Filed Under:Agent Broker, Coverage Issues

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recreational boat losses estimated at $655 million

Boats damaged by Hurricane Harvey are are washed up on shore Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Port Lavaca, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Boats damaged by Hurricane Harvey are are washed up on shore Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Port Lavaca, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

This story is reprinted with permission from FC&&S Legal, the industry’s only comprehensive digital resource designed for insurance coverage law professionals. Visit the website to subscribe.

More than 63,000 recreational boats were damaged or destroyed as a result of both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, with a combined dollar damage estimate for the boats of $655 million, according to the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS).

Sandy remains single largest boat loss event

BoatUS said that this was “strikingly close” to 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, which remains the single largest industry loss with more than 65,000 boats damaged and more than $650 million in estimated losses.

Related: Hurricane Irma's top 5 property losses

BoatUS said that Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 50,000 vessels with approximately $500 million in recreational boat damage; about 13,500 boats were damaged or lost costing $155 million in boat damage as the result of Hurricane Harvey.

“These two storms were as different as night and day,” said Rick Wilson, vice president of claims of BoatUS’s marine insurance program. “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.”

'Could have been worse'

The BoatUS catastrophe team recently completed two months of field operations arranging for repairs, salvage, or wreck removals for BoatUS marine insurance program members and GEICO marine insurance customers.

“While Hurricane Irma’s losses are significant, it could have been much worse,” added Wilson. “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.”

Related: Top 10 states for boat and other watercraft accidents & thefts

Victoria Prussen Spears, Esq., ( is associate director of FC&S Legal, editor of the Insurance Coverage Law Report, and senior vice president at Meyerowitz Communications Inc.

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