Hurricane Irma turned the Coconut Grove docks at Monty’s into a waterfront bowling alley.
At the height of the Sept. 10 storm, a yacht — moored in the middle of the churning bay — broke loose and set its sights on Shake-a-Leg Miami’s fleet, which docks at the Monty’s Marina.
“As far as we understand, that boat broke loose and came down like a bowling ball and just took out our boats,” Shake-a-Leg founder Harry Horgan told Miami Herald news partner CBS4.
The nonprofit Shake-a-Leg Miami, with its three-decade mission of helping people with disabilities and their families overcome challenges and enjoy independence on the water through sailing, lost nine sailboats and four power boats.
The disabled-accessible boats were particularly affected despite completed precautions, Horgan said. “They were all tied up correctly. We stripped them of all their sails, we double-tied them.”
Daniel Kaplan and Kevin Rodriguez, who had worked as Shake-a-Leg counselors, started a GoFundMe page to help cover costs beyond what insurance may provide.
“Due to the catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Irma, Shake-a-Leg Miami’s ability to serve the community as it has for the past 25 years is in jeopardy. Weekend and after-school programs that were slated to begin this week have now been canceled indefinitely,” the page says.
As of Sunday morning, the fund-raising campaign had brought in more than $21,000 toward a $50,000 goal.
The organization is well-regarded for its work with children and veterans. Shake-a-Leg sponsors boating events like ISAF Sailing World Cup, which brings together top Olympic and Paralympic sailors; the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta; Community Abilities Bay Day; and summer camps.
“These are kids who have lived a rough life; many are disabled. It gives them pure joy and happiness,” Kaplan told CBS4.
“Mother Nature really knocked us down, but there’s really a lot of power on the getting out on the water and rebuilding,” Horgan said.