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Taking care of the boat after Hurricane Sandy

by D. Scott Croft on 1 Nov 2012
Boat owners need to start their recovery efforts as soon as possible, but keep safety in mind, says BoatUS MTA Photos
It's barely a day since she wreaked havoc on the New Jersey coast with all her fury, and early reports indicate that Hurricane Sandy has caused significant damage to marinas, boat yards, boat clubs and boating infrastructure. The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) Catastrophe Response Team, which handles the recovery operations for BoatUS marine insurance customers and is often tasked to coordinate salvage operations at local marinas, has been mobilized.

With likely hundreds of damaged, beached, or sunk boats awaiting recovery by their owners across several states, BoatUS has these tips to get the salvage process started quickly to protect and preserve the value of any boat caught in Sandy's tempest:

1. If your boat has washed ashore, remove as much equipment as possible to a safe place to protect it from looters or vandals. It's a good idea to put your contact information somewhere conspicuously on the boat - along with a 'No Trespassing' sign. However, never climb in or on boats that have piled up together or dangling precariously from dock pilings or other obstructions.

2. Protect the boat from further water damage resulting from exposure to the weather. This could include covering with a tarp or boarding-up broken windows or hatches. As soon as possible, start drying the boat out, either by taking advantage of sunny weather or using electric air handlers. All wet materials such as cushions must be removed and saved for a potential insurance claim. The storm may be gone, but the clock could be ticking on mold growth.

3. Any engines and other machinery that has been submerged or has gotten wet should be 'pickled' by flushing with fresh water and then filling with diesel fuel or kerosene. To learn how to pickle a boat motor, click here.

4. If your boat is sunk or must be moved by a salvage company, it is not recommended that you sign any salvage or wreck removal contract without first getting approval from your insurance company.

All BoatUS insurance customers have assistance available with post-storm recovery and are urged to call the BoatUS Claims at (800) 937-1937 as soon as practical. BoatUS website
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