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St. Augustine boaters prepare ahead of weekend storms

Some boaters had to make the choice to get off the water as storms rolled through Northeast Florida.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Dinghys filled the St. Augustine Municipal Marina Saturday night ahead of storms rolling into the area.

Boaters have brought their ships in either to the marina or they've dropped anchor in the Matanzas River to wait out this storm.

For some boaters, taking this detour was a no-brainer for their safety.

"You can't be scared to be living on a boat," said James Wilhoite after mooring his boat. "I've been doing it for four and a half years now, and it's not made for anyone that fears too easy."

Wilhoite says he's had to anchor through his fair share of hurricanes and tropical storms on his boat in those four and half years.

But with company along for this voyage, and the fact they've had some rough weather at times since they set sail from the Carolinas in December, he decided to play it safe with stormy weather rolling through.

"Being a captain of my own sailboat, my own vessel, I'm responsible for her life," said Wilhoite.

Wilhoite decided to pay for a mooring spot in St. Augustine instead of just anchoring in the Matanzas River because he says it's safer.

Money is tight for Wilhoite, but he got creative to find a way to pay for it.

"We didn't even have enough money for a mooring spot," said Wilhoite. "I sold my Megalodon shark tooth to one of the other boaters here. That's what got us the money to make sure our boat was safe."

The peace of mind of being moored is worth the price, and Wilhoite is confident it won't take too long to replace that tooth in his collection.

"I'll find another one," said Wilhoite. "I dive. Just like the one in my ear, I found that, and we make jewelry, stuff like that."

Wilhoite is playing it safe, but he hopes it doesn't take too long to wait out the storm because he has plans to head down to Daytona for the Daytona 500 where he wants to work the race.

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