More than 65,000 recreational boats were damaged or lost as a result of Superstorm Sandy, according to BoatUS.
The insurance and advocacy association also estimates that Sandy-related damages to recreational boats total $650 million, making the late October storm the single largest 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,” BoatUS spokesperson Scott Croft said. “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.”
Croft said 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.
“The tri-state coastline left no place for the surge to go but up,” he said. “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.”
A video of the BoatUS Catastrophe response team on the ground in New York and New Jersey can be seen here.
BoatUS estimates that more than 32,000 boats were damaged in New York, 25,000 in New Jersey, 2,500 Connecticut and 6,000 in various other states. Damages to recreational boats are estimated at $324 million in New York, followed by $242 million in New Jersey and $23 million in Connecticut.
Many boating facilities, especially those on New Jersey’s coast, Staten Island and western Long Island, sustained significant damage to infrastructure including docks, workshops, clubhouses and equipment.
Post-storm boat recovery efforts are being impacted by snow, BoatUS says, and there is concern that storm-damaged vessels might not be able to be winterized before colder weather sets in.
While access to some New Jersey islands is still restricted, delaying boat recovery efforts, some marinas, boat clubs and yards have recovered boats and put them on blocks to assess damages.
The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program will be investigating hurricane damage prevention measures taken by boaters and possible new solutions, but early indications suggest that boats tied to protected floating docks with tall pilings had the best chance of surviving Sandy.
“However, you can’t base a hurricane preparation plan on one storm,” said BoatUS Director of Technical Services Bob Adriance.
“While storm surge was the biggest factor here, wind and rain can be major factors in the next one. Hindsight is only good if you look at the bigger picture.”