Post-Irma: For this business, normalcy means getting yachts off the front lawn



The business of getting back to business is underway across the Central Florida area. Boards have been removed from windows and broken tree limbs are being mulched. Whether or not the power is on, some form of normalcy slowly is emerging in the post-Hurricane Irma era.

For Earl Klotch and the staff at Port Canaveral Marine, normalcy means getting the yachts off the front lawn.

"We had to get about 30 boats in dry dock before the storm, some had to be lined up outside the gate because there just wasn't enough room," says Klotch, a lift operator who deftly pilots a remote-controlled behemoth with a touch of his thumb.

Port Canaveral Marine's 110-ton mobile lift can bring vessels in and out of their slips in a matter of minutes. Klotch effortlessly operates the levers on his control box while walking around and underneath the massive, moving structure. Turns are taken at a slow pace as Klotch keeps an eye on the distance between the tires and the end of the pavement. The lift's wheels must be lined up perfectly with the tracks on either side of the boat slip so the boat can be lowered safely into the water.

Since the tools of their trade run on batteries and gasoline, Klotch and his co-workers only had to wait on Coast Guard inspections to get back to work. The rest of Port Canaveral's businesses spent the week waiting on electricity and water to be restored. Restaurants began opening on Sept. 14 as the power came back on.

"I came in to work on Tuesday hoping I could get a breakfast sandwich on the way, but nobody was open. I don't think anyone's seen it as bad as it's been since Sunday, but we're coming back now."

Click Here to see the photo gallery for scenes from Port Canaveral Marine and the Cocoa Beach area.

To view the original Orlando Business Journal article Click Here