Boatyard back in shipshape

After four months, Harbour House Marina is back in shipshape.

The boatyard and marina in Prospect was in disarray after the hurricane, with debris and vessels tossed across the yard – and beyond.

‘One ended up in someone’s living room,’ said general manager David Carmichael. ‘It was just a mess. All of the boats were in a pile. We basically had to untangle every one.’

He said it took teamwork and a lot of extra hours to restore the yard, which had been under about three feet of water. Around 40 vessels were there at the time – only four were left standing.

‘It purely goes down to how hard the men worked,’ said Carmichael. ‘Every one of our staff showed up for work the Wednesday after the storm. That’s pretty special.’

The boatyard was operational within a week after the hurricane, with workers lifting and repairing vessels. They salvaged 34 boats, ranging from semi-submarines to sailing vessels. Harbour House is the only haul out facility on the island.

‘We probably did eight months of handling in two months,’ said yard manager Tim Griffiths.

The last boat in the yard was moved back into its proper place late last week.

‘We’re pretty much 100 per cent operational,’ said Carmichael, noting the yard has nearly doubled it capacity after taking over an empty parcel of land next door.

‘We’ve turned around a fair number of boats as well. A lot are back in the water now.’

While the marine centre suffered little damage from the storm – only a small wooden building in the middle of the yard was destroyed – its equipment and infrastructure took a big hit. Replacing wiring inside the grounds alone, for instance, cost around $20,000.

A brand new 24-foot Boston Whaler that had arrived a week before the hurricane was waiting at the Industrial port when the storm hit. It was tossed at least a quarter mile inland.

‘I got a phone call to get my boat out of the side of the A.L. Thompson building.’

Many of its boat stands were bent beyond repair and a fair number were stolen. Workers had to improvise, using oil drums and crafting makeshift stands to prop up vessels. Most were back standing within two weeks.

Harbour House has a staff of around 20 but that nearly doubled after the storm as those in the nautical community pitched in to get the yard and equipment operational.

Staff and volunteers also supplied tons of ice to the neighbourhood by rigging up an ice machine to a container, powering the machine from a boat at the dock. They also cooked meals out of the boat’s galley.

‘Everybody got together to get things done,’ said Carmichael. ‘We had a good team.’