Hurricanes Harvey and Irma damaged more than 63,000 recreational boats in the U.S, which amounted to a combined $655 million, according to the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS).
The amount nearly surpassed the damages to boats during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, when the boating industry suffered more than $650 million in damages to more than 65,000 boats. BoatUS said that Irma damaged more boats than Harvey.
Irma’s collective damages to vessels reached an estimated $500 million, which covered 50,000 recreational boats. Harvey’s destruction comprised roughly 13,500 vessels that cost $155 million in damages.
Rick Wilson, vice president of claims of BoatUS’s marine insurance program, said that the difference lies in the scope of damages in Texas and Florida. Harvey’s damages to boats in the former were only located on a small part of the coast, while Irma ravaged boats “in every corner of” the latter state, according to Wilson. Some owners of damaged boats in Florida have decided to sell their vessels and buy new ones along with accessories and equipment, including custom boat covers.
Despite the damages to recreational boats, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) said that sales of luxury yachts in Florida posted a new record through August. Sales and registration numbers for new measuring 33 feet or higher rose 2.7% on a rolling 12-month, year-over-year basis.
The data led the NMMA to describe 2017 as likely the best year for the luxury yacht market. The southern part of Florida remains the most popular destination for boating, due to its “superior weather and exceptional fishing” environment, according to NMMA President Thom Dammrich.
The damages to several boats caused by the recent hurricanes have a silver lining. It means that many businesses and suppliers could see an upswing in sales, as people seek to replace their sunken or destroyed vessels.