Almost four months have passed since then Hurricane Jan washed up on the coast of Florida, leaving behind a terrible path of destruction. And the cleaning is far from over.
In accordance with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissionthere are more than 700 abandoned boats in the area, but only two-thirds have been removed.
“It’s still amazing how many vessels are completely displaced – in mangroves, just pushed out where they shouldn’t be, in people’s backyards,” said Stacey Stevens, who runs Pier on Monroe Canal in St. James City, Florida. Since Jan arrived ashore at the end of September, things at her marina have gone from rest to recovery.
“It was horrible to see 15 years of building a business destroyed in basically, I would say, even in 24 hours,” Stevens told CBS News. “One day it was fine, and the next day it was completely gone.”
The only boat charter fishing that takes place these days is with cranes pulling badly damaged boats out of the water.
Many end up at Stevens Landing, now an emergency room, where they are filed, cataloged and inspected by insurance companies.
This new line of work allowed her to stay open and continue to employ her employees.
One giant sailboat, just brought ashore, has been lowered onto a platform that will carefully move the hull to a nearby field that used to be Stevens’ palm nursery, now turned into a makeshift boat graveyard. There, rows upon rows of more than 200 ships and several mini-yachts await their fate.
As storm cleanup continues in Southwest Florida, Rob Mang found his neighbor’s 65-foot boat, Tabuwhere it shouldn’t be: Settled in his backyard, after a storm blew him off his dock.
“It was a complete shock,” he said. “She looked bigger than we ever thought the boat looked because now she’s half on land and half in our backyard.”
And it will be there for a few more weeks; Florida’s Gulf Coast has a long waiting list for boat towing services.
As for Taboo’s owner, Jim Beer, the cost of towing and repairing the damaged boat is too high, so the insurance company will come and tow Taboo away.
“I contacted them and they said it would cost $16,200 to lift it with a huge barge and a crane, [just to] pick it up and put it in the water,” Beyer said.
Andres Rosado spent more than two months cleaning up Jan’s mess, towing damaged boats left afloat (and underwater) to land.
“I’m really hoping to stay busy for maybe a few more months,” Rosado said. “It’s hard to say how long we’ll be doing this. I hope we will have that much time to clean up this whole environment.”
But like many in this part of Florida, Rosada just wants to go back to the days when being on the water wasn’t a chore.
“I really want to get back to what is normal, and that was boaters going out, enjoying the restaurants, enjoying the beach, enjoying Southwest Florida,” Rosado said.