Boat removed from apartment complex with a crane after Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Paul Dolan

A 41,000-pound boat had to be lifted above the Riverwalk apartments to be towed away on Friday.

After dealing with the floods, winds, and rains of Hurricane Ian, the next hurdle Southwest Florida is overcoming is cleaning up.

The residents living at the complex were reminded every day because two giant boats were wedged in between two buildings.

Boat removed from Southwest Florida community with a crane. CREDIT: RJ Gorman

The only way to get the boats out was to lift them directly over the building and straighten it out.

WINK News spoke with Kathy Manning, the property manager, about how removing the boat went.

“We are so glad to have it out of here,” Manning said.

It all started the day Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida.

“Everybody’s devastated, so everybody has to do what they have to do,” Manning said.

Manning was reminded about the storm every day because she would see two boats washed ashore and lodged between Riverwalk buildings.

51 days after Ian, the company RJ Gorman and their hired contractor were allowed to bring in a giant crane to lift the boat above the building and get it onto a tow truck.

Kristine Bryant works in public relations for RJ Gorman and shared some thoughts with WINK News about the process of getting the boat out.

“You got to contact FPL; we had to get the power line down, we gotta get logistics, and we got to get the trailers, and we’ve got to get the cranes, and now as soon as you get all that in the lift itself is not what takes the longest it’s getting the logistics the cranes, the trucks,” Bryant said.

Boat removed from Southwest Florida community with a crane. CREDIT: RJ Gorman

For six minutes and 45 seconds, the boat stayed in the air until the tow truck got perfectly underneath it.

Charles Gorrell contracted the crane and spoke with WINK News about the job.

“When it goes on the trailer, I have to make sure it’s stable on the trailer. And it’s going to be a height restriction,” Gorrell said.

It may have taken some time, but patience paid off because they got the boat out of the area.

“To be able to come back here to help other people, it’s a blessing,” Bryant said.

The company that executed the lift wants everyone in local government to coordinate before a storm hits and allow the removal of derelict boats on a first come-first serve basis.

They told WINK News it would make the job much easier and the process quicker.

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