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NORTH FORT MYERS | Couple may have to spend a year living with rogue boat beached in yard

Boat crashes into dock
Posted at 3:48 PM, Aug 31, 2023

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — Winds and flooding from Hurricane Idalia brought an unexpected surprise to one North Fort Myers couple: a rogue boat.

Angie Cloutier noticed the boat on Tuesday morning across the water at her neighbor's house. Then, it started to float to her home.

"The first squall that came through, the boat came here," Cloutier said.

She and her husband called the sheriff's office and crews came out to help tie it down, but that didn't stop the boat from causing damage.

"The boat was still banging and we’re like, 'Stop. Just stop already,'" Cloutier said.

It eventually stopped after Idalia passed through, but it damaged Cloutier's already Ian-damaged dock even more. It also damaged her other neighbor's dock, which they got fixed just last week.

However, she said there is a little bit of a saving grace.

"The pilings from the mess up from last year are kinda diagonal, so it saved the boat from coming up," she said.

The boat also suffered a lot of damage. There are several holes in it, impacting the water.

"It’s leaking gas now," Cloutier said. "You can see the ribbons and smell it."

The question is who owns it. Cloutier said the sheriff's office tracked down the owner out of Massachusetts, but told her it was recently registered to someone else.

With no movement, Cloutier said FWC told her it could take about a year to get it out because of a backlog.

"I really don’t want to look at that for a year, at all," she said.

Cloutier doesn't want to spend money to move it because she and her husband have already spent so much recovering from Ian. They had two feet of water in their home, damage to their shutters and their dock was destroyed.

"Maybe we can get it floating and bring it somewhere else," she said. "If not, it’s there for a year at least."

She may also raise the seawall to prevent not only flooding, but something like this from happening again.

Cloutier is a real estate agent at Cre8ive Realty, and said out of her 21 years here, she has never dealt with anything like this.

Despite the new experience, she is taking light of the situation with a Labor Day party.

"We just decided we’re going to make it the Gilligan’s theme and we’re going to use painter’s tape and put SS Minnow across it," she said. "Rolling with the punches."