Boats Damaged by Irma Could Pose Environmental Hazard

As the Florida Keys continue to recover from Hurricane Irma, now the boats in the water pose a great danger.

Christian Price is back in Marathon after Hurricane Irma. The sailboat he lived in for 18 years is missing from the harbor.

“I don’t know where I’m staying tonight,” said Price. “It’s 41 foot long on the hull. On the deck, and yeah I’ve been living on it since 1999.”

Christian’s boat is one of hundreds whipped and tossed around by the Category 4 storm when it hit the Keys.

“I came back and now she sitting in about two or three feet of water, shoved in the mangroves with about 10-15 boats behind, shoved all the way in there,” said Price.

“It’s not just the boats that are ending up in mangroves,” said Captaid David Dipere, “Boats are coming up on land, washing ashore, and in a lot of these instances, people either took their personal belongings away or they’ve been washed away from Irma.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says those boats are a hazard to other boaters and could be toxic in the water.

“The problem with that is they are sitting on the bottom. Now, we’ve got environmental hazards, some of them have pollutants on board.”

Some boats did make it – Lee Grant stayed on his 37-foot boat for Irma and lived to tell about it.

“I Got Lucy. I put three lines off the bout and one line broke. The other two are faced and one was frayed more than the other. But, if that hurricane lasted any longer…” said Grant.

As for Christian, he’s glad he didn’t stay.

“I’m alive and we found a couple of bodies out here and I was smart enough to leave my boat,” said Price.