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Lessons all boat owners can learn from Hurricane Sandy

by BoatUS/Sail-World Cruising on 13 Feb 2013
Hurricane Sandy damage SW
The recent Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast of North America in October and caused the single-largest recreational boating industry loss ever recorded - $650 million in damage to boats alone, has, like many dark clouds, a silver lining. The lessons learned have culminated in a Boat US series of Webinars (March 5, 12, 26) on the cause and prevention of hurricane damage. But perhaps Australian marinas and boat-owners can benefit too.

The only problem is that we'll have to get up early in the morning to join in. America's Association of Marina Industries (AMI) and the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) are teaming up to offer the series of three online webinars on March 5, 12 and 26, 2013 at 2:00pm EST (6.00am 6, 13 and 27 March East Coast Australia) for all who are interested in learning about how to secure boats to avoid damage in future storms.

The boat damage was not all. Not included in that figure of $650 million were the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to marinas, boat yards and yacht clubs. Boats that didn't stay put in Sandy's exceptional storm surge caused damage to other boats, marina infrastructure, and private and public property.

'When boats get loose in a storm like Sandy, it creates problems both within and beyond your marina's property line,' said BoatUS Technical Services Director Beth Leonard. 'It is a double whammy: your boating facility is devastated and the surrounding community's recovery is impacted as well, so keeping boats in place is essential to limiting damage. Our goal is to give boating facility operators the information that can help them make informed decisions about planning for the next big storm, with an eye towards reducing damage to their own infrastructure, their neighborhood, and their customers' boats.'

The first in the series, 'Sandy Overview: What We've Learned,' (March 5), will look at what made Hurricane Sandy so destructive and the types of damage it caused to boats and to marinas, and share some survival stories. It will also try to answer the question: Was hauling boats, as BoatUS has long advocated, the right answer this time?

The March 12 webinar, 'Securing Boats on Land,' will focus on the challenges of securing boats inside storage structures as well as outside on the hard, and discuss some potential solutions and best practices.

The March 26 webinar, 'Securing Boats in the Water,' will look at the challenges presented by moorings and by various dock structures such as fixed or floating docks, and also look at solutions and best practices.

Much of the information included in the webinars comes from the industry-leading BoatUS Catastrophe (CAT) Team, which has over three decades of storm salvage and claims experience, and faced its biggest challenge ever with Hurricane Sandy. The team, which hit the ground running just one day after the storm made landfall, was the largest ever assembled in the Association's history and worked in seven states recovering hundreds of boats.

The cost to attend is $10 per webinar for members of AMI or BoatUS, and, for non-members, $25 for one webinar, $40 for two and $60 for all three. NY and NJ facilities are invited to attend for free, compliments of AMI and BoatUS, but they must still register. Any proceeds after costs will be donated to the NJ Recovery and Relief Fund to aid recreational marine businesses damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

Online registration begins Monday, Feb. 18. Go to http://marinaassociation.org/training/online-webinars, or, for more information, call (866) 367-6622 or visit MarinaAssociation.org.

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