|Douglass Marine Co.|
Islamorada, Florida, USA
Serving The Keys & All South Florida
Keith L. Douglass, SAMS® AMS®
Diane P. Douglass, SAMS® AMS®
Principal Marine Surveyors
Douglass Marine Company inspected nearly 80 damaged or destroyed vessels since the passage of Hurricane Irma on September 10th 2017. The Douglass family evacuated the day before the Category 4 storm struck the Florida Keys to a friend's home near the Ft. Lauderdale airport, which also was significantly affected by the high winds. The Douglass family home located on Lower Matecumbe Key sustained some damage including downed trees, roof, front porch, carport and roof replacement but fortunately no flood damage.
The worst vessel damage we witnessed and were involved in damage claim work occurred in Marathon particularly in Boot Key Harbor where over 400 vessels were moored and over 300 broke free, nearly all complete total losses (CTLs). Boot Key Harbor serves as an important affordable housing location with many individuals and families living aboard. They even have their own vessel owner's association. Now it's a disaster area.
One marina where Douglass Marine was asked to inspect vessels by an insurance company was so totally devastated that the storage building where one vessel to be inspected was located could not be entered for safety reasons. Two weeks later the vessel was removed and placed on a service rack where the inspection eventually took place. Fortunately the vessel could be repaired.
The unusual amount of work, extreme humidity and high temperatures eventually took its toll on Keith who one morning became disoriented and nearly fainted necessitating an ambulance ride to the hospital where severe dehydration and exhaustion was diagnosed. I learned a hard lesson that day and even though we try to drink plenty of fluids the prolonged periods of work in the intense heat was something I had never experienced before.
Diane, also a Registered Nurse, fared much better and together the couple continues to inspect and process damage claims on vessels ranging in size from personal watercraft to commercial charter fishing boats. It is comforting to know we're helping people recover from this storm, the first since Hurricane Donna in 1960 of this magnitude remarked Diane. Folks in the Keys cherish their boats even more than their homes in many cases and helping them particularly the commercial fishermen is especially rewarding. Slowly but most assuredly the Florida Keys and the rest of Florida is recovering from the wrath of Hurricane Irma. Douglass Marine Company thanks the many people who reached out to them with words of encouragement and offers of assistance.
And, the famous shark that is mounted at the entrance to Bud N' Mary's Fishing Marina in Islamorada was rescued, a sure sign that all will be back to "abby-normal" in Florida Keys soon.
Installed November 1, 2008, Last Revised April 15, 2020 - Hosted and maintained by Don Robertson