Blue Water Yacht Club located in Merrick, NY was almost completely wiped out by Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012. Almost all of the boat owners lost or sustained significant damage to their prized possessions. There were other adjacent marinas that sustained minimal damage and protected their customers vessels by attempting to block them higher to combat the impending storm surge. What did Blue Water Yacht Club do? Justin called all boat owners who were blocked in the yard that the marina was in "salvage mode" and have deployed their customers anchors and they recommend using a beach anchor to keep the boats in the yard through the tidal surge.
On October 31st we took a ride down to the marina to see how our boat fared in the storm. With utter disbelief every single boat in the marina was either sunk or in a pile at the back of the yard. There was only one boat left, it was a 48' Sea Ray that Blue Water Yacht Club lifted and blocked at least three feet higher than all other boats. I wonder how much that guy had to grease the marina to get that done? As all boat owners know marinas are not responsible for anything whatsoever. Was Blue Water Yacht Club negligent for not trying to put it's best effort forth to protect other vessels? It was just last year that we had to deal with Hurricane Irene. The marina did sustain serious loss and a few boats came off their blocks. Did the marina not learn?
After the dust settled customers now have to contend with insurance companies, adjusters who are extremely busy, find a fiberglass shop, and an engine mechanic. This is a carefully choreographed dance that we are all still dealing with. After carefully selecting a shop it was time to schedule the boat to be picked up and transported. The marina does not answer their phone so you must take time out of your schedule and speak with them in person. We spoke with Justin and explained our intentions to remove the boat and he stated "slow down we have a problem here".
The marina wants to charge all boat owners a "salvage fee". Blue Water Yacht Club had to pick up these boats and put them back on blocks. This required a crane rental for the day and was orchestrated by the marina who are not even licensed salvage experts. I was down there watching the operation and there was additional collateral damage as a result of the so called salvage. How much for this so called "salvage fee"? The marina is trying to bill it's customers $125-$150 per foot to recover the boats. It took them under 30 minutes to salvage mine. The marina is now holding all boats hostage until the fee is paid in full.
This is a very difficult situation for everyone. Some boat owners lost their homes too. There were approximately 50 boats piled up in the yard with an average length of 35 feet. That is $219,000- $263,000 in revenue in just two days. The marina is trying to turn this hurricane into a profit center and bleed it's members and their insurance companies. Sure, the insurance companies will pay the lions share of the fee, but we all know who ends up paying for this in the end.
Is this even legal? I don't know, but we all have to deal with it. We want our boats back and have to continue to deal with someone like Justin and an organization like Blue Water Yacht Club. I hope other boat owners will read this and we can all take our business to honest marinas. Best of luck to all with your continued recovery efforts and hoping for a great 2013 boating season.