New York marina owners face insurance-coverage shortfall

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Marina owners in New York who had reduced coverage to save money in the downturn are going to be hard-pressed to repair their docks by the spring.

Storm-ravaged areas might experience a big dock shortage in the spring as a result of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. That’s according to New York Marine Trades Association director Chris Squeri, who told Soundings Trade Only that many marina owners had high deductibles on their docks.

“Some guys didn’t have dock coverage,” Squeri told Trade Only. “That’s something that’s definitely out there.”

“The problem is, especially in this economic climate, some were looking to save money, so they were saying, ‘We don’t need this and we might not need that,’ ” Squeri said. “I can’t give you examples because I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but there are people out there who have reduced coverage because of the economic climate.”

The destruction was so deep in some areas that boat removal is happening by crane because there is no way to get other equipment into the locations, Squeri said. Five days after Sandy struck, only one boat had been lifted from the water because the destruction was so deep that people were focused on home repair, power and water.

“There’s a ton of bulkhead work to be done,” Squeri said. “There’s a lot of dock work to be done. The question is, who’s going to do it? How are they going to do it? Some of these guys have a $10,000 deductible.”

Squeri said he still spots random boats on people’s lawns, but the area is moving on as best it can.

A friend saw some workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency at lunch and asked, “What’s the difference between Sandy and other national disasters?”

“Without hesitation, they said, ‘New Yorkers aren’t waiting for someone to come rescue them,’ ” Squeri said. “My village, which got hammered, it’s still not normal, but we’re starting to get bits of normalcy back.”

— Reagan Haynes


One comment on “New York marina owners face insurance-coverage shortfall

  1. Duncan McIntosh

    Nearly two and a half years after Katrina hit New Orleans, a group of media types (myself included) were invited to the Big Easy for a product intro by an electronics manufacturer. It was really cold by Gulf Coast standards making it sometime between December and February. Katrina hit during August of 2005. It never occurred to any of us after such a lapse of time so many big boats would still be strewn about the landscape helter-skelter style or completely underwater –but that’s exactly what we experienced. In a big marina on the eastside of the city were 15 or so boats lying on their sides on cement, a sight I’ve never experienced – some were still encroaching into public roads while others occupied the area’s main parking lot. In the marina were another dozen or so bigger sailboats, still in their slips, but now sitting on the bottom with only shrouds and masts visible to mark their spot for those navigating in and out of the harbor. I’ve only seen one sailboat sitting on the bottom still in its slip with just shrouds and mast still showing. That was at a boat show in Alameda, CA.

    How could so many perfectly good vessels sit rotting in the harbor more than two years after meeting their demise in the city’s storm of the century? A hint came during the drive from the city to the marina. Literally, hundreds of homes still sat empty in one housing tract after another. The sight was overwhelming, Government and FEMA had been ever so slow to respond. It was as though no one knew what to do after they turned one of the sports domes into a shelter and shipped as many people as far away as they could.

    What some of us came to speculate was that with no much suffering from so many, how could anyone trying to deal with such hardship attempt to devote any resource to saving an underwater marina or a bunch of rich people who found themselves suddenly separated from their yachts. It would have been bad PR for all of them. If you had no insurance to cover such an occurrence you were most like not going to get your boat back. If you couldn’t muster the resources to save your boat, whether with air bags, a crane, barges or a rich uncle, the chance of getting your boat back was suddenly somewhere between slim and none.

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