What was apparently the last boat casualty in Connecticut from Hurricane Sandy was removed from a remote spot in Guilford, Conn., where the October 2012 storm stranded it.
Capt. Tom Kehlenbach, owner of Sea Tow Central Connecticut, believes the 34-foot Sea Ray, which was removed in mid-March, was the last stranded boat in the state.
“Over the 3-1/2 years since the storm, Sea Tow Central Connecticut and other salvage operators had removed all the other vessels stranded by the storm in Connecticut that Capt. Tom was aware of except this one, due to the fact that it was in an environmentally sensitive area,” spokeswoman Louisa Beckett said.
“The boat was stored on land at Brown’s Boatyard in Guilford and was washed away at the height of Superstorm Sandy, along with a half-dozen other boats,” Kehlenbach said in a statement.
“We recovered all of the other boats within several months of the storm; however, this vessel, which had ended up about a mile away from the boatyard, had no insurance and no one to take responsibility for it. So it sat for the last 3-1/2 years, abandoned in a land trust/preserve.”
The operation was captured on video by drone:
“If it was an easy job, someone would have removed it long ago, but this was a complicated recovery,” Kehlenbach said. “The property we had to traverse to remove the casualty had been in the same family for more than 100 years and there was great concern about damaging the wetlands.”
“Eventually, the state of Connecticut received a federal grant from NOAA to remove debris from sensitive wetlands, and this property fell under the auspices of the grant,” he said.
“Innovative Mosquito Management, a state wetlands restoration and remediation company, was awarded the grant. They removed tons and tons of small debris and then there was this hulk of boat, literally in the middle of nowhere. When they contacted the property owner he highly recommended Sea Tow Central Connecticut, since we had performed several other complicated recoveries in 2012 and 2013 from the preserve with success.”
The recovery process took three days, which included the Sea Tow salvage team setting up its equipment, pulling the Sea Ray overland to the water, refloating her, towing her back to Brown’s Boatyard and delivering Magic by trailer to her final resting place at Cherry Hill Recycling Center in North Branford, Conn.