Although most high-performance marine business owners in Florida are still assessing the results of yesterday’s encounter with Hurricane Irma, several already are reporting that their facilities weathered the storm with no serious damage. Both Grant’s Signature Racing and Kinetic Animation in Sarasota/Bradenton, one of the hardest hit areas on Florida’s western shore, made it through the violent weather unscathed.
Yesterday’s satellite view of the eye of Hurricane Irma over Naples, Fla. Click image above to access the current information on now Tropical Storm Irma on the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration website.
“All good here—no damage to the shop or our home,” said Kellie Lee-Bruggemann, who works alongside her husband, Grant Bruggemann, at the well-known high-performance powerboat rigging business.
“We never lost power at home, but we don’t have it at the shop,” said Bruggemann.
Ryan Beckley, the owner of Kinetic Animation, which specializes in vinyl graphics for offshore racing team raceboats and support vehicles, also reported that his was business was undamaged and has power. “All good here,” he said. “All the boats there are perfect.”
Based in Fort Myers, Fla., Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats also appeared to have come through Hurricane Irma, which was downgraded to a tropical storm as it continued its path north today, without significant damage.
“So far, the main thing is that everyone who was in Florida is safe and sound,” said Geoff Tomlinson, the high-performance center console, catamaran and V-bottom sportboat company’s dealer manager. “There’s some debris on the ground, but the 34 (Nor-Tech 340 center console) facility is perfectly OK. We’re just waiting to hear back on our other production facilities, but they’re all in the same industrial park. But the main thing is everyone on our team is fine.”
While the storm did deviate west from its predicted collision course with Miami, the city still took a hard hit from 65- to 95-mph winds and heavy storm surge. John Tomlinson of TNT Custom Marine reported that his marina-based facility “skated through” without any major damage.
“The 55 boats on the floor inside the barn are perfect,” he said. “All the boats on blocks outside are fine, too. That area was a foot underwater, but the boats were a foot above it. Halfway through the storm, I said to my wife, Donna, ‘By now the roof has to have come off the building,’ but it didn’t happen. Everything there is perfect.”
Tomlinson did, however, report losing the dock in front of his canal-side home a few miles away.
“There were four- to five-footers rolling down the canal,” he said. “They were tearing Jet Skis right of the docks and sinking boats. We don’t have power now and I’m heading to my son’s brewery with a couple of generators so we can save $50,000 worth of beer. All in all, I’m pleased. I’m very happy. It could have been much worse.”
Editor’s Note: Speedonthewater.com will continue to provide updates to this story as they become available.