A boating advocacy group has estimated that over 63,000 recreational boats were damaged or destroyed as a result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) also projected that the combined boat-only damage is worth about $655 million.
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In a release, BoatUS said that the figures were “strikingly close” to losses suffered following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Sandy remains the single-largest industry loss with over 65,000 boats damaged and more than $650 million in estimated losses.
BoatUS noted that Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 50,000 vessels, causing approximately $500 million in recreational boat damage. In Hurricane Harvey’s case, about 13,500 boats were damaged or lost, costing $155 million.
“These two storms were as different as night and day,” BoatUS Marine Insurance Program vice-president of claims Rick Wilson said in a statement. “The boats that were hit the hardest by Harvey were located on a relatively small slice of Texas coast, while we saw damage to recreational vessels from Irma in every corner of Florida.”
“While Hurricane Irma’s losses are significant, it could have been much worse,” Wilson added. “Irma ultimately traveled up Florida’s West Coast and not the East, which was initially forecast. And while locations in the right front quadrant of the storm, such as Big Pine Key and Marathon, were hit hard with a Category 4 storm, Irma lost strength as it approached the mainland and swept up Florida. As the storm passed east of Tampa Bay, waters receded and came back gradually, also lessening surge damage.”
For two months after the hurricane events, BoatUS’ Catastrophe Team helped arrange for epairs, salvage or wreck removals for BoatUS Marine Insurance program members and GEICO Marine Insurance customers.
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