SAN CARLOS ISLAND
Getting massive boats back into the water isn’t a quick process, but crews are getting it done. They’re lifting a 290,000-pound boat after Hurricane Ian tossed it around and brought it on land.
Scott Schofield knows a thing or two about watching the big shrimp boats being lifted and removed because he’s been out here watching, and recording, every move of these boats.
“It’s amazing to watch how they come in. And the meticulous work that these guys do to get these boats up and safely back into the water where they’re supposed to be,” said Schofield.
Meticulous is one way to describe it. Painstaking is another. The process takes anywhere from a day and a half to two days.
For boats like Captain Eddie 99, it’ll be the full two days.
Schofield has learned just from watching. “It takes about a day for them to prep it, get the straps under it, get everything going for it. And then the second day they actually pick it up, move it, put it back in the water.”
Captain Eddie was a little higher up on land, so the barge had to get a little closer. The mud and muck close to the sea wall had to be dredged out for the barge to get close enough.
The crane that can do the heavy lifting is stationary, so the barge has to be the thing that moves.
Every time the boat is lifted up, the barge sinks a little bit, so, as you can imagine, the re-adjustments to get the boat back in the water took a long time.
Schofield didn’t miss a second. “One little, little day by day, step back to normalcy out here.”
The removal companies make sure the boats are sea-worthy before they put them back in the water.