Boats cause electrical repair delays in New York

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Some residents of Staten Island, N.Y., are still without power because several boats that were swept onto their road are still entangled in power lines.

Dom Trombetta told the Staten Island Advance that only one of the initial 10 boats on his road had been removed and the other nine remain entangled in trees and power lines.

He said police and firefighters have told him that Con Edison cannot do the repairs until the boats are removed. A member of the National Guard told Trombetta that soldiers cannot remove the boats until the fire department drains the fuel. In addition, many of the homes have been yellow-tagged for restricted use, which means they must be inspected before power is restored.

"The FEMA rep also stated that no one is sure who is responsible for moving the boats, as they are private property on a public roadway. While they are debating this issue we are still without power or heat," Helen Duchene told the paper.

Representatives of yacht clubs and marinas say they are doing their best to clear the area. Part of the problem is the sheer volume of damaged or destroyed boats, especially in Great Kills Harbor, which has at least seven marinas and yacht clubs.

Some suspect that boat owners are hesitant to move their vessels until they have been inspected by insurance adjusters, who are inundated with requests.

Tony Somma, who writes a fishing column for the Advance in addition to being a marine surveyor who inspects boats for insurance claims, said owners can move their boats or do anything necessary to safeguard them before the adjuster arrives.

Great Kills Yacht Club has recovered all of its members' boats and taken them off the streets, and all of the other yacht clubs and marinas are working diligently to do the same. The big holdup for some of the marinas and yacht clubs is a shortage of cranes to move the boats, Somma said.

"All the marinas and all the clubs in Great Kills Harbor are doing everything in their power to get things cleaned up as quickly as they can," David Barr, commodore of the Richmond County Yacht Club, told the paper. "Our first priority is people’s lives and homes."

Somma has some tips for boat owners: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to get in the claim loop and to clarify policies. In addition, he says, boat owners may do anything necessary to safeguard their boat, including moving it, before the adjuster arrives. Winterize the boat now, if possible; don't risk further damage by waiting for the adjuster.

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