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Boaters trying to find safe ground before Irma

Posted at 9:54 PM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 04:28:14-04

Boat owners across Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coat are getting their boats to safer grounds.

While many owners of larger yachts are evacuating and taking their boats up north, many others in the area are taking their boats out of the water.

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“You know it’s better to have the boats out of the water than in,” said Ricky Brigman from West Palm Beach who got his boat.

At Mariner Marine, they’ve been busy all day on Tuesday.

“Today we’ve brought in 30 boats,” said Dick McKee, owner at Mariner Marine.

Once you get out your boat, is there a place for it to go?

“To find a place to put your boat right now? Good luck,” said Stuart Straley from Singer Island.

Over at Sea Tow, the phones are ringing off the hook.

“Day and night,” said Capt. Will Beck with Sea Tow. “We’ve been hearing from a lot of people.”

Beck said the best advise is to get your boat out of the water, because he has seen first hand what happens to boats during hurricanes.

“Boats would break lose and we find at the back of a canal, there would be stack of boats, 40-50 boats,” Beck said.

But many marinas in the area already filling up.

“I would literally just do it geographically I’d start at the top of the lake and call every marina going north,” Beck said. “We have heard that a number of them are already full.”

Straley said he and his neighbors on Singer Island are taking Irma very seriously.

“Very much so,” Straley said. “You live on an island, we just saw what happened in Texas, we have to take precautions.”

Beck said if you keep you boat in your driveway, keep it on a trailer and tie it down as much as you can.
Most importantly, he said, don’t stay on your boat during the storm.

“32 years of doing hurricane clean ups, we’ve found a lot of bodies on these boats,” Beck said. “Don’t stay on the boat. Once the storm hits, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Straley got his boat out of the water but he said his main concern is his family and pets.

“Prepare the best you can,” Straley said. “And work together. We’re a community.”

Meanwhile the Port of Palm Beach is also actively monitoring Hurricane Irma.

The Cost Guard is expected to issue Hurricane Port Condition Whiskey with sustained gale force winds.
That’s when Port officials will ramp up their preparations for Hurricane Irma.