities.”
Regal & Nautique of Orlando reported a power outage and numerous requests to rescue sunken boats, but had no damage to its facilities. Boaters Exchange in Rockledge and New Smyrna Beach also lost power, but reported no significant damage.
Prior to Hurricane Irma’s arrival, FB Marine Group closed early on Sept. 7, but later reported damage to its facilities in Pompano Beach, Miami (Aventura) and Fort Lauderdale. This week, company representatives told Boating Industry it could be weeks before FB Marine Group is up and running again.
Miami Ski Nautique, Nautical Ventures, Marine Connection and Quality Boats dealt with power and phone outages and some clean up, but no significant damage to their dealerships or buildings.
Jeremy Holcomb, vice president of operations with Legendary Marine in Destin, Fla., issued this pre-hurricane statement: “We have committed a safe haven to approximately 220 of our local boaters and charter fleets that do not live safely in the dry stack."
Legendary Marine implemented its 72-hour plan the Friday before Hurricane Irma made its destructive landfall and moved up the west coast of the Florida peninsula, Holcomb said.
Suntex Marina Investors LLC also provided an update on the post-Hurricane Irma status of its 14 Florida-based marinas.
“We feel very fortunate to report our Suntex staff is safe and sound. Overall, our marinas throughout Florida weathered Irma successfully,” said Principal Mitchell E. Jones.
Roscioli Yachting Center, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale provided safe harbor from the storm to approximately 110 vessels during Hurricane Irma, said Justine Avila, marketing and public relations representative.
Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale was a safe haven for approximately 85 vessels, said Megan Lagasse, general manager.
“All vessels are floating, and we had minor damage,” she said. “We lost a couple of Bimini tops, trash bin covers, planters, and polls."
Marine Industries Association of South Florida’s Patience Cohn reported that she had personally watched hundreds of marine employees from different business working night and day to secure as many vessels as possible with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Patrol.
“The story in Broward County is not about loss, but the positive results from everyone working together,” Cohn stated in an email update Monday.
Dennis Feltgen, a communications officer and meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, recently reported aerial footage of damaged and destroyed boats in the Fort Lauderdale to Key Largo areas was shown on local television stations.
NOAA aviators have been taking aerial imagery of locations affected by Hurricane Irma. Additional flights are scheduled and photos from those missions will be posted as soon as possible, stated a Sept. 12 update posted on NOAA’s website.