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Oct. 19, 2017
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Lake Lanier, Hurricane Irma tangle in September

By Pamela A. Keene
 
High winds and rough water from Hurricane Irma caused damage around Lake Lanier, including some of the lake’s marinas. Overall, the damage was manageable, with much less dock and boat damage than might have happened.
 
Aqualand was probably the hardest-hit, especially its breakwater Blue Ridge Dock with houseboat slips. “We had minimal boat damage, except that one houseboat sank, but within a couple of days it had been floated and removed from the water,” said Patrick Kinney, general manager of Aqualand Marina. “Blue Ridge Dock had heavy damage with broken and twisted dock fingers because of the sustained winds. It’s not going to be a quick fix because there will insurance and corporate decisions to be made.”
 
Kinney said that most of the houseboats have been relocated within Aqualand Marina; a few tenants have moved their boats to other marinas. Clean-up has been ongoing to remove the downed trees on the 144-acre marina property. The marina lost power for about two days.
 
“On the positive side, we responded quickly to remove trees from across the road and blow off all the roads so that owners could get to their boats,” Kinney said. “Several members have emailed and complimented us for our quick response. And the next Saturday, we still hosted our Member Appreciation Party. It was the most attended we’ve ever had.” 
 
Holiday Marina and Lazy Days at Holiday Marina fared much better, most likely because they are located within Big Creek and don’t directly face the main channel. “One dock, Pier 13, in Lazy Days broke loose, but it was put back within two days,” said Alex Laidlaw with Westrec. “We had few downed trees and about 30 hours without power.” 
 
Gainesville Marina notified its tenants the Friday before Irma moved through North Georgia, asking them to remove any unsecured items from their finger docks and boats and make sure their dock lines were secure.
 
“Our crews checked all the docks and boats over the weekend before Irma arrived to ensure that boats were secure,” said Philip Burton, general manager of Gainesville Marina. “We had no boat damage and the marina as a whole didn’t lose power, although Docks 7, 8 and 9 were out for a time. Dock D ‘kissed’ Dock E and they lost power but everything has been re-secured and the marina was cleaned up pretty quickly.”

Posted online 9/29/17
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