Will There Be a Boating Season This Year? [AUDIO]
New Jersey's waterways were trashed by Sandy. Winds and storm surges laced popular boating channels with boats, cars, backyard sheds and furniture belonging to local residents.
Debris Removal a Priority
Now workers have the massive job of clearing the state's waters of as much debris as possible before summer, so that a boating season can exist.
Larry Ragonese with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said the immediate goal is to remove debris from recreational boating channels.
"We're anticipating that a lot of these waters would be usable again," Ragonese said. "We're hoping that they could be fully open for recreational use by summer."
He noted some areas may be more difficult to clear than others, and they would eventually be cleared for restricted use. He said the Army Corps of Engineers has been working on the state's navigational channels.
About 1,400 marine vessels were tossed like rag dolls by the storm. Working with the Motor Vehicle Commission, State Police were able to identify a majority of them.
In Seaside Heights, at the Cranberry Inlet Marina, owner Steve Healey said he has already missed out on plenty of business over the past three months.
"We absolutely have no income on the marina right now," Healey said.
More than 20 boats left the property because of the bay surge. They were all recovered with minimal damage, but the property's buildings were left with four and a half feet of water.
"I think we'll be okay," he said. "If we have the weather, we'll make it until next year."
The marina already received a number of cancellations for the