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Why some people are staying on their boats in Bucksport during Hurricane Dorian

A Bucksport Marina residents speaks about what he expects during Hurricane Dorian

Those that live on their boats in Bucksport Marina speak about what they expect from Hurricane Dorian and what its like to wait out a storm while on a boat.
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Those that live on their boats in Bucksport Marina speak about what they expect from Hurricane Dorian and what its like to wait out a storm while on a boat.

James Le Voguer and his wife from Montreal, Canada, are going to weather their first hurricane on their boat at the Bucksport Marina.

The couple has been traveling the East Coast for months with their two cats, but they chose to come to Bucksport just for Hurricane Dorian because they heard it is a safe place to dock even as high winds hit the area.

“We’re nervous but we can’t avoid it, so we’re just going to tough it out,” Le Voguer said. “But the storm is why we are here.”

The Le Voguers are not without company in the Bucksport Marina. The Big M Casino Boat docked at the marina and dozens of other captains are choosing to stick out the storm there.

Some are just staying there for the storm because it’s a safe place, but others live on the dock. Mike Ratly and his wife were celebrating their 17th wedding anniversary on the boat during the storm.

“My wife looked at me and said ‘let’s stay,’” Riley said.

The reason many boaters want to be in Bucksport for a storm is a mix of its location and the types of docks the marina has.

Bucksport is where the Waccamaw River and Intracoastal Waterway meet. Small islands form in the middle of the river, and it’s about eight miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean and 27 miles up the Waccamaw River from Winyah Bay.

Boat owner Derriel Morris said the marina here is known as a safe place to be because the docks are floating and the islands provide some protection. As the waters become more and more turbulent, the docks will rise and fall accordingly.

“People ask me ‘why don’t you leave,’ and I tell them ‘because this is my home,’” Morris said.

As Hurricane Dorian moves in, Bucksport could see tropical storm winds on Thursday and some moderate river flooding in the days following. Captain Buck’s Port Operator Luke Barefoot said the information he was given doesn’t indicate the flooding will be too bad in the area.

Morris has stayed on his boat for three previous storms, and he knows how to prepare. He makes sure his knots are tight and anything loose on his boat is properly stored.

Surviving the storm on the boat is also a matter of community. A fellow boater made a run to the store to get supplies for the whole dock. Morris helped his neighbors secure their boats and crews. They might also throw a hurricane party on one.

“We’re probably more prepared than people on land. We have more to lose,” Morris said.

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Dorian

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