BONITA BEACH, Fla. — Leland Alameida can’t find all the boats on his checklist. He works at Bay Water Boat Club in Bonita Beach, Florida, not far from where Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon. He spent Friday walking alongside the dock with a notebook listing every boat the rental facility had before the hurricane.
Strong storm surge from the hurricane picked up and moved boats in the backwaters surrounding the facility. Boats are in the mangroves, street medians, and a few remained tied to the dock.
“There are a lot of boats here we don’t know whose they are, they just showed up. We got boats on the parking lot we got no idea where they came from,” Alameida said.
He prepared for the storm by moving some boats out of the water, tying others down, but nothing could’ve prepared him for the estimated 12 feet of storm surge Ian brought to this part of the Lee County coastline.
“We did not think it would ever get this high,” Leland said.
Leland and coworker Charles Tutin will spend the next several days tracking down their company’s boats and helping strangers move their boats out of nearby parking lots.
“It doesn’t feel right,” Tutin said, pointing out nothing is normal after Ian’s 155 mph winds.