Former N.H. Resident Faces Hurricane Irma in Florida

Sep 8, 2017

Credit National Hurricane Center - NOAA

Florida residents prepared for Hurricane Irma as it made its way across the Caribbean Islands Wednesday.

David True, a former, longtime resident of New Hampshire, moved from Portsmouth to Daytona, Florida in November of last year. He lives on a 40-foot aft cabin boat named Scallywag with Bella, his rescue German shepherd.

NHPR’s Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with True by phone to see how he and Bella are handling their first Florida hurricane.

Is this going to be the first time that you'll ride out a hurricane?

Yes.

Now why try to ride it out? Why stay?

Well, there’s the size of the storm that's coming and how fast it's coming. No matter how quickly you can move, you're not going to get out of its way. There's nowhere to get away from it.

If you left now you just couldn’t outrun it?

Right. You just couldn't outrun it. And the fact that the prediction was that it’s going up the entire state of Florida to Georgia there was really no place to escape, which I'm lucky. I'm in one of the most protected marinas on the east coast of Florida, which I’m very lucky for that. There's a lot of people that are coming here trying to get into the last few empty slips. Actually, we’re booked solid.  

Yeah I'd imagine. I'm wondering how vessel owners like youwhat you do if you've got two, three, maybe even four days to prepare? Where can you go? What can you do with your boat? I imagine you can't get it out of the water.

So if you're lucky enough to be in an arena where you can do that, you could. But like the size of my vessel we're actually safer in the water, and I'm actually moving into what I'm calling my hurricane slip  today. And the slip where I have docks completely around me where I can cross tie her down and keep her from slamming into the docks.

Is that the key to the game? Keep the boat from slamming into anything particular. Just let it ride it out?

Correct. And put down as many lines as possible. I'm probably going to overdo it, but that's okay. The few storms I rode out in New Hampshire, which weren't anything like a hurricane, normally I have 10 lines down. But for today, for this storm I'll probably have 30 lines down.

Now you presumably you and Bella are going to be on the boat?

If it remains to be a Category 3 and down, we will stay on the boat. If it's going to be above that, we will leave the boat and go to what's called the facility at the marina. It’s like a captain's lounge and stuff like that, and ride it out there in a concrete building.

What's the mood like around Daytona Beach right now?

It’s been pretty peaceful. Strangely the weather is gorgeous right now. You do see people moving around getting stuff ready, but still everyone's kind of doing what they got to do. Like I still have to go to work tonight. So it's still kind of calm but not that crazy yet.

Are there runs on supplies and things like that?

Yeah. Things are starting to run low.  I've got all my supplies that I need for me and Bella and I just want to make sure I have some more water. So I'm filling up. Instead of running to buy bottled water, which I think is ridiculous, I’m just filling up containers.

What are you most afraid of in riding this out?

The high winds. Because the high winds blow low boats around like bobbers on the on the water. I know the people that are staying, like myself, in the marina we are planning at some point we all just basically get together in the captain's quarters and just ride it out.

Yeah, I want to ask you too about some of the people that that you are docked with. Have any of them ridden out a hurricane of this status before?

A few of them have, and in fact the slip and I'm moving into, they've been on their boat for 20 years in this marina and have gone through pretty large ones. And they said it's a good place to be, but you know you still can't guarantee anything. It’s all up to mother nature and if you did your proper preparations. So it did make me feel a little better, but still I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn’t nervous.