Tropical Storm Fay continues to churn off Florida


Tropical Storm Fay, which continued to drench parts of northern Florida this morning, may actually help the marine industry in the Sunshine State.

“Business is probably slow right now,” David Ray, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Florida, told Soundings Trade Only this morning.

However, he added, “Ultimately, I think it’s going to be a good thing for boating in Florida.”

The storm, which never increased to hurricane strength as some feared it could, made landfall on Florida’s southwest coast early Tuesday morning. Marine officials in southeast Florida said the storm had little effect on their region.

“Everyone fared quite well,” Gordon Connell, director of association services for MIASF, told Soundings Trade Only this morning. “It was a good exercise in our preparedness efforts more than anything else.”

“We just got an extra good bath,” said Frank Herhold, executive director of MIASF.

Officials from the Southwest Marine Industries Association could not be reached for comment this morning. However, Ray said the storm lacked the severe winds that often cause a lot of damage to boats and marinas. The storm is producing a great deal of rain and some flooding, but Ray said that will actually help some marine businesses.

“The Harris chain of lakes is starting to get a good rain,” he said. “That lake was down 2 feet, but it may pick up a foot or more” because of the rain from Fay.

“We’re hoping the northern part [of Florida] will get a good bit of water,” he said, adding that the rains may also help with depleted lake levels in Georgia as well.

“Overall, I think it’s extremely positive,” said Ray.

— Melanie Winters