AstroGuard is produced, woven and coated in North and South Carolina and shipped in rolls to Delray Beach for cutting.
Impact-resistant glass, which can cost two to three times as much as shutters, is made by bonding a combination of plastic vinyl layers and polyester film between two panes of glass, making a single sheet of glass that can also be produced with insulating glass.
“Interest in impact-resistance glass has skyrocketed in the last five years,” said Larry Olson, sales manager at Medley-based Lawson Industries, which makes aluminum windows and doors.
However, even impact-resistant glass can be penetrated by high-speed projectiles, so the best (and most expensive) combination would be impact-resistant glass and shutters.
Most people in South Florida’s large boat-owning community have only a few alternatives when a hurricane is approaching: berth the vessel securely at a dock, keep it at home or in a marina. anchor it in a protected harbor or find a sheltered, inland anchorage. In Broward County, for example, the marine authorities organize a flotilla that takes boats up the New River, away from the shore, before the area’s bridges are locked down.
River Marine Supply in Miami does a brisk business when storms approach. Boat owners who keep their vessels here during a storm stock up on extra ropes, chains, anchors, bumpers and other equipment, said Pedro Lank, the domestic and international sales coordinator at River Marine.
“People also check their hatches to make sure they’re waterproof and to see if their bilge pumps are working,” he said. When people keep their boats moored, he said, they have to be sure not to tie them up too close to the dock: “When there’s a high tide or a storm surge, the boats have to be able to move with the water.”
Yacht owners with deep pockets have still another option: they can send their vessels somewhere else well before the storm season hits South Florida. Yacht owners from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach use Fort Lauderdale-based Dockwise Yacht Transport to move their yachts to the Mediterranean and other locations before the hurricane season begins, and to ferry them back, often in time for the South Florida boat shows.
“We have three float-on/float-off ships that move yachts and we make about eight trips each year back and forth to the Mediterranean,” said Catalina Bujor, Dockwise’s public relations and marketing officer. Dockwise’s destinations also include points farther north on the East Coast of the United States, the U.S. Pacific Coast, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.
Dockwise’s three ships, ranging from about 456 feet to 686 feet in length, are designed to allow sea water to flood their decks. Yachts and sailboats then sail aboard and are secured by divers. After that, the deck is drained and the transport ships move on to their next destination. Two of Dockwise’s vessels were converted from ships that carried oil-drilling rigs and the other was designed especially as a yacht transporter.
Loads vary according to the size of the yachts, but a typical cargo would include about 45 smaller yachts and sailboats or 17 megayachts, plus their tenders.
While some yacht owners may want to make the Transatlantic voyage on their own, most prefer using a yacht transporter, since they save wear and tear on their crews, boats and engines and don’t have to worry about sailing through dangerous weather on their own.
How much does it cost to give your yacht a ride? The total cost depends on the size of the yacht, the destination, the season and other factors, Bujor said. But for a 100-foot yacht, the 15-day trip from Fort Lauderdale to Italy would run about $140,000, she estimated.
That’s one way.