Watermen Pull Boats, Gear Ahead of Hurricane Florence - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Watermen Pull Boats, Gear Ahead of Hurricane Florence

Posted: Sep 13, 2018 8:14 PM -04:00 Updated:

HOOPER'S ISLAND, Md. - Watermen in southern Dorchester County are not taking any chances. Earlier this week, some began to pull their boats out of the water, worried as Hurricane Florence makes her way to the East Coast.

As the winds on Hooper's Island picked up Thursday morning, only a handful of boats at PL Jones Marina stayed tied to slips. Watermen like Joel Hayden says they have no plans of getting out on the water any time soon.

"This harbor's pretty empty. Last week there was almost a boat in every slip and now it's hardly a boat in any slip," Hayden said. "I'll most likely pull my boat up and put it on dry land. I'm leaving it out right now in case a fellow friend needs help pulling their gear."

At least 70 boats lined the boatyard on Thursday, hoisted atop steel and wood, stopping watermen from what would have been a decent crab season.

"We've been taught to prepare for the worst," Hayden said.

And if there wasn't any work for Hayden , there was still a little left for his father, Joe, busy spraying down crab pots.

"This is unusual," Hayden said. "Usually, I'll pull them up a pot at a time so I don't miss no time on the water."

But with all 900 pots pulled up on his lawn, Hayden says he won't be sending them back for crabs until the storm blows over.

"It's everything against us," Hayden said.

Hayden said  he loses about $1,000 a day when he is unable to catch crabs.

The Conowingo Dam had 12 gates open up on Thursday. Environmentalists say all the freshwater from there will push crabs farther south of the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland watermen, like Hayden, say that will likely give them only a small window after the storm to catch crabs.

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