Byline: The Log Staff
NEW YORK — The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters, estimated on Nov. 14 that more 65,000 recreational boats were damaged or lost as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The total damage to recreational boats amounts to $650 million, the group reported, making the late-October storm the single-largest marine industry loss since BoatUS began keeping records in 1966.
“We are all reeling from the huge impact this storm has had on communities and people’s lives,” said Scott Croft of BoatUS public affairs. “We’ve never seen anything like it. The scope of the damage to boats is unprecedented, affecting large areas from the Atlantic seaboard as far inland as the Great Lakes, with the majority of damage in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
“The combination of boats stored ashore at low elevations and record high surge levels caused hundreds, if not thousands, of boats to float away into neighborhoods, parks and marshes,” Croft said. “The tri-state coastline left no place for the surge to go, but up. While some boats that stayed in the slips did fine, other boats tied to floating docks simply lifted off too-short pilings and floated away — still tied to the dock. Some vessels never made it out of their slip and rest on the bottom.”
The BoatUS Catastrophe Response Team reported that the marine community has rallied to gain the upper hand on the recovery process.
“If there is a story to tell, it’s about how the boating industry got together immediately after the storm to help each other out and get boats back in their place,” said BoatUS Catastrophe Team member Jack Hornor.
While some New Jersey barrier islands continue to restrict access, delaying boat recovery efforts, some marinas, boat clubs and yards have recovered their customers’ boats and put them back on blocks to undergo damage assessments. Many boating facilities — especially those on New Jersey’s coast, Staten Island and western Long Island — sustained significant damage to infrastructure, such as docks, workshops, clubhouses and equipment, which will likely have an impact on the 2013 boating season.
BoatUS estimated that more than 32,000 boats were damaged in New York, followed by New Jersey’s 25,000, Connecticut’s 2,500 and 6,000 remaining in various states. Dollar damage to recreational boats (only) in New York is estimated at $324 million, followed by $242 million in New Jersey and $23 million in Connecticut.
Previously, in the 2005 storm season, damage from Hurricane Wilma and Hurricane Katrina was estimated at more than $700 million, combined.