Own a boat but not sure what to do with it before Irma comes?
John Banyas, owner of Cortez Boat and Seafood, Taylor Boat Work and Swordfish Grill and Tiki Bar, and Mark Melton of Bradenton Boat Club have a few tips for boat owners to keep their vessels safe.
Banyas and Melton recommended taking the boat out of the water. If it’s possible, secure the boat to a trailer and move it to higher ground where there are no trees.
Here are tips from John Banyas and Mark Melton on how to secure your boat if you can’t pull it from the water:
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- Remove or take down everything that could be blown away and secure it.
- Batteries should be fully charged.
- Pumps should be checked and working properly with no debris around pumps.
- Tie as many lines as possible, but keep them loose if your dock isn’t floating to account for storm surge.
“Do anything you can that you think will help, then do more,” Melton said. “Do everything.”
At the fishery in Cortez, Banyas said it was all hands on deck Friday pulling boats and doing some maintenance to prepare for stone crab and mullet season. It’s only about three weeks earlier than they would normally make those changes, so he wasn’t too worried.
Boats, Banyas said, were being stacked in the parking lot and loaded in the yard, adding all the boats were scheduled to be pulled out that day.
“It’s the day to batten down the hatches, now that we know what’s going on,” Banyas said. “I hope it stays East but we’re prepared if it comes West.”
Crews at the fishery and Bradenton Boat Club were busy Friday putting the finishing touches on storm preparations for their own boats.
Around the Bradenton Boat Club Friday, employees were sawing pieces of plywood to fit the business’ windows and securing boats.
They’ve been shut down since Tuesday in order to get everything ready for the storm, Melton said. They plan to walk through the property as often as possible to “keep a handle on what’s going on.”
“We’re doing everything we can to keep things out of the water,” Melton said. “We’ve had a ton of calls (from boat owners) about what we’re doing.”
Melton said their buildings will be secure, able to withstand up to a Category 4 hurricane. His only concern is if the storm surge brings water levels reach more than 9 feet, that could have the boats stored inside the building floating.
“People need to be aware of storm surge,” Melton said.
Melton anticipates that once the storm passes, they’ll be quick to get back in business, but it will take them a day to get things back together.
“If the storm doesn’t hit us bad in the next day or two we’ll have people down from up north who will to take their boats out right away,” Melton said.