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At the Keys’ biggest public anchorage, majority of boats are gone

Boats at Marathon’s city marina were tossed around with ease during Hurricane Irma.
Boats at Marathon’s city marina were tossed around with ease during Hurricane Irma. City of Marathon

At Monroe County’s largest publicly managed harbor, about two-thirds of the vessels are gone.

Of the nearly 300 boats docked at the Boot Key Harbor City Marina in Marathon before the Sept. 10 landfall of Hurricane Irma, only a third remain in place and one person is missing.

Sean Cannon, ports director at the marina at U.S. 1 and 35th Street, told Flkeynews.com Tuesday that one man who stayed on his boat during the storm has not been found and about 200 boats were lost or destroyed.

“A few people actually stayed on their boats. One couple watched the whole thing and then an older gentleman stayed on his boat and he ended up having to go to the hospital,” Cannon said.

The missing man called the U.S. Coast Guard during the storm but they could not reach him. His name has not been released.

In terms of boats, before the hurricane, there were about 200 on mooring balls in the harbor while another 75 or so were anchored, Cannon said.

“I have 54 left on mooring balls. Anchored boats? Not many — they disappeared,” he said. “They’re in the mangroves or canals, in people’s backyards” and even up on the ground at the marina, he said.

The marina clubhouse building was flooded with about two feet of water but is standing. For now, Cannon said he's focused on recovery. It’ll take a few months to get back up and running and about a year to be fully operational again, he said.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219

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