Marina Management through a Natural Disaster Case Study

Hurricane Sandy

The Preparation

Hurricane Sandy

During the week of October 22, 2012 notice was given that there was a high likelihood that the New Jersey Shore could be in the direct path of a large developing storm. The storm had the potential for strong onshore winds and a 6-10 foot storm surge. Intercoastal began the process of preparing our managed marinas for what proved to be a devastating storm for our area. During the week prior to the storm we began the process of preparing our physical structures for high winds and potentially high water. As time progressed and the path of the storm was narrowed we understood that this storm was certainly going to impact our area in a major way.

We also understood that our physical structures needed to be secured early because once the path of the storm was clear our attention needed to shift to customers' boats. The preparation included purging fuel lines and empting tanks, checking equipment and performing any necessary and precautionary maintenance, removing pedestals, removing gangways and securing floating docks, preordering any material needed for cleanup, preordering any material for haul/blocking, moving all inventory to higher ground, securing backup data offsite, developing list for haul outs in order of priority and constantly communicating with customers and ownership on progress.

Hatteras GT 60' - Hauled at 2am
Hatteras GT 60' – Hauled at 2am

The Haul Out

With the impact of the storm 3 days away, customers finally began to make arrangements to have boats hauled and secured for the storm. With this short time frame we knew the process would take a full team effort to be successful. The list of hauls continued to expand and many of the large sportfish boats in the area were looking for help. We had (10) 60+ft boats, (15) 50+ boats and many boats in the 40-50 ft. range.

Logistics and timing and a very important part of the hauling process and a clear, properly managed schedule proved very important. Not only did boats in the water need to be hauled but boats in low lying areas needed to be moved to higher ground or removed from site.

Of course, priority is given to existing slipholders and winter storage customers. With many of the marinas in our area overwhelmed and unorganized the flow of boats continued until our capacity was full. It is difficult to know when you are at capacity based on reservations but an important part of this process was turning people away and not over promising. In the end we hauled or transported 70+ boats in a 36 hour timeframe. This may not seem like a large amount of boats but the size of the boats plays a huge role in this process.

The Result

Hurricane Sandy

The areas of Northern Ocean County and Southern Monmouth County were devastated by the Storm. Infrastructure was severely damaged and the damage to waterfront communities in our area is well chronicled. Through a combination of proper planning and good fortune the damage in our marinas was limited to physical structures including the office and shop.

Customers who entrusted us with their boats were, for the most part, rewarded with little or no damage. With the estimated $50 million worth of boats in our yard, we had less than $50,000 worth of damage in total.

We were fortunate to have limited damage and continue to be the only marina that is fully functioning in our area. Two days after the storm we were launching boats and returning customers to their slips. The marina sustained a substantial amount of water and wind damage to the buildings and docks but our priority, customers boats, were returned unharmed.


Lessons Learned

  • Storm Planning is Important part of Marina Management
  • Have list of priority projects for pre storm lockdown of facility
  • Have employees aware of schedule changes
  • Make schedule for post storm cleanup and relaunch
  • Secure equipment and tools in place where they can be used and accessed post storm
  • Have excess gas and diesel on site in safe storage in case inaccessible post storm
  • Prepare facility for extended period without power – have backup power for phones, computers and freezers and fuel pumps
  • Contact and schedule subcontractors and vendors such as, fuel service/delivery, equipment repair, electricians and plumbers for immediate inspection post storm.
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