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Despite Surviving Irma, Boat Captains in Florida Keys Fear They Won’t Make It If Tourism Slows

Surviving Hurricane Irma and starting to rebuild is just the beginning as boat captains in the Florida Keys fear what will happen if tourism drops off, which is likely. If captains aren’t able to charter due to damage and lack of customers, things will likely only get worse.

ISLAMORADA, Fla. — John Gargan took one look at the damage left by Hurricane Irma around Whale Harbor Marina and came to a simple conclusion.

“We’re out of business ’til Christmas,” said Gargan, 67, who captains a 22-foot charter fishing boat called Couple-A-Bucks from the marina on this island in the Florida Keys.

The island chain took a devastating hit from Irma, which made landfall on Cudjoe Key as a Category 4 with 130 mph winds. But residents throughout the Keys worry that the long-term economic impact will be even more painful than the short-term cleanup.

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