My Sandy Story

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rondds, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    Hi All...
    Still no power at home so I've been off the radar since the storm. Working on this from the office. I have an interesting dilemma that some may benefit from so here it comes.

    My boat was blocked, winterized and covered by October 13. As Sandy approached, the question was to put the plug back in the boat (it's customary around here to leave it out in the winter) just in case of a tidal surge. Since the marina has never in 50 years had any surge capable of floating the blocked boats, most of us left the plug out. BAD DECISION. Our area of NJ was hit particularly hard by the tidal surge. The barrier island had a new inlet blown through it and the tide at the marina rose probably 8' in a sudden tsunami like wave sometime after midnight on the morning of Tuesday Oct 30.

    Below is a photo taken around 6pm on Monday October 29th. Looking good. I'm the tall boat with the grey cover to the far right...

    Take note of the slip structure and the water level here b/c it becomes relevant soon.

    Fast forward to Wednesday during the day. I don't have the pictures here but the tide is covering the land by 2-3 feet. My boat and several others floated as far as the bow pilings of the slips to the right of where she sat and settled on the catwalks of those slips. When the tide dropped to normal level, she broke through the catwalks and came to rest on the bottom, in about 3' of water (yes, shallow at the marina).






    And there she sits even as of this writing. Day 11. Untouched.

    Why? You ask? How could I leave my boat here? Am I insane? Let me explain....

    The marina went on to do a wonderful clean up of all the boats that came to rest on dry land. They were picked up and reblocked very neatly by the end of last week - most with yard equipment (Travellift and hydraulic trailers). The larger boats needed a crane to tip them up to get the slings under them and some waited patiently for the big crane (75 ton) to come and reposition them with it's sling and spreader bars.

    While all this is going on I begged the marina to let me put the plug in my boat and pump her out. From pretty much day 2 I asked and was told that no one is allowed in, it's unsafe, blah blah. I continued to ask, I asked the marina do to it, I said I'd sign a waiver, I'd go for a swim. I posed the idea to float all the "sunk" boats and pull 4 pilings to float them over to the travellift. NO. So there she sat, through the 2' tide rise with yesterday's Nor'easter, which put an additional 2' of water into the boat. NOTHING. My boat and 5 or 6 others sat where you see them through it all.

    You might say that they were pretty busy correcting all the other damage, which they were. But there were 2 days of zero activity at the marina b/c the big crane hadn't arrived yet. That was Sunday Nov 4 and and Monday Nov 5. I told them you need a diver and some gas powered crash pumps. These boats suffered no hull damage. They are unplugged. I was refused and told the big crane is on it's way. The big crane got there on Tues Nov 6 and got the big boats that were on DRY LAND and were in no peril all set up nicely and they worked til dusk to do it. But they left the 5 or 6 boats soaking up the sea.

    I don't really know protocol in situations like this. But it seems to me that it would behoove them to mitigate damages and remove the sunk boats first, or, in this case, make an effort to get them floating. There's probably 1000 gallons of gasoline in these boat (250 in mine alone), all waiting to break free as salt water ravages them. Apparently that is not priority.

    I hope that today or tomorrow they will get to my boat. God knows the damage they'll do getting it out of the pickle it's in but in all likelihood, she's a goner.

    I'm going to piece together some more pix as I can find them and continue to post as the saga continues to unfold.

    Another interesting point. Every boatowner that I know of who's boat stayed in the water suffered little damage. I KNOW there are exceptions in other areas of Barnegat Bay, but in this marina and it's surrounding area, no one I know of lost their boat if it was still floating and tied properly.

    A couple of points to ponder....
    1. Do you stay in or come out for storms
    2. Do you leave the drain plug in or out for storms?

    Rhetorical questions but debate and second guess as you see fit. I've wracked my mind for 11 days so there's nothing anyone can say that I haven't thought about!

    If I don't get back to this thread for a while it's b/c I don't have internet at home. I will be back though!
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
  2. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    Big crane in action. Many more pix---> click HERE...

