Storm Damages Boats, Sends One Into Duluth Harbor

DULUTH, Minn.- The raging water of Lake Superior knows no bounds. It doesn’t recognize that the dock is where boats are to be kept, safe and secure.

The bobbing stern of a boat reads “Wild Water.”┬áThat boat lived up to its name, rocking back and forth violently with its peers at the pier by Lakehead Boat Basin.

The dock fights to keep the boats at bay, the lines straining.

“Probably at least 10 that had some kind of damage to them,” said Joel Johnson, owner of Lakehead Boat Basin, Inc. “Never have seen this this high since 1959, since I’ve been here.”

“It’s just an act of God, I don’t know what to do.”

Johnson and his crew spent the whole day corralling the boats, trying to prevent any further damage.

But, as always in events like this, there’s one that got away.

Alvin Berg, owner of the Flame nightclubs, had his boat swept away by the lake. The Coast Guard searching over 2 hours for it.

“I thought: this is crazy,” Berg said. “I never in my mind thought that this would ever happen to a boat, to my boat.”

Thankfully, they located the boat, still intact.

“I was relieved that they’d found the boat, and that it did not sink.”

But finding it and securing it are two hugely different tasks.

The latter, harder for Berg. He recently had surgery removing one of the joints in his foot. It rests in a boot, not able to withstand much activity.

Yet the crisis was averted, thanks to some helping hands.

“I so much appreciate all the folks from this terminal here, and Harbor Coal that helped out.”

They used their own rope–wrangling the boat, tying it up, and placing tires against the concrete wall of the terminal. This way, the violent water can shove the boat into the wall with minimal damage.

Berg said while it’s hard to assess the damage now, he was more concerned with it leaking oil and gas into the lake.

Meanwhile, problems washed ashore as well.

On Minnesota Ave. between Lakehead and the Fairfield Inn, water a few feet deep flooded the street, the tires of cars almost fully submerged.

The staff at Lakehead said that the flooding occurs because there’s no storm drain on Minnesota Ave., so the water has to soak into the ground on its own.

Alvin Berg’s boat remains tied up at the terminal behind Garfield Ave., and he will investigate the damage once it is safe to board.

One thing’s for sure, Mother Nature is not happy about something.

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