September 15 2017
FORT LAUDERDALE — South Florida’s multibillion-dollar marine industry mostly dodged a severe lashing from Hurricane Irma.
On Thursday, trade group Marine Industries Association of South Florida reported that boatyards and marinas in Broward and Palm Beach counties suffered minimal damage due to Irma and were open for business.
That fairly good prognosis included the seven show sites for the upcoming Fort Lauderdale International Boat show scheduled for Nov. 1-5, the association said.
Those boat show locations include the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel & Yachting Center, Hall of Fame Marina, Las Olas Municipal Marina, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Sails Marina and Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Marina.
Not everyone was so lucky to escape a walloping from Irma.
“Some areas in Florida unfortunately were exposed to conditions that no amount of preparation could produce a positive result,” the association said in a joint statement with Informa Exhibitions, the boat show’s producer. “Our hearts go out to those who have experienced the full force of Irma.”
The Fort Lauderdale-based association said teamwork and coordination between businesses and government agencies to prepare for the hurricane resulted in safe harbor for many vessels.
The sprawling 60-plus acre Lauderdale Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale lost “a fair number of trees, some gates and [was] still without power” Thursday, spokeswoman Staci Love said.
“Currently we are open for business although we are without power and internet, and do not expect power until this weekend or early next week,” she said in an email.
Love credited storm preparedness and a clutter-free boatyard among reasons the boatyard absorbed minor damage.
Over the weekend, LMC was more than 125 percent occupied with an armada of 257 boats of varying sizes sheltering there to ride out Irma, Love said.
In a statement on its website Monday, marina operator Westrec Marinas, which runs six South Florida locations stretching from Fort Lauderdale to Key Biscayne, also said its facilities saw “no significant damage” from Irma.
The California-based marina manager said its Harbour Towne Marina in Dania Beach reopened Tuesday with power for limited operations.
“We will be reopening the marinas on a phased basis depending upon when the power is restored and normal access is granted by the appropriate authorities,” the company said. “We are very fortunate to have come through practically unscathed with no damage to any of our customer’s boats.”