TITUSVILLE, Penn. - While Salvage Direct is still recovering boats damaged by Hurricane Katrina, it has begun to make a few of the approximately 1,500 boats it has fielded available to dealers through online auction, according to Al Tate, vice president of sales and customer development for Salvage Direct Inc.
The hurricane-damaged boats will begin to be available in greater numbers next month, when the salvage company will hold its buyer appreciation weekend, Tate explained in an interview today.
Unlike many of its competitors, the auctions at SalvageDirect.com are open to dealers exclusively.
“We don't sell to the public,” said Tate. “Dealers understand what they're buying when they purchase salvage.”
While dealers can only bid online - not at the site - they are allowed to set up an appointment to visit vessels they may be interested in purchasing. With that said, Salvage Direct has “spent a lot of time perfecting the accurate description process” used on its site, said Tate. Not only are there detailed photos available for each vessel, a complete narrative description is included.
Of the 1,500 boats on its list, about 850 have been recovered thus far, he stated. Tate expects the company to remain at its 30-acre site in Gulfport, where the recovered vessels are being stored prior to being sold, for at least the first half of 2006.
Recovering boats damaged by windy Wilma
Meanwhile, the company is in full boat recovery mode in South Florida, where it has fielded about 300 vessels so far following Hurricane Wilma.
Whereas many of the vessels damaged in Hurricane Katrina sunk, Wilma was more of “a wind event,” resulting in a wide range of damage, said Tate.
For the first time, the company has partnered with a local marina to store some of the recovered vessels, something it may look to do more of in the future, according to Tate.
“They have the resources. They have the equipment. It's a much more efficient process for us,” he said.
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