Florida man fights to save boat in thick of Hurricane Ian

Bradenton boater says he spent 3 years, $50K on this project during retirement

News 6 reporter Erik von Ancken talks to a man reunited with his boat and grabbing belongings from it in the thick of Hurricane Ian.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. – A man in Manatee County was seen fighting the wind and rain Wednesday night in the thick of Hurricane Ian to save the boat he poured three years and $50,000 into.

News 6 reporter Erik von Ancken spotted the man in Bradenton after his boat had blown across Manatee River, nearly 60 miles from where Hurricane Ian initially made landfall in southwest Florida.

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He explained to News 6 how he moored the boat on the river and put all the bumpers out before it broke loose.

“I thought she would ride out the storm here, but the winds were just too big. They came in and they overpowered... and started to slowly fill up the boat,” he said.

A man in Bradenton is trying to salvage his boat after it broke free from its mooring and is listing.

The man, who is originally from Michigan, added this is his first hurricane.

“I bought this boat, I retired and this was my retirement... I spent 3 years and $50,000 just in repairs. It was just about done,” he said.

He said everything on the boat is brand-new, from the appliances to the flooring to the convertible top he had to remove before the storm.

“(I’ve got a) convertible top with no boat to put it on,” the man said. “It breaks my heart. My generator just ran out of gas... Now I’m at the mercy of the sea.”

News 6 reporter von Ancken and photographer Jeff Segers offered their services to the man and were able to provide him with a couple of gallons of gas to power his generator. They were also able to help him unload his personal belongings from his boat to his van.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.