Hundreds if not thousands of boats have been spotted in unusual places across Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian’s historic storm surge swept them away last week.
In the middle of the street, in the parking lot of an apartment complex and in people’s backyards are some of the sites where these vessels have been found.
While some people are looking for their missing yacht or jet ski, others have random boats sitting on their lawns — a potential hazard if they tilt or leak fuel.
Now a Facebook group created Thursday is trying to connect owners with their boats.
Karen Hensel Yacovelli, a member of “SW Florida Lost & Found Boats,” said Tuesday afternoon that at least five boats had ended up in backyards located next to canals in a Cape Coral neighborhood.
“Many boats all over yards in SW Cape along Sands and the side streets… from Beach to El Dorado,” she said.
Susan Hommes Host, another member, said Monday she is looking for her boat that was left on a lift behind her home.
“We had just purchased it the week before the storm, so it did not yet have a name on it,” she said.
Caryl M Jaques said her boat was missing in Cape Coral only to find it the next day with its rear on top of a seawall and the bow on the water in a nearby canal. Kelly Roberts-Hinds said she also found her boat in a backyard right next to a canal.
“We’ve located our boat for better or worse…,” she said.
According to other group members, boats have also washed up on Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs and Marco Island.
Here’s what to do if you find a boat
If you spot a vessel in the middle of the street or in your backyard, contact your local police department by calling its non-emergency line, Marco Island police Capt. Richard Stoltenborg told the Miami Herald. If it’s an emergency, dial 911.
Here are some of the non-emergency police phone numbers you might need:
Cape Coral PD: (239) 574-3223
Fort Myers PD: (239) 321-7700
Lee County Sheriff’s Office: (239) 477-1000
Naples PD: 239-213-4844
Marco Island PD: (239) 389-5050
Collier County Sheriff’s Office: 239-252-9300
Sarasota PD: (941) 263-6773
Punta Gorda PD: (941) 639-4111
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office: (941) 639-2101