Beached boats become roadside attractions after Hurricane Ian

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Boats are scattered like parts of a game board in Cape Coral. Ian’s surge sent millions of dollars down the drain.

A boat has been sitting in the median of Lucerne Parkway since the storm passed, and neighbors are ready to see it go. However, FWC reports that it is up to each individual owner to have their boat removed within 45 days of the storm leaving the state.

” He is always there. We don’t know who owns it,” John Riccio said of the Lucerne boat.

He said he could afford a hotel room if he had a penny for each person who stopped to take a photo with the landmark.

“I’ve had people stop and ask me if it’s mine. Can they have it? I said it’s not mine, but you can have it,” laughed Riccio.

Down the road, David Arenz wrecked his two boats. Luckily, his are close to his house, so he didn’t have to travel far to find them.

“I’ve had this boat for two years, yes, I know. It’s my pride and joy so I spent a lot of time researching and searching for the right boat to go offshore fishing and did everything the way I wanted and in an instant it was off” , said Arenz in reference to his blue Mako sitting upright. His other boat is upside down in front of his neighbor’s yard.

Arenz and his wife watched as Ian’s winds roar and lift his boats from their docks. When it came ashore, they feared it would hit their house.

“I don’t remember much after that because I was so upset I just shut down,” Arenz said.

Due to continuous saltwater spray for hours, Arenz said his two boats were ruined and it was up to him to have them removed.

“FEMA cannot take these boats because they contain fuel. So they’re not going to take it,” he said. Instead, he works with insurance and a salvage company to remove them.

FWC crews have rated more than 600 boats like Arenzs’ across the state.

“The public can report vessels displaced or damaged by Hurricane Ian to the Vessel Hotline at 850-488-5600, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers should be prepared to provide the vessel’s registration number, current location and a detailed description. ”

Until a boat is retired, Arenz said owners are responsible for everything.

“Someone gets on it, he falls, he gets injured, the boat explodes, anything can happen, a car hits him and you are responsible,” he said.

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