By Dorie Cox
Marina staff along the path of Hurricane Florence continued to clean up after high water levels and heavy winds from the storm as of press time late September.
The storm, which made landfall early on Sept. 14 just east of Wilmington, North Carolina as a Category 1, had been as strong as a Category 4 before weakening near the coast. Towns along the Atlantic coast continued to see flood waters from rain and rivers a week later as the storm system moved slowly west and north. News reports attribute more than 36 deaths to the storm, and utility companies continued to work to restore power to about 500,000 homes and businesses.
The Triton was able to reach several marinas in the affected area.
Port City Marina in Wilmington had minimal damage, according to property security guard Scott Bloodworth. The marina is located about 24 miles from the Atlantic Ocean on the Northeast Cape Fear River.
“We’re good,” Bloodworth said by phone from the property on Sept. 18. “We had a little property damage. All the boats fared well. There were a few that left their sails up; those got shredded.”
The facility was waiting for electricity to be restored, but surrounding businesses had power, he said. The water level is up higher than normal on the marina’s floating docks, but Bloodworth did not expect it to overflow.
Morehead City Yacht Basin in Morehead City, North Carolina, was up and running as of Sept. 20, according to Cheryl Bomar, assistant manager and staff accountant at the facility. Although her home had water damage, she said the marina was in “good shape.”
The marina, which has 74 slips and dockage for 100 total vessels up to 120 feet in length, had a mandatory evacuation of all boats.
“The floating docks look great,” Bomar said by phone after the storm. “We have a small dock that is fixed that is destroyed.”
She said marine traffic was not moving much on the waterway but customers had been calling to confirm the marina would be open for trips south on the Intracoastal Waterway at the end of the month.
“They’ll be coming in a couple of weeks and want to stop and get fuel,” she said. The fuel tank had been checked by the dockmaster and was deemed safe and not contaminated, she said.
The floating docks are intact at Beaufort Municipal Docks, according to Manny Albright, one of dockmasters at the marina in Beaufort, North Carolina.
“We’re back in business,” he said by phone on Sept. 18. “But there’s lots of damage on older, private, fixed docks on the waterfront that runs about 2 miles to the east. Many of those docks are broken and torn up.”
The marina was without electricity but expected it to be restored in the next week, he said.
“We had three boats arrive from the [Intracoastal] Waterway, and they had no problems north of us, but we have no report between us and Wilmington,” he said. “All our employees are fine; some evacuated and some didn’t. We’re just sitting around with no power.”
Town Creek Marina, also in Beaufort, sustained “very little damage,” according to Carol Tulevech, marina owner. She said the marina is able to accommodate transient boats. The marina slips and building were awaiting power as of Sept. 19.
“Once we have electric restored we will be able to fuel boats and be fully open,” she wrote in an email. “Ship Store is operational. We have been spared the devastation that many others were not. We’ll post on FB [Facebook] when power is back on.”
To the south, Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown, South Carolina, reported that the facility was not affected by the hurricane.
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.