After the Storm

Storm ravages boats, docks
at Madison’s Rivercrest Marina

Owners say they are determined
to build docks back even better

(April 2017) – Shorty Baker has worked at Rivercrest Maria in Madison, Ind., for seven years, but it was only a few months ago that he had a boat to call his own. Then, on Mardi Gras night on Feb. 28, a bad windstorm ripped through the marina and lifted his boat 30 feet into the air and slammed his boat and trailer back down to the ground where it had been parked.
Danny Scott, another boater who lives in the apartments at the marina, saw the storm and called Baker. “You just lost A Dock. A Dock is gone, and the roof of C Dock is over on the B Dock,” he told Baker.

Photo by John Sheckler

Rivercrest Marina owners and boaters are still cleaning up after a Feb. 28 wind storm that swept through the Madison, Ind. area.

Baker rushed to the marina to see what needed to be done.
“I didn’t see my boat at first,” Baker said. “I was looking to see the marina and boats were secured and see if anyone needed to be pulled to safety.”
The marina is like a home to Baker, and his first thoughts were to be sure it was safe.
“I didn’t realize my boat was damaged the first day,” he said. “I was too worried about everything else. But nobody was hurt. All the boats and other stuff is replaceable. We are going to be OK.”
Tom and Melodie Power bought Rivercrest Marina last year and have worked hard to make improvements, including buying their own dredging equipment. They dredged all summer long last year.
They also changed the location of the ramp to A Dock to make a shorter walk from the parking area and give easier access to the docks.
“Tom gave me confidence,” said Baker. “He put his hand on my shoulder and said we are going to be all right.”
“We all see lots of disasters and always think it happens to someone else,” Power said. “I was kind of surprised it could happen to me, but I quickly found out we were included in that group.”

Photo by John Sheckler

The Feb. 28 storm damage to docks and boats was extreme at Rivercrest Marina.

Power and Baker say they are upbeat about the damage done to the marina and have full confidence that they can repair the storm damage and even make the marina better.
“The Lord has a plan for what he did,” said Baker.
Powers quickly added, “Everything has a purpose and a reason. This is only stuff. All the boaters are coming to see how it looks, and they are all behind us 100 percent.”
Power said he is thankful for many non-boaters who have been helpful in the cleanup.
“Tommy Hancock of Riverside Contracting provided us with some heavy equipment, including a long stick excavator,” said Power. “Once we realized we had the equipment, we knew we could pull all the stuff out of the water and rebuild. It won’t be easy, but we can do it.”
Non-boater Mark Gray of Crusin’ Auto also helped. “He provided the land where we could pump the dredge sludge,” said Power. We couldn’t dredge without a place to put the mud.”
“All the people see that Tom is serious about this place,” Baker said. “They know he will work hard to be sure the marina will survive.”

Photo by John Sheckler

Shorty Baker poses beside his damaged boat. Although he worked there seven years, this is his first boat. He bought it at the end of the season last year.

A storm chaser eyewitness told Baker that a small funnel cloud came straight down the hill on the Kentucky side, skipped to the middle of the river then slammed right into C Dock. The storm carried debris to the east to the sewer plant and even to the antique mall about a half mile away. Some of the debris was heavy, such as large floats that connect the docks at the marina.
Only five or six boats were totaled, and only one, a 1970s-era wooden Chris Craft, sank.
“The storm as made us look for alternative ways to make things work.” Power said. “When the storm lifted the roofs from the docks, it tore the tie down cleats off of the boats causing the damage and leaving them sitting free in the water. They didn’t look bad but had structural damage.”
Many of the boaters have insurance, but there were some who did not think of it.
“The roofs push our insurance rates higher,” said Power. “But the boaters who come here – that is what they want. Being in the shade is nice after a hot day in the sun on the river.”
Power said he is making other plans for the marina. In addition to the 120 boat slips, he plans to rent pontoon boats by the day.

“We will turn this into a first-class marina,” Power said. “Dredging will continue. We are all making progress. It may take longer than we planned, but this is going to be a first-class marina. Life is good.”

Back to April 2017 Articles.



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