RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) — At the Fort McAllister Marina, seamen are busy rolling up sails and securing dock lines as they prepare for their hurricane watch party at restaurant Fish Tales.
“We’re making sure our boats are secure and small boats are out of the water and out of harm’s way. Other than that, we’re gonna wait and see,” said Butch Broome, proprietor of the marina and owner of the Fish Tales restaurant.
No stranger to hurricanes and major storms, Broome has spent the week directing the activities of the marina and checking the lines of his fellow boatmen.
“The marina will be open depending on how rough it gets, but as far as Fish Tales the restaurant, we plan on being open tomorrow,” said Broome. “Whenever a storm comes, we have a lot of local people that will hang out. They’re watching to see how much stuff gets torn up. It’s like a free show.”
Broome told News 3 that if the wind is not moving sideways, they will be underneath the tiki hut to keep watch over the water.
“We have a couple of adventurous people that like to stay on their boats, they’re used to it, they live on a boat but they expect it to be rough,” said Broome.
One of those adventurous seamen is San Diego native Thomas Hall, who sailed up to Georgia with his dog from the Bahamas to avoid the hurricanes — but one followed.
“Just finishing up projects I have put off for a long time, making sure there’s lots of of dog food and gear on board,” said Hall. “I’m filling up gas now for the generator so when we lose power, I can keep the beers cold.”
Living on his boat for a year and a half, Hall recalls barely escaping Hurricane Ian when it hit Fort Myers, Florida, in 2022, stating, “If I have to get outta, here I will.”
He notes that during a storm, it can get scary as the boat rocks and rolls, so to stay entertained, he watches YouTube videos.
Hall advises sailors to “buy the best lines you can and buy more than you think you need and tie stuff down because the wind will take it away.”
Broome remembers the flooding from 2017 Hurricane Irma that damaged the marina and Fish Tales. He and his wife got a small team together for clean up, but by noon the day after, there were 50 community members who came to see what they could do to help.
“We are a community-driven place and we like to take care of the community and it takes care of us,” said Broome.