Sandy’s Aftermath

We all know about superstorm Sandy.  We’ve seen the pictures.  We’ve heard the stories.  A lot of us have probably felt the effect and are STILL feeling the effects of the devastation.  It will take years and billions of dollars to restore all that was lost in her aftermath, and even then, some things will never be the same.  As a boater though, what does that mean for us?

Well there is always the obvious hundreds of thousands of boats that were damaged and destroyed by high winds, flooding, rain, looting, and lack of adequate preparation.  If your boat was tied down really well, it may be been flooded.  If it wasn’t tied down well, then it probably ended up on top of another boat.  If it was dry-docked, the building probably crashed down on it.  If it survived the storm, it was probably a victim of theft.  There’s no shortage to the stories we’ve heard about the loss people have experienced.

Then there is the insurance headache and surge of boat sales.  When you were finally able to get to or find your boat, you had to deal with the insurance companies and claims.  Take photos.  Document what was on the boat.  Provide evidence of what is missing off the boat.  Work with already overwhelmed and exhausted agents who are trying to get homes for people before replacing your “toy.”  If you were lucky enough to have everything handy and get it in early, you may be holding on to a nice chunk of change and contemplating a new boat purchase.  Which brings us to our next set of issues.

A huge increase in the resale of salvaged boats!  Many people are fixing up the boats and trying to resell without documenting the boats damage.  A little bit of fiberglass and some good cleaning agents and the boat is looking better than new.  However, underneath everything, the stress cracks grow bigger, the mold continues to build and the integrity of the boat continues to slip away.  How do you know if the boat is worth what it’s being sold for?  How do you know it’s safe?  How do you know it hasn’t been flooded?

And if you get past all of those hurdles, what will you do differently with your boat this time?  Will you store it in the water?  Will you dry dock it again?  If you are going to dry dock it, where?  Many of the marinas and storage areas have been destroyed and they have made the decision NOT to rebuild.  If they are rebuilding, it’ll be a while before they are ready for more boats.

And lastly, where did all of the debris go from the storm?  Oh that’s right- into our waterways.  Is it even safe to boat in the area right now?  Have they been able to clean up the oceans/lakes floors?  What submerged item will you hit?  What contamination is in the water that could cause harm to your family if you are swimming or fishing?

Typically following a storm like this, boat sales increase significantly as people whose boats survived the storm try to sell and people who have insurance checks try to upgrade.   The remainder of this year might be an extraordinary time to buy a new boat because there will be a surplus of them on the market.  And just because a boat has been swamped or considered a salvage does not mean the boat should be not be considered.  These days repairs can make a boat better than new!  Now is definitely the time to buy a used boat.  You’ll get a much larger boat, or better manufacturer than if you tried to buy a new boat.  Just make sure you are taking every precaution to ensure that the boat you are looking at is safe for your family and friends.  Do the research.  Ask questions about the history.  Run a Boat History Report on it.  Get a NAMS certified surveyor to inspect it and inform them that the boat may have been a storm victim.  As long as you’re smart about your purchase, you could end up with the deal of the year on the gem of the sea!

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