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  3. Carver370

    Carver370 Active Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    New Buffalo Michigan
    1994 Carver 370 Motoryacht
    Twin Crusader 454 - 350 HP Each.
    Here's to hoping that everything is alright otherwise and your insurance makes you whole again! Terrible sight to see all these boats like this, if I were closer by people wouldn't be able to keep me away from helping anybody in need.
  4. jason78

    jason78 Active Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Sep 3, 2008
    Fort Mill, SC / Lake Wylie
    1997 20 Outrage
    200 Merc Offshore
    Rick, that is terrible. Thanks for sharing your story though. I hope everything works out for you. As far as the plug goes, I had a question rather than a comment. You said it is customary to leave the plug out when the boat is on land. I have heard others say this as well. Is there a particular reason it is usually left out? Just curious more than anything.Jason
  5. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    The thinking is to allow the boat to drain when it's hauled and then to prevent rain water from accumulating and freezing in the bilge. Boats have been know to sink on land but - my boat stays bone dry, as do all covered or shrink-wrapped boats, when blocked. I never really thought about it. It's just always been that way.
  6. spikeitaudi

    spikeitaudi Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Raritan Bay, NJ
    HAD 2006 240 Sundancer
    Merc 5.0L W/ Bravo III
    I leave mine out as well. Unlike you my boat was pushed off the blocks as it was on the hard winterized but didn't end up in the water. Once the storm surge was over which in my area I heard it was 18 ft above ground level my boat was resting with the 300 hundred or so other boats in my marina. The problem I have is I bet since I left the plug out that I bet the engine was completly submerged and water most likely entered the cabin.

    Keep taking pics and at this point I would let your insurance company handle it. It sucks big time I know but that is what Insurance it for. Lets hope we all don't get screwed.
  7. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    I sent pix and discussed the dilemma and my inability to do anything about it to my ins co. The adjuster seems to be understanding. Alvin, sorry about your boat. Hope it works out for you. I drive by Lawrence Harbor every day on the way to work and see what happened to Raritan Bay.
  8. GrandMaster

    GrandMaster New Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    1995 Sundancer 290
    Generator, AC
    Twin Mercruiser 4.3L
    My boat is kept at a marina on an inside rack +/- 15' in the air, and even they pull the plug on it everytime they put the boat back up. Hence the reason I don't usually let them pull the boat down till I'm there so I can make sure the plug goes back in before the boat hits the water.

    Never asked them what the logic was though.
  9. spikeitaudi

    spikeitaudi Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Raritan Bay, NJ
    HAD 2006 240 Sundancer
    Merc 5.0L W/ Bravo III
    I think the practice is just to let whatever water is in the bilge go out. Winter practice is usually due to in the possability that rain or snow water accumulates in the bilge it can get out and not accumulate as you don't have batts and a bilge pump working.

    Ron, I know how sucky it is but just be glad it's only a boat. I have a hard time looking at it that way as I almost feel like it is my 3rd child, but it's just a piece of property that can be replaced regardless. I hope you get power back soon. If not, you are more then welcome to come stay at my house if needed.

    Good luck to us all.
  10. CV-23

    CV-23 New Member

    Jun 25, 2010
    Williamsport, PA
    1990 270 Sundancer, 2003 Ford Excursion 4x4 Limited
    454 merCruiser w/Bravo 1
    I hope your boat is ok is one of my favorites on here. Hang in there and I hope you get power soon, Mike.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  11. Larry

    Larry Active Member

    Oct 19, 2006
    Oakland, NJ
    2004 42 Sundancer
    Hydraulic platform
    Cockpit air
    KVH M3
    450hp Cummins
    Ron, I wish you the best in this whole mess... Remember, this is what we pay insurance for!
  12. wish2fish

    wish2fish Active Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    Locust Creek, Ohio River mm 433
    2003 220BR
    5.0 MPI
    Sorry for your problem but does it matter if you had a 2 more feet of water? I'm guessing the boat was at different angles during the storm and water could have been just about anywhere in your boat. I would hope the insurance company makes it all better.
  13. J Levine

    J Levine New Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    New Jersey
    1995 Sea Ray 370 Sundancer
    Mercruiser 7.4L Blue Water inboard V Drives
    This is my 370 in the slings of the crane that was blocked up about 100 feet from Ron. This picture pretty much sums up the nightmare that this storm has been for many of us up here. My boat has Mantoloking, NJ on the transom as my inlaws have a home there, if you want to see a real mess just google Mantoloking, NJ. I am going to get the first chance to inspect the boat tomorrow, my hopes are pretty low that I dont have a major claim if not a total out situation on my hands. As I have told Ron many times over the past 10 days: THIS SUCKS.
  14. Quint4

    Quint4 Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    S.W. Ohio
    330 Sport Bridge
    5.7 MPI 350 Merc Bluewaters
    Ron (and others),
    I wish you the best. Your boat was also one of my faves as it reminded of my Father in Law's 340DB (...that gave me the boating bug in the 1980's).

