Prep or play? Boaters have to choose as Alberto moves closer

Prep or play? Boaters have to choose as Alberto moves closer
Some boats have left the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, others are preparing to ride out the storm if if comes this way.

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Sub-tropical Storm Alberto is on its way. But the calm before the storm has given boat owners and people time to both prepare and enjoy some recreational time before the Memorial Day weekend gets cut short.

So far, there are no mandatory evacuations at the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, but Bill Dabney of Oxford is headed out.

"It's just not worth it to us," he said. "Children, wife. No need in scaring anybody. Including myself."

Those are the priorities. But there is something else to consider.

"Part of the insurance package we have for the boat states that we are clearly out of harm's way should a named storm should approach," Dabney said. "And, we're heeding their warning."

Boat operator Tim Chapin has already evacuated one large boat from the harbor.

"It's one of those close calls," he said. "A lot of times, we really prefer to move. It's the safest thing. Because you don't have to worry about it if you move."

But a 32-foot Carver will remain for the ride - and not really by choice. So, he and the owner are doing everything they can to secure it.

"In our case, it's a big issue to move a boat because at this point, we don't really have a location to move it to."

In the meantime, recreational boaters and others on land are just enjoying a beautiful day before the storm could hit South Mississippi.

"We know the storm's coming and we were trying to get out and get a day of fun before it comes," said boater Kimberly Gomez.

And she knows the potential danger.

"We actually thought it would kind of die down," she said. "But we're kind of worried about it now, so we're starting to head home to make preparations at home."

Joshua Peterson said he didn't even know the storm was coming.

"I ain't a meteorologist. I'm a fisherman," Peterson said. "Every day they say it's going to rain, and it don't. So, I ain't sitting at the house waiting on it."

Getting as much out of the Memorial Day weekend as possible is the message from folks at Jones Park.

"I promised my little niece I would bring her, and we saw this great water park here," said Gloria Osby of Meridian. "It's a great way for the community to come together. … And we're here just to have a great time before the storm comes."

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