Boats damaged by hurricanes up for auction

MANDEVILLE, La. – As insurance companies begin paying boat owners’ claims on vessels damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the boats are being put up for auction – and in some cases, being bought up by boat dealers.

Such is the case in Mandeville, La., where more than 200 damaged boats were being bid on this weekend, according to on an article today in The Times-Picayune.

Among those bidding was Clayton Mareno, owner of Bluefin Boat Storage and Locks in Venice. His business appears to be among those damaged by the hurricanes, as the marine industry firm was recently awarded a $72,200 disaster recovery loan by the Small Business Administration.

Mareno, whose son is a welder with experience working with fiberglass, submitted bids on at least four vessels and told the newspaper the auction offered “several good deals.”

But he warned that “It’s like buying a cat in a sack. You don’t know what you’re getting.”

Even Will Gassen of National Liquidators, the firm auctioning off the boats, told the newspaper that buyers should beware. The boats ranged from a 15-foot bonefishing flat to a 55-foot yacht, and Gassen estimated that all of them would be sold in about two months.

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