Dear Valued Customers,
We would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on the effects on Walker Marine Group and its operations due to Hurricane Irma.
As many of you know Marco Island and Goodland received the highest impact of hurricane Irma. As a result, some of our locations in Marco Island and Goodland were heavily impacted.
Walker’s Coon Key Marina (604 E Palm Ave, Goodland, FL 34140)
Walker’s Coon Key Marina located in Goodland, had the most severe impact, essentially destroying the entire rack storage system and the majority of our docks. As a result, some customer boats sustained damage. I am pleased to say that the Ship Store came out unscathed. The rear canal dock and boat lifts sustained little to no damage, as well as the boats stored on them.
All customer boats currently stored at Coon Key Marina are being transported to Walker’s Hideaway Marina of Marco where each boat will be fully assessed for damage. We will be making accommodation for all our storage customers from Coon Key by transferring lease agreements to Walker’s Hideaway Marina of Marco, until such time, as Coon Key is able to be reconstructed.
We met with our contractor and provider of our storage systems, Roofs N’ Racks, to re-build our storage systems and I am happy to report that a new storage building will be delivered in an estimated 10-12 weeks. A full reconstruction of the Coon Key Storage systems is anticipated to be complete by March 2018.
We will move forward with immediate repairs to our fuel dock and fuel systems, which will allow us to reopen the fueling operation, boat rental operation and the ship’s store with live bait and tackle by the end of October 2017. In addition, Walker’s received permits 45 days ago for the previously planned replacement of the southern floating dock area. We will begin immediate construction of the southern half of the dock section which will consists of all new floating docks and fixed docks with boat lifts.
I am very confident by March or early April, Coon Key will back and running at full capacity and will now have the ability to store larger vessels. We will look forward to having you join us at the Annual Tarpon Tournament that benefits Make-A-Wish.
Walker’s Marine Sales and Service (785 Bald Eagle Dr, Marco Island, FL 34145)
We also sustained damage to our Sales Showroom location on Bald Eagle Drive. We lost a significant section of the roofing material causing a large amount of rain water damage. The water damage necessitated a complete remodel from top to bottom and I’m pleased to announce contractors have already started. We will be holding a grand re-opening by the first of the year at our facility.
Walker’s Hideaway Marina of Marco (705 E Elkcam Cir, Marco Island, FL 34145)
As of the result of the damage from Hurricane Irma we consolidated all Marco Island and Goodland operations to Walker’s Hideaway of Marco. This location will be the center of operations until the other two reconstruction projects are complete. Relocated operations include Sales and fully equipped Parts/Service Department, as well as all personnel. As of September 18th we are fully operational at Walker’s Hideaway Marina of Marco.
All inquiries related to damaged vessels and service needs are to be directed to Jason Berning, who is now located at that facility and will be leading the efforts on vessel recovery: (239) 394-9333.
The Hideaway Marco facility sustained minimal damage, the ship store tackle retail office sustained no damage and the storage facility sustained minor sheet metal roof damage. There was also damage to gutters and trim. We had purchased materials for an already scheduled annual maintenance and they are on site. Contractors are firmly scheduled to begin work on September 23rd and we anticipate all repairs and previously scheduled maintenance to be completed within 4 weeks; in time for our highly valued seasonal residents return. During this time we will remain fully operational.
We have restored all power internet and phone services at that location and all calls from Marco Showroom and Coon Key Marina locations will automatically be redirected to Hideaway Marco.
Walker’s Hideaway Marina of Naples (475 North Road, Naples, FL 34104)
We are very pleased to report that our Naples facility sustained very minor damage and was virtually running within 48 hours without phone or internet after the conclusion the storm. As of today’s date, we have now fully restored both telephone and internet at this location.
Walker’s Yacht Sales at Fish Tale Marina (7225 Estero Blvd, Ft. Myers Beach, FL 33931)
Our Fort Myer’s Beach location received extremely minimal to no damage and our operations are back up and running immediately as the Walker team members returned safely with their families from the evacuation.
I can also report that 100% of our inventory at all locations, both new, used and brokerage were completely unscathed and protected as result of our team member efforts. Inventory was moved well in advance of the storm inside service shops and our Naples Marina.
I am also very pleased to report that nearly 1,500 boats that Walker’s Marine stored for our customers and inventory combined, early estimates indicated, less than a dozen boat sustained significant damage.
I am proud of our team members for the incredible job as they worked long hours in anticipating the arrival of the storm to ensure the safety and protection of both our assets and those of our valued customers.
In closing, I would like to say, without question, having experience many of these national disasters in the past, Hurricane Imra served as the worst I have ever seen. I can personally say, looking at it after the fact, very few events have ability to create overwhelming challenges with our employees and customers as a major storms. All that being said, it is my belief and personal conviction that all of this makes us stronger as a group and closer together as a family. I want to personally thank each and everyone of our 100+ team members. And I want to personally thank and reassure our valued customers for their support and our continued ability to support their boating needs in Southwest Florida.