This story was originally written by Delia D’Ambra, Reporter and published on NBC-2.com.
With Tropical Storm Hermine making its way to the north coast of Florida, winds kicking off the system are making their way to our area. Sailboaters are looking to take full advantage of the gusts, but a boat towing company says don’t take the chance. Many boats at the Cape Coral Yacht Basin have been secured in anticipation of gusty winds and higher tides.
“We’ve probably a few boats that have taken on a little more water because of the rain,” said Richard Paul with Tow Boat US. He’s prepping his team for emergency calls if people decide to go out. If winds go over 45 knots (51 mph), even his crews are limited.
“We can handle the river with gale force, but it’s when you get offshore. It’s when you get the eight to ten foot waves. We just don’t have that kind of equipment to take on that type of responsibility,” Paul said.
His biggest concern with Hermine is over-zealous sailboaters.
“You get a 40-knot wind, and now that’s twice the speed and three to four times as more dangerous.”
Sailboat captain Michael King said being in actual danger on the Gulf depends on one’s level of experience. “It’s not unusual to want to go out and play; that’s what they’re for. So you want to go out and run around in front of the storm. You still keep an eye on them, because they’re subject to turn, they’re subject to grow.”
Still, Paul can’t help but remember the Kimberly family from Sarasota, lost at sea in a sailboat off our coast in June.
“It’s not something that you go out and play in, no,” Paul said.