By Cherri Gregg
SOUTH JERSEY (CBS) — Pleasure boat owners along the East Coast are still picking up the pieces following Hurricane Sandy, a storm that industry analysts say was the single largest disaster for recreational boats on record.
“We’ve never seen anything like this,” says Scott Croft, spokesman for Boat US, the nation’s largest association of boat owners.
Croft says the group estimates that 65,000 boats were damaged by Sandy, ranging from minor scrapes to the hulls or topsides of boats already out of the water, to more serious damage to those vessels still in the water in areas hit hardest by the storm.
“From Staten Island, spreading south to Jersey, and then over east to New York, we see heavy damage,” he told KYW Newsradio today. “We see boats sunk and flipped. We see boats with catastrophic losses, where the damage is so great — from structural damage to the boat sinking — that the boat is a total loss.”
Croft says only about half of all boat owners have insurance. And for those that do, he adds, many still have to pay out of pocket to salvage vessels that were found miles from a marina.
He says total damage is estimated to be around $650 million to recreational boats alone.
“We’ve been tracking hurricane damage since we started insuring boats in 1966, and Sandy will be the single largest industry losss since then,” says Croft.