Boat recovery gets more complex with Sandy damage

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Although boat owners are always responsible for recovering their vessels from the property of others, it gets more complicated if the vessel has inflicted damage, as many did during Hurricane Sandy.

There seems to be much confusion surrounding the topic because it’s not usually a problem, but BoatUS spokesman Scott Croft told The Daily Record in New Jersey that the removal of a boat is always the owner’s responsibility.

Eric Stenson, a spokesman for the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., which does not provide watercraft coverage, said the answer varies. If the boat is in someone else’s yard and hasn’t touched the house, it’s the sole responsibility of the boat owner.

It gets more complicated if a boat hits a home. If it is brought into a house by Sandy’s storm surge, it’s excluded from homeowners’ insurance policies. They must have flood coverage to receive money to help mitigate the cost.

If it’s brought into the home by wind, the homeowner’s policy does apply. Either way, he recommends contacting the boat owner, whose insurance policy could provide assistance.

Croft also said property owners should try to contact the vessel’s owner. Boat owners with insurance should contact their agents to figure out a removal plan to avoid inflicting damage to private property.

Property owners typically can track down the owner of a boat by finding the identification number on the hull and contacting the state Motor Vehicle Commission or by going to the Coast Guard's website at http://cgmix.uscg.mil/PSIX/PSIXSearch.aspx.

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