Hurricanes Irma and Maria were devastating to a number of
Caribbean islands and Florida, and now that the storm has fizzled at sea, many
continue with plans for a Caribbean season. But it might not be business as
usual. Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda directly, leaving it nearly uninhabitable and
forcing all the island’s inhabitants to evacuate to Antigua. Its path sliced
apart St. Maarten/St. Martin, Anguilla, and the BVIs before skirting Puerto
Rico and ripping through the Turks and Caicos and running up the Florida
peninsula. Then, a little farther south, Hurricane Maria followed within weeks,
bowling over Dominica, skirting the Leeward Islands, and spinning on top of St.
Croix and Puerto Rico, leaving many in the typical Caribbean cruising grounds
to start all over. But, just weeks later, cleanup and rebuilding is already
While government officials focus on their citizens’ health
and safety, hotels and marinas are diligently cleaning, restoring, and getting
back on their feet. Although some businesses may not be ready due to the extent
of damage, and marinas may not have full dock availability, the consensus is
most locations will be up and ready.
At the recent Monaco Yacht Show, ACREW hosted a discussion
on the upcoming Caribbean season. Norena Edelman of IMM in Guadeloupe and FKG
Rigging in St. Maarten, started the discussion. “As you know, we are three
weeks out from Hurricane Irma, and a week out from Hurricane Maria, so there’s
still a lot we don’t know, and there are still some things we can’t say,” she
said. “From my perspective, the fundamental requirement is that we can
guarantee the safety and security of the yachts. If we didn’t feel we could
offer that, we wouldn’t be here. We want to provide accurate information so
that people can make informed decisions about what they want to do.” In light
of that, several companies in St. Maarten — SMMTA, Dockside Management, and BWA
Yachting — have launched a website that will provide up to the minute updates
on what is going on all over the islands, https://www.caribbeanyachtingupdate2017.com/.
“[It] will be run by us and will give updated and accurate information so that
you will know what is open and what is not and what state things are in so that
you’re able to make the right decision,” Edelman said.
Christophe Harbour community and the larger island nation of St. Kitts and
Nevis are fortunate to report that they were spared significant damage from
Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma,” says Clare Sidwell in an email, “and the
Marina at Christophe Harbour is open and operational, providing fuel and
berthing for vessels displaced by the storm. The new Park Hyatt St.
Kitts Christophe Harbour is still scheduled to open November 1, 2017.” In the
same vein, Marina Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic reports no damage,
and is operating as normal.
Marinas has started repairs at the St. Maarten and St. Thomas locations as well
as Blue Haven Resort and Marina in the Turks & Caicos, which is partially
open and aims to be fully open for February 2018 or May/June 2018, and The
Marina at Ortega Landing in Jacksonville, Florida. They are also pitching in to
rebuild the community. “At this time, we are optimistic that our marinas
will be operational in most, if not all, affected locations for the upcoming
winter season,” IGY noted in their recent update. “From our last check-in,”
says Kristin Soto of IGY, “it looked to be that the marinas would be open by
This article originally ran in the November 2017 issue of Dockwalk.