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Hurricane Ian devastates Fort Myers marinas

USA: The Category 4 storm to be known as Hurricane Ian hit the barrier island of Cayo Costa with 150mph (241 km/h) winds on Wednesday 28th September. It re-strengthened on Thursday 29th to be classified as a full-on hurricane.

Crackerjack rests on top of an SUV in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which left this Fort Myers marina destroyed.

Crackerjack rests on top of an SUV in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which left this Fort Myers marina destroyed.

With factory facilities in Fort Myers in the thick of the devastation, US dock manufacturer Golden Marine looked to its own, looked to the local community, and then reached out nationwide for assistance. Golden Marine president, Bill Golden, was able to give Marina World on-the-spot feedback.
“We were very fortunate with the factory as we only had minimal damage but every marina in the hurricane zone in Fort Myers except Moss Marine, which we built last year, has been destroyed,” he said. “We have to ask why? There are a lot of lessons to be learned.”
A first responder from the moment help was viable, Golden Marine was back at work, and dividing time between marina-specific work and general clean-up with a 50 per cent workforce during the week following the storm, and virtually a full team by 11th October, as the USA mourned lives tragically lost, and homes and businesses destroyed.
Heavy rainfall causing flooding in Florida – especially in the southwest and central regions – and in South Carolina added to the casualties and further challenged rescue and safety measures.
With urgent assistance required, Bill Golden has been actively fund raising. “The generosity has been unbelievable,” he noted. “There has been an outpouring of help from our suppliers and customers from all over the country, and enormous proactive support from Governor DeSantis. He has reacted fantastically, fast-tracking multi-million dollar rebuild and repair projects. He is the reason the marine industry here is going to get back to the way it was.”
As many news reports reveal, one of the hardest hit areas were the barrier islands of Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach where severe damage to property was sustained. Significant storm surge affected Fort Myers, Port Charlotte and Naples. Images of Fort Myers marinas reveal boats piled up in heaps and docks broken and displaced, and eyewitnesses describe how large boats were simply lifted into the air and sent crashing down at random by the force of the storm.
In Placida, north of Fort Myers, press reports describe a drystack collapse at Palm Harbor Marina and extensive damage at Gasparilla Marina.
On Sunday 25th September, the organisers of IBEX (International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition & Conference) made the difficult but prudent decision to cancel the Tampa-based B2B event in the light of the severe weather warnings.
(Story source: October/November Mooring Post)

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