    Keep us posted.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  15. Woody

    Woody Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    I'm wondering if the crane should be using spreader bars on these boats. Best wishes to you guys, I hope things go in which ever way is best for you at this point.
  16. dicor

    dicor New Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    boat Barnegat Bay, NJ (hopefully) - live Bucks Cty
    270 DA 1998
    7.4 Merc w/Bravo III Drive
    I was readying m boat the Saturday before Sandy hit. Mine was already pulled and on blocks before Sandy was born and I have to tell you I was in a quandary as to what to do, 50% of the people there told me to have them put my boat back in, the other 50% said leave it out. If it was just wind you're better off high and dry instead of tied up and being banged around. Of course too much rain makes the ground soggy and unstable 100 mph winds can blow you boat off too. If you're up on blocks with the plug out the rain will drain out and not submerge your engine, if the storm surge comes and tries to float your boat and your plug is out your boat should take in enough water and add weight to it to keep it from gaining buoyancy, of course more than 6 inches or so you're probably going to be buoyant anyhow. I actually had the thought of tying the boat to a tree 10 ft. in front of my boat to keep it from floating off. As it turned out our Marina had minimal damage which I consider being nothing short of a miracle. I guess what i'm say here is if you don't have a crystal ball you will never know for sure what the best course of action is until the next day.
  17. Alex F

    Alex F Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.

    I'm very sorry to hear about all this. If there's anything I can do to help, please don't hesitate. I'm only a phone call away.

    In regards to the two questions:

    1. Do you stay in or come out for storms - I don't have a great deal of experience and survived only two major storms (Irene and Sandy). My basic logic to this is that the minute I put my boat on hard I loose 100% of control to my boat. As in your case, the place will be locked down and until marina management gets their act together and then finally will allow you to get to what's left from your boat you then are left only with recovery phase. Another and very big reason I don't like to stay on hard is that the way marinas in our area block the boats for a storm is no way different from regular winter storage blocking. This leaves me very little comfort level.

    During Irene I made the decision to stay on board and ride it, thinking that after all my prep work my biggest issue is the line adjustment during the surge. Even though I admit that it might have been not the smartest decision it worked out just fine and the boat had zero damages.

    Knowing some predictions that Sandy will most likely hit harder than Irene I moved the boat to a more protected slip, did all my usual prep work and knowing that this time I won't be able to stay with the boat (for number of reasons) the biggest puzzle was to adjust the lines properly. I've used all the lines and fenders I had. I must have readjusted the lines 4 different times (thinking is it too loose or too tight? is it better to have some gel coat damage from robbing against the piling vs. ripping the cleats off?...etc..) until I felt comfortable. In the end it worked out fine. However, have we got an extra 3-5' of water most likely she'd be floating in the pile of other boats with ripped lines and cleats. So, in the end I personally feel more comfortable riding the storm in the water. Now if we are expecting a storm that will make Sandy look like a walk in the park I think my approach will be totally different.

    2. Do you leave the drain plug in or out for storms? - I agree that this is what we're accustom to do here for the reasons mentioned above. I was no exception and took the plug out on every boat during the winter while they were resting on hard. However, my 420DB doesn't have a plug. So, this takes care of the puzzle. All I do (and I did this with my other boats as well) to prevent from snow/rain water to enter the bilge and freeze later in the colder months, I pour about 1-2 gallons of pink to make sure the pumps get activated and run pink through the hoses and check valves. Then the remaining amount of pink is left in the bilge. If any water accumulates in there it will mostly be pink or at least a decent mixture preventing a complete freeze.

