Boating industry damage reports trickle in

LAKE CHARLES, La. – Though the damage to the boating community resulting from Hurricane Rita was much more concentrated than that of Hurricane Katrina, where it did occur, it was often severe.

Lake Charles, for example, is being described as a “boating graveyard,” with dozens of wrecked watercraft piled up in various areas along the shore. KPLC-TV recently reported on its Web site that the Lake Charles Yacht Club was “severely damaged.” A member told the TV station that while the club has been reduced to a pile of “twisted rubble,” it will continue to go forward, fulfilling its mission of promoting sailing.

In an interview earlier this week, Sea Tow President Capt. Keith Cummings said the company was planning to set up a base of operations in Lake Charles as part of its boat recovery mission.

In the end, Cummings said he expected about 15 Sea Tow employees to be dedicated to the Hurricane Rita recovery effort, compared to its team of 50-60 people working in response to Hurricane Katrina.

Cummings characterized the damage from Rita as comparable to that of Hurricane Dennis and estimated that Sea Tow would handle 100 to 200 boat insurance claims as a result, compared to the thousands the company expects to handle as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

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