Hurricane Ian: Southwest Florida Facebook group helps find lost boats

Hundreds, if not thousands, of boats have been spotted in unusual places in southwest Florida after historic storm surge from Hurricane Ian swept them away last week.

In the middle of the street, in the parking lot of an apartment complex, and in people’s backyards are some of the sites where these vessels were found.

While some people search for their missing yacht or jet ski, others have random boats sitting on their lawns – a potential hazard if they tip over or leak fuel.

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Boats are seen blocking Bonita Springs Roa, two days after Hurricane Ian hit the west coast of Florida as a Category 4 storm, Friday, September 30, 2022. Pedro Portal [email protected]

Now a Facebook group created on Thursday is trying to connect owners with their boats.

SW Florida Lost & Found Boats member Karen Hensel Yacovelli said Tuesday afternoon that at least five boats ended up in the backyards located next to the canals in a neighborhood of Cape Coral.

“Many boats all over SW Cape yards along Sands and side streets … from Beach to El Dorado,” she said.

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The Crackerjack charter boat sits atop a car on the side of the road on San Carlos Island Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. caused by Hurricane Ian. Al Diaz [email protected]

Fellow member Susan Hommes Host said on Monday she is looking for her boat who was left on an elevator behind his house.

READ MORE: Did Ian destroy your roof? Check if you are eligible for the free installation of a blue tarp

“We had just bought it the week before the storm so there was no name on it yet,” she said.

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Boats washed ashore at Legacy Harbor Marina in Fort Myers on Thursday, September 29, 2022, a day after Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s west coast as a Category 4 storm. Pedro Portal [email protected]

Caryl M Jaques said his boat had disappeared in Cape Coral to find him the next day with its rear on top of a dike and the bow on the water in a nearby channel. Kelly Roberts-Hinds said she also found her boat in a garden right next to a canal.

READ MORE: ‘As the Gulf entered:’ Hurricane Ian inundated this historically black neighborhood of Naples

“We located our boat for better or for worse…” she said.

According to other members of the group, boats also ran aground on Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs and Marco Island.

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A Facebook group called ‘SW Florida Lost & Found Boats’ is helping people find their boats after Hurricane Ian swept them away Southwest Florida Lost and Found Boats on Facebook

Here’s what to do if you find a boat

If you spot a ship in the middle of the street or in your yard, contact your local police department by calling their non-emergency line, Marco Island Police Captain Richard Stoltenborg told the Miami Herald. If it is an emergency, dial 911.

Here are some of the non-emergency police phone numbers you may need:

  • Cape Coral PD: (239) 574-3223
  • Fort Myers PO: (239) 321-7700

  • Lee County Sheriff’s Office: (239) 477-1000

  • Naples PD: 239-213-4844

  • Marco Island PD: (239) 389-5050

  • Collier County Sheriff’s Office: 239-252-9300

  • Sarasota PD: (941) 263-6773

  • Punta Gorda PO: (941) 639-4111

  • Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office: (941) 639-2101

Omar is a bilingual, bicultural journalist, covering breaking South Florida news for the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in education from the Universidad de Puerto Rico en Río Piedras.

Earnest A. Martinez