Civil/Structural Engineering, Vashon, Washington, USA 206-463-5311
Ellisport Engineering Blog
Hurricane Sandy

While inspecting a home in Manahawkin, New Jersey, I noticed many fascinating things. Imagine two pictures: The first is from 2010, and shows the area well before Hurricane Sandy.  Note the constructed land, the two-lane road down the middle with homes on either side, and the canals on the backside of the homes.  Also note that most people own a boat, docked behind their home.


Now imagine the “after” picture, taken in early November, 2012.  When I visited the home in Manahawkin, I was struck by how, on most of the streets, many people had boats in their front yards, blocked up on cider blocks and wood cribbing (this shows clearly in the picture below).  This struck me as odd, because I knew that flooding had occurred in the neighborhoods.  Did people have enough time to pull their boats out and store them in their yards before the hurricane?  And if they did, why hadn’t the boats floated away during the flooding? 


I finally asked the son-in-law of a homeowner, why did people put their boats in their front yards?  He replied, “Steve, those aren’t their boats!”  During the hurricane and flooding, boats broke free and floated everywhere, randomly landing wherever when the surge receded.  Many landed in the roads, effectively closing the roads to traffic.  Some of these boats were over 30’ long.  The first step in clearing the roads was moving the boats.  Kindly, the workers carefully lifted the boats and blocked them up, leaving them in the front yards near where they landed.  There was nowhere else to put them.  And I’m guessing it becomes a “Where’s Waldo” moment to find your boat.  Good markings and registration numbers probably make it easier to track down the owners.

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