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In front of me were the remnants of piers 10, 11 and 12 — piles of torn-up docks, half-sunken sailboats and bent-over masts.
The gutted first-floor office of Lone Star Yacht Sales, a Bertram and Azimut dealership, was behind me. Three days on siteThe scene summed up the type and extent of devastation Ike had inflicted on scores of marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs in southeast Texas. Lovell says many dealers could be reached only by cell phone — like Bob Johnson, owner of Reynolds Marine in Baytown, Texas, a dealer for NauticStar bay boats and Evinrude and Yamaha outboards.
Insurance should pay for most of the repairs, says Johnson, who intends to spend some of his own money to improve the business.
I asked Roy how she goes about telling boat owners their vessels failed to survive the storm. Surrounded by splintered docks and holed boats at Watergate, it was hard for me to believe any boat or marina escaped unscathed. Open for businessDavid Foulkrod had read my reports from Texas on the Trade Only Today Web site in September, including the description of the destruction at Watergate Yachting Center.
The 45 slips Foulkrod leases from Waterford Harbor Marina are fine and so are the 42 boats in them, says Foulkrod, who pointed out that Ship and Sail is a dealer for Carver and Cruisers powerboats and Hunter and Jeanneau sailboats. Flattened flybridgesAcross Galveston Bay, about 40 miles southeast, the docks, pilings and covered slips at the Galveston Yacht Basin also fared relatively well, according to general manager Eddie Barr.
The storm surge lifted boats and pinned them to the aluminum roofs that cover the lion’s share of the slips, flattening flybridges, crushing T-tops, and snapping antennas.


One such boater is Paul Wood, 62, the owner of a 65-foot McGregor, which looked as though it were parallel-parked against the seawall at the mouth of the basin. A crane had just lifted a 36-foot Pearson off the muddy bottom, and now pumps were belching out the water inside the vessel. Electrical wires, a mangled air-conditioning duct and pink insulation drooped from the ceiling.
The surveyors told me they must weed out the fly-by-night salvors — those with cranes too small for the job or equipment that is not readily available. Ike completely destroyed 430 of 1,147 slips at Watergate, according to the center’s leasing agent, Sherrie Roy.
When the water receded, the boats came down, many on top of one another or plopped onto concrete walkway piers. Required fields are marked *Comment Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
The national death toll from the storm had reached 72 in early October, with 37 of those fatalities occurring in Texas.
However, of the 38 marinas in the Galveston and Clear Lake area, at least half received substantial damage that will keep them out of business for several months — if not longer.
Galveston Bay and Clear Lake marinas hold about 10,000 boats, which is the highest concentration of recreational craft in the state, he says. The wind tore the walls from the frame of the 40-foot by 40-foot shop in which his technicians rig and repair outboards. The Hurricane Ike squad consisted of 11 surveyors, many of whom have worked in this capacity for more than 20 years.


The tags are essentially no-trespassing signs that identify the vessel as being insured with BoatU.S.
An estimated 4,000 people were rescued after the storm, but 400 people were still missing as of Oct.
By comparison, Hurricane Katrina resulted in $650 million to $750 million in boat damage, and 1992’s Hurricane Andrew caused $500 million. Dealers lose, tooBoat and engine dealers are suffering, too, says Ken Lovell, executive director of the Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston. Insurance has received several hundred damage claims in Texas, and another 100 or so in 15 additional states.
Ike pushed the other shed onto its side, crushing a trawler and an express fishing vessel forced from their berths.
At each location, I scribbled down descriptions of what I saw, sought out interviews with owners of banged-up boats and snapped about 250 photos. More than a million people evacuated the Texas coast and, for a time, 2 million Texans were without power.
The 1989 sailing vessel would have sunk if it hadn’t been pushed onto the dock below the sea wall.
He remained optimistic, pointing out that the McGregor’s rigging was still in good shape and the rest of the damage was cosmetic.



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