Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Michael made landfall with winds exceeding 140 mph and a strong storm surge, marinas and boatyards in the Florida Panhandle are working to return business to normal.
“We’re pretty whole in terms of not having too much damage,” Chuck O’Neill, general manager of Legendary Marine in Panama City Beach, Fla., told Trade Only Today, adding that sister facility Sunrise Marine also is operational. “We have to fix some cosmetic stuff, but functionality-wise, we’re here and ready to serve.”
At Capt. Anderson’s Marina in Panama City Beach, which sustained significant damage, the private charter boats that left to ride out the storm have returned and are open for business. “Our private charters are running,” marketing director Chelsea Ray told Trade Only Today. “Most of them are back in their slips.”
The marina’s express ferry and charter boats were damaged, and Ray expects them to up and running on March 1 next year. She said the two-story office’s roof caved in, and pilings are being placed in the marina and the restaurant.
Ray said power was restored to much of the area in about four days, and that that Internet and cable services followed soon after. Cellphone service remains spotty.
At Pirates Cove Marina in Panama City Beach, one of two dry stack buildings was destroyed. The company is rebuilding, as is its sister location Lighthouse Marina.
O’Neill said that much of Panama City and Panama City Beach still have piles of debris to be cleaned up. He said public launch ramps remain closed and that there is significant debris in the water. “There’s a ton of debris, so you need to be incredibly cautious,” he said.
Trade Only Today made several calls to marinas in Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe but could not connect with anyone. A story about the recovery in St. Andrews, Fla., appeared on the mypanhandle.com website, and the Panama City News Herald had this had this recap of the storm.