Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Debbie and its peak winds of 263
kilometers per hour made landfall on March 28 in Australia’s Queensland state, and
boats weren’t immune to the destruction left in its wake.
published by local news outlets show boats at Airlie Beach’s nearby Abell
Point Marina and Shute Harbour, which serves as the gateway to the Whitsunday
Islands, and Hamilton Island sunken, washed ashore after breaking from moorings,
or otherwise damaged. While reports are yet to be confirmed, an estimated 10
boats out of 500 were badly damaged at Abell Point, 47 boats were lost at Shute
Harbour, and 8 to 10 boats were damaged at Hamilton Island.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox told a
local news source that at Shute Harbour, “thirty vessels were blown up on
the rocks and pontoons were damaged,” while The
Australian reports that piers were destroyed and pushed onto the bank in
the same location.
General Manager Luke McCaul states in the marina’s press release that the storm
is the biggest ever to have affected the Whitsunday region, but that the marina
should have full access again by the start of the cruising season.
According to the release, the marina has already begun
repairing and assessing damage: “Pontoon fingers in the north marina have
cracked, as a result of the destructive winds and huge swells at the high tide.
Crews are out throughout the marina
further securing vessels and chaining pontoons where possible to prevent
further movement until the weather abates. The full extent of the damage is at this
moment unknown and it will take some time for the entire marina and all
infrastructure to be assessed. The sheer size and force of the system resulted
in damage of some marina infrastructure and basic services (power, water,
But the boats weren’t
the cyclone’s only victims — according to The Weather Channel, parts of the Great Barrier Reef may also
have been damaged by the pounding surf.
The extent of
damages to the coral, boats, and marinas is still yet to be determined.
[Photo: Cyclone Debbie Facebook page]