Strong winds and extreme tides brought anguish to some residents who live along the waterfront of the Isles of Capri.

Property owners along the river, bays and canals that encompass the island community saw tides wash over seawalls and docks. Although the National Weather Service says these are uncommon, they do occur a few times a year in various parts of Florida.

Capri residents Kevin and Valerie Walsh, whose home on the Marco River is next to the Marco Towers Condominiums, were shocked when they looked out and saw the storm surge had dislodged their deck boat from its lift cradle in the midst of the high winds and tide.

“The actual event was the storm blowing or the surge lifting our deck boat partially off the lift, although tied to the dock, and depositing it with the front end on the dock and the rear still resting on the lift (which was also damaged),” Valerie wrote to the Coconuttele, Capri’s informal email communication network.

“Someone’s (personal watercraft) was also wedged between the rear of our boat and the end of the boat lift,” she wrote, and “it also cracked part of our motor’s housing.”

The Walsh family was so glad that the neighbors from Marco Towers -- Les McCaughey, Gary Knapp and John DeMarco, also called “dock master” -- heard the noise of the boat and the lift banging and came to help.

“It took the guys about two and a half hours to get our boat all the way back on the lift,” said Valerie, “and since the circuit breaker on the lift had blown, they had to turn it by hand to get it back under the boat and then lift if up again.

“They are seamen of the first order, we think, and we are very grateful for what they did for us,” wrote Kevin and Valerie Walsh.

“Apparently there was a salvager that tried to get to the (watercraft) , but he was kept at bay and the owner did retrieve it,” Valerie wrote. “This was an amazing feat and we are very grateful for their efforts. It is also why we like having Marco Towers for our neighbor; they seem to watch our property, and we feel quite protected by the residents there.”

Lost and found

In addition to the Walsh family’s boat experience, other residents wrote in to report items lost or found during the storm.

Among them was this one from Rick Champ: “Anyone missing a boatlift motor cover? I picked it up under my dock. Call me at ... ”

A missing kayak was also reported.

“Hi Ann, in this terrific storm my husband’s kayak has come adrift from our dock. It was tied on to the steps -- they have gone as well. It would have gone inwards towards Capri with the wind direction. It is a yellow 13-foot sea kayak. If it has arrived at anyone's dock could they please let us know and we will collect it or if anyone sees it anywhere,” wrote Tricia Turner.”

The good news is that a neighbor did find the kayak with the steps attached and returned it to the Turners.

A SeaTow boat was observed canvassing the bays for other boats that had been reported missing from their docks and lifts. One lost boat ended up stopped by the end of a canal just off the bay.

The takeaway: Strongly secure kayaks and other personal watercraft.

Contact Ann Hall at

Read or Share this story: