JUPITER, Fla. — South Florida was preparing for a tropical storm over the Labor Day weekend, but now forecasters are saying Hurricane Dorian will make landfall as a Category 4 storm.
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Now, boaters across the area, like Curtis Sigretto, are scrambling to find a place for their boats.
“It’s stressful,” Sigretto said.
Sigretto’s boat is located at the Jupiter marina by U-Tiki. It’s so close to to the inlet that all boats are required to be moved.
“I have to leave here,” Sigretto said. “My insurance makes me leave.”
The question for many is, where to?
“Searching around, I’ve called all the marinas where I had been hauled out of the water before,” Sigretto said. “They don’t have any room.”
Sigretto is usually well prepared, but this time, he was expecting a tropical storm.
“I think I’m just late because I wasn’t taking this hurricane this seriously,” Sigretto said.
Marinas like Central Marine in Stuart are filling up quickly.
“Right now we’re very busy,” said Mary Radabaugh. “We started hauling boats around 7:30 this morning.”
For the past two years, Central Marine has been offering a hurricane club, where customers pay a flat fee and are guaranteed a spot.
Radabaugh said it’s a necessary change to control the chaos before a major storm.
“There is not enough land to haul all the boats out in Martin County,” Radabough said.
Central Marine officials are still getting calls from desperate boaters.
“We’ve had at least 30 looking for a place to put their boats,” Radabough said. “We cannot accommodate them.”
A few days before Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall, boaters like Sigretto will have to keep looking for a spot.
“Hopefully we’ll find a slip, otherwise I’ll take the boat to Miami and sleep on it there somewhere,” Sigretto said.
Sigretto said he has called around seven marinas from Jupiter to Delray Beach.
Even if boaters manage to find a slip, it’s going to be pricey. If South Florida is put under a hurricane warning, prices will jump. Some marinas charge around $600 a day.