BRADENTON BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — Numerous boats on Anna Maria Island could not withstand the force of Tropical Storm Colin. On Monday, waves whipped five to six feet high and wind gusts neared 60 miles an hour.
“[A} big barge broke loose, started coming this way and it hit about three or four boats and then it was a chain reaction,” recalled a boater named Jeremy.
“One second, everything’s fine, the next second, I have three boats banging into me,” he said.
Ten boats broke away and a few sunk, including a house boat. The Coast Guard even had to rescue some of the people inside.
Other boats crashed into each other or collided with the pier, leaving behind damage.
“It was nerve wrecking, I lost a dinghy right here, she sunk,” said Jeremy.
Police Chief Sam Speciale took a look at the damage for himself. For now, it totals around $10,000.
“The boat owners are responsible for [the damages] because they are legally responsible to keep control of their vessels out there,” said Speciale.
The pier was just rebuilt last year and has special pilings in place to protect it from damage. But, some boats made it through the pilings and hit the pier.
Fellow boaters say those vessels were not secured properly.
“People just don’t understand how to anchor a boat,” said boater Mark Peterson.
Boat owners will also be responsible for recovering their damaged vessels. But, that could pose a challenge because some of these boats are derelict, and it will take some effort to track down the owners.
Overall, folks are thankful the damage wasn’t worse. And it’s a reminder to boat owners to properly secure their boats when bad weather comes to town.
On Wednesday, police officers will be working to track down some of those boat owners to either have them help pay for the pier damage or move their boats. If the owners can’t be found, the boats will be towed away.
Also, a contractor will soon come out to look at the damage. Chief Speciale says those pilings did a good job of protecting the pier, so they may add more pilings to improve the protection.
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