NEW YORK - The New York Boat Show faced the additional task of opening slightly more than two months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the tri-state area.
"It affected our setting up the show because we weren't getting calls and commitments from exhibitors," show manager Jonathan Pritko said. “And we had to be very sensitive about calling and pushing the vendors, given what everybody’s been through.”
The late October storm caused an estimated $50 billion in damage in the Northeast and the Great Lakes, damaging more than 65,000 recreational boats, according to BoatUS, which estimates the dollar damage to recreational boats at $650 million.
The New York show draws vendors from the epicenter of the storm damage and numerous dealers spoke with pride about their crews’ performance in the face of adversity.
“Our showroom was under four feet of water,” said Gregg Miraglia, a sales consultant with MarineMax in Brick, N.J. “We lost the whole showroom and had to gut everything.”
Two days after Sandy, the full-service dealership was fully operational, with the sales department moving to the building’s second floor and the parts and service departments up and running.
The silver lining, dealers say, is that boat owners in the vicinity of “The City That Never Sleeps” are making quick work of their insurance claim checks and are already inquiring — and in some cases, pulling the trigger — on replacing their lost vessel.
“We’re getting calls already with people saying, ‘I lost my boat, I know what I’m getting for my [insurance] check, and I’m looking to replace it with something a little newer or a little bigger,’ ” Miraglia said.
Broker Matthew Begovich, owner of Global One Yacht Sales, said he has already sold “five or six” of his brokerage boats to “hardcore guys” who “didn’t even want to wait through winter” to replace their insurance write-off vessels.
Paul Aversano, a yacht specialist with Staten Island Yacht Sales, says his sales, brokerage and marina weathered the storm (under generator power for days) and is handling calls from both boat owners looking to replace their damaged vessel and owners looking to slip space for the 2013 season since marina damage on the island was overwhelming.
“We’re working with several owners while they work with their insurance companies, but we also have a list of 50 displaced boaters looking for slips,” Aversano said.
— Rich Armstrong