Shediac, N.B. boat owners prepare for hurricane Fiona

Click to play video: 'N.B. coastal communities gearing up for Hurricane Fiona' N.B. coastal communities gearing up for Hurricane Fiona
WATCH: Communities along New Brunswick’s southeastern coast and along the Gulf of St. Lawrence are very familiar with the destruction a major storm can bring. Shediac suffered major damage during a previous hurricane, so now they're busy getting ready for Fiona. Nathalie Sturgeon has that story – Sep 22, 2022

Gerry O’Brien looks out at the Shediac Bay Yacht Club marina – dark clouds are over ahead and the water is as still as can be.

It’s the calm before the storm – hurricane Fiona, that is.

Back in 2019, hurricane Dorian ravaged the marina. It ripped up the docks and tossed boats of all sizes into a pile on the shore.

“Basically, we lost about 72 boats that were just crammed into the corner on the breakwater,” he said. “We had a storm surge of two and half metres and hurricane winds, so the marina was completely destroyed. We had to rebuild from scratch.”

Read more: Hurricane Fiona to accelerate, bring ‘hurricane force winds’ to Atlantic Canada

This time, O’Brien said he started to tell boat owners to pull their water crafts out of the marina early.

“Over the last 24 hours we have had quite a few boats that have hauled out,” he said. “We’ve been tracking the storm since last week and since the beginning of the week we’ve been advising members — now’s the time to maybe pull out. It looks like a big storm coming down the way.”

Hurricane Fiona is tracking toward Atlantic Canada with landfall expected late Friday. Forecasters with the Canadian Hurricane Centre said this storm has the potential to be a “landmark” weather event.

Read more: Hurricane Fiona shaping up to be ‘potentially severe event’ for Atlantic Canada

Impacts are expected to be more significant in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, but those in Shediac aren’t taking any chances.

Myles Hall took his boat out of the marina Wednesday and returned to help remove his friend’s sailboat. He said sailboats are tricky to get out of the water and require more than one person.

“It’s best to have the boat out of the water than in the water,” he said on Thursday. “I’m pretty new to the whole boating scene but I certainly have seen the remnants of Dorian from a few years ago and I have no interest in my boat being a part of that.”

John Emery’s boat was spared in 2019, escaping Dorian’s wrath with just a few scratches, but he isn’t taking any chances with Fiona.

“Quite a few of us are getting our boats out as quickly as possible,” he said. “Typically, at the end of September, we will say to ourselves, ‘we’ll get another few sails in.’ And then, you know, we have an event like this and it’s just the kick in the pants to get everything out.”

Pierre Basque is a new boat owner and hasn’t had the chance to take his boat out on the water yet. He said he was heeding all the warnings about the impending storm.

“It’s worth taking it seriously for what is coming for the weekend,” Basque said.

Storm surges, which are common in coastal communities like Shediac, are expected to impact New Brunswick. Fiona is also expected to bring higher than normal water levels.

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