ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Coastal areas are usually the hardest hit when a hurricane strikes. However, early reports from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) indicate that Hurricane Irene struck inland lake and river regions in New York and New England particularly hard, including the Hudson and Mohawk River Valleys, Lake George, N.Y., Lake Champlain, N.Y., and Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H., as well as Cape Cod, Mass.
The nation’s largest boat owner’s group estimates the total damage to recreational boats from South Carolina to Maine could total up to $500 million. This early estimate applies to boats only; this figure does not include any boating infrastructure.
The last hurricane to strike the U.S., Hurricane Ike in 2008, was estimated to cause $200 million in damage to recreational boats. Boaters who hauled vessels ashore in anticipation of the storm were largely spared damage.
“We only have five minor claims for boats that were damaged while stored ashore,” said Senior Vice President of Marine Insurance Claims Division Carroll Robertson. “The majority of claims we are now seeing are from those who kept their vessels on moorings, which either broke free or were sunk by waves and rains,” she added.
Many inland areas traditionally haven’t experienced hurricanes, so some may have been caught off-guard by the ferocity of the wind, waves and flooding. BoatUS received reports that boaters, marinas and boat clubs did take significant measures in the days leading up to Irene’s arrival, coordinating storm preparations, and believes local marinas and marine businesses deserve large credit for their efforts in mitigating further damage.