BUFFALO, N.Y. — It's almost that time to lift up the sails, pull up the anchors, and hit the waters. But not yet. First damaged docks, like these at Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, have to be repaired.
"Which happens every year just not to the extent at which it happened this year," James Marinello, the general manager of Smith Boys, said.
Our long winter combined with several severe windstorms caused more damage to docks than years past.
"Caused the ice, which was solid, to lift up, and the wind actually pushed the docks into the ice. The ice came up (and) twisted the steel," Marinello said.
A higher number of docks than usual are pulled out of their poles and many are twisted at almost a 90 degree angle.
Crews like Smith Boys and Buffalo Marine Construction are working hard to make sure boaters will be able to set sail when mother nature cooperates. But there's a lot of work to be done first and not all the damaged docks can be saved.
"All this stuff is pretty much damaged beyond repair so at this point its pretty much a salvage...Icebergs come down they are big. They are heavy. Takes a lot to withstand that blow," Tim Nelson, a marine contractor, said.
Despite a tight deadline, crews say they are confident they will get the ice cleared and docks repaired before May.
"We're opening may first we always do. We have never once missed a may first deadline," Marinello said.
As for ways to prevent this damage in the future, Buffalo Marine Construction says not a whole lot can be done.
"Mother nature is mother nature," Nelson said.