Property owners frustrated by delayed repairs following Hurricane Isaias

Property owners at Safe Harbor South Harbor Marina express concern over delayed repairs following Hurricane Isaias (photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Along the coast, recovery efforts following Hurricane Isaias began the morning after the storm.

But property owners at Safe Harbor South Harbor Marina say five days following the storm, management has barely scratched the surface of repairs.

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“The marina here has done nothing in 5 days to allow us out yet,” Captain Ryan Jordan said.

Jordan docks his charter boat in the marina, but he’s been unable to run his charters. He says he’s been stuck in the marina because docks broke loose during the storm, which then blocked his boat and many other boats from leaving the marina.

He says there was no preparedness plan before the storm and little communication following the storm.

“There could have been something done to prevent further damage,” Jordan said. “We’re getting further damage now because of their inaction.”

Community members say boats that were not damaged during the storm have sustained damage in the last 5 days because of the broken docks and other debris in the marina.

Property owner Chris Hildreth says many people feel there was no preparation whatsoever.

“Always assume the worst scenario and not lock up at 5 o’clock, go home and come back the next day to see what happened,” Hildreth said. “That’s really what most of the community feels that’s what’s happened to us.”

Hildreth says community members, condo owners, boat owners and houseboat owners relied on one another for help during the storm.

“It was crazy. Wind was blowing up to 90 miles per hour, docks were buckling. The transient dock snapped off of its mooring,” he said. “We believe it was overloaded on the east end and that east end pivoted around and caught two other docks and as those docks collided, they buckled. Of course people were on their boats and they had to climb off of boats and climb over boats to get to dry land.”

On Saturday afternoon, five days after the storm, dock workers arrived to cut an opening in the marina so that boats could begin to be moved elsewhere.

Jordan and Hildreth say they hope management better prepares for storms in the future and act much quicker in the aftermath.

The Dock Master was on site when WWAY crews were there, but when asked about the situation he declined to comment.

WWAY called the marina later in the day for a comment and an employee said the delays were due to safety precautions.

Later, Safe Harbor Marina emailed WWAY with more details on their storm preparedness plan, which they said included shutting down electricity, securing fuel lines, securing objects and assisting boaters secure belongings at their more than 30 marinas on the eastern seaboard.

The company said high tide and the lunar cycle, which coincided during a full moon, caused an unusually strong storm surge at Safe Harbor South Harbour Village.

“Under the immense strain of heavy, high water being pushed by wind gusts of up to ~100mph, the wooden pilings supporting our largest dock at SHV, which was entirely full of boats seeking refuge from the storm, broke under the strain. Less than 24 hours later, our President, Chief Operating Officer, and Vice President of Construction and Development, among others, were on site at SHV to assess damage and begin cleanup,” John Ray with Safe Harbor Marinas wrote in an email.

The company said once they determined no one was hurt, they turned their focus to restoring the facility and preventing negative environmental consequences.

“We spent the days following the storm arranging for contractors to perform crucial tasks. Within two days, we had successfully purged and decommissioned the marina’s fuel system and lines, allowing us to safely sever the fuel lines and begin work to open up the transient dock. We restored power to the majority of A, C, and D Docks and a portion of B Dock, and by the end of the day we had repaired walking surfaces within the most serviceable areas of the marina. By the following day, we had engaged a contractor to rebuild the remaining docks and gangways.”