Boaters Prepare To Batten Down

Midday, the proverbial calm before the storm fills the harbor in Ocean Springs.

Only the occasional wind gust ruffles the seagull's feathers, as a late morning fishing trip ends.

"It was great! Caught a few fish," said a smiling Paul Woodson from Louisiana.

His fishing partner didn't know of the severe weather threat.

"No, I don't even know about the storm yet, to tell you the truth," said Dain Verner.

Woodson says that could mean preparing the boat to ride it out.

"If it's not going to be too bad, just make sure if it stays in the water that you've got the slack on your ropes and you're right for the tides and all. And the wind," he said.

The crew of the "Regina Ellen" pulled out for a quick trip to Gulfport. Before leaving the dock, we quizzed them about the weather.

"We're just going to wait and see what happens. Kind of batten it down this afternoon, maybe look at it in the morning," said shrimp fisherman Darren Lundy.

Many boat owners consider Ocean Springs harbor among the safest on the coast for riding out tropical storm threats. Its location, tucked away from front beach, provides an extra level of protection.

But a severe storm could cause many boat owners to evacuate for an even safer spot: like the industrial canal off Lorraine Cowan Road.

"If the weather gets fouled up, that's where we'll go," said longtime shrimper Bobby Wilson.

While he hopes this latest blow won't amount to much, Wilson is keeping his eye on the forecast.

"I don't think it will make much unless it stops. If it stops, we're going to have a problem. But outside of that, it's just going to be squally," he said.

Simply squally is something boat owners are confident they can ride out at the harbor.