    As to the question whether what we did before was right or wrong. IMO, we did what we thought was right based on the experience and historical data. Sandy have thought many of us a huge lesson and I'm sure that we'll see many changes to come. Possibly the bilge plug will be one of them. The way my logic works is, it's a lot easier to handle accumulation of rain water in the bilge vs. possibility of a storm like Sandy sinking a boat.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  18. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    Thanks for the well wishes and encouragement. Definitely only property and compared to what so many people are going through now, my issues are nothing. Alvin, that's very nice of you to offer - we're doing fine with the generator. Maybe I'll come over to watch your tv.

    The day before the storm I was lamenting being so buttoned up. If I were due to come out that day, I'd have probably stayed. Grappled with that before the storm so it's not 20/20 hindsight. Also toyed with the idea of going back in but there was just so much to undo.

    This was my rationalization for leaving it out.

    Another thing to second guess... my plan, if I put the plug back in, was to tie the struts to pilings...problem here is that when that dock was re-bulkheaded, they didn't put in any aft pilings. There are crappy galvanized cleats on the 8x8 that holds the face of the bulkhead in. I didn't even have anything to tie my bbq to so I tied off to a power-tower. If I had been able to tie off on something, the boat would have stayed pretty much in her place and been placed gently back on the dock when the waters receded.

  19. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Should the boat be in or out of the water?
    Should the plug be in or out?

    Boat IN or Out?

    There is no right answer because every storm is different and every location is different. Some of the variables are:

    the strength of the storm
    the length of time over open water
    the temperature of the water over which the storm travels
    the distance it travels before landfall
    the angle at which the storm hits the coast
    the amount of predicted surge
    the barometric pressure
    is landfall at high or low tide?
    Does your slip offer protection?
    How high are your pilings?
    How wide is thew slip?
    is the area in which you will block up a hauled boat high enough to offer any protection?

    There just is no right answer until about 3 days before the storm hits.

    Plug in or Out?

    Is there any doubt ?


    Based solely on the photos you posted in this or a different thread, I think you were lucky to have gotten thru this storm with no damage. that opinion is based primarily on the height of the pilings of your slip and on this storm. They were barely enough to hold your boat during Sandy, which was a large, but fairly weak hurricane. Had it been a Cat 2 storm or greater and had you gotten any more of a surge, your boat would have ridden over the pilings and the wave action could have easily caused the pilings to punch thru the rub rail joint, which is a common occurrence during a storm. Your pilings are too short to allow you to adjust the lines adequately in a larger surge.

    For that same reason, staying on a boat to ride out a storm isn't a smart move. You were lucky that the storm was weak. What if there were a larger surge? What if the boat broke free? What if the boat were holed on one of those short pilings?

    As I said, I don't think there can be a general this is best approach since every storm is different.

    However, I am a little dismayed at the lack of ability you folks in the north seem to have before, during and after a storm passes to access your boats. I guess this is a little like closing the gate after the dog gets out, but if your marina controls access that tightly, they damned sure need to have a firm and executable hurricane plan for caring for the boats under their supervision. If you do decide to ride out a storm in the water, then who is going to tend the lines up as the surge rises and then down as it recedes? You can't do it if you are denied access. If the marina isn't going to do it then you need access to prepare for the storm. Locking the gate and crying "Act of God!, Act of God"! is not a workable hurricane plan.
  20. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome

    The marina made it clear that they were leaving the gate open as of Monday evening, in case power failed. The didn't go into prison-camp lockdown mode until the day after the storm. I was there twice in the first 3 days after the storm ended and I was made to feel privileged to even set foot inside the gate. Forget about getting within 300 yards of mine or any other boat.

    A few years back I was off from work and went to check on the boat during a nor'easter. A couple of friends asked me to check on theirs and adjust the lines as needed. For some reason that day I stopped into the office and mentioned in passing to the owner that I fixed some lines for friends and she gave me a mild tongue lashing - you shouldn't do that, you could be liable. That may be true, but I think that answers your question about if they will assume any responsibility for caring for your boat during a storm. They will wash their hands of everything like Pontius Pilate. It's all about lawyers and insurance companies.

    I still fix lines for friends if they are unable to do it themselves.

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