SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Boat owners in Sarasota were completely caught off guard by Tropical Storm Emily. Many frantically made their way to Sarasota Bay in hopes of saving their vessels.
All morning long, Tropical Storm Emily tore through Sarasota with pounding rains and roaring winds dangerously rocking boats in the waves.
“I was out in it this morning, the lightning was treacherous,” said one boater.
“I’m curious as to why nobody knew it was coming,” said another boater.
Some boat owners resorted to scooping water out of their boat.
“I was trying to save my dinghy. The waves were going clean over the top of me,” said Tim Esarey.
“They’re fairly expensive and the motor is fairly expensive and I just didn’t want it going underwater,” Esarey added.
Many could just sit back, watch and wait nervously.
“Every second of this surprised me. I was not aware of this,” said David Linton.
“I was just thinking a little bit of wind and so I came down here and it’s horrible down here,” he added.
Linton had two boats anchored in the bay. He says boaters are terrified of small, surprise storms.
“It seems like the small storms get us every single time, it’s not the big storms,” said Linton.
As the storm cleared, numerous boats ran aground or sunk in the choppy waters.
It finally gave boaters a chance to assess the damage. For many of these folks, these are not just recreational vehicles, these are their homes and livelihoods.
“I feel sorry for everybody that has to go through this, its tough, especially when you’re a liveaboard,” he said.
Officials say at least four boats washed ashore. There were also a number of smaller vessels that were damaged or under water. It’ll take some time for these boats to be fixed and returned to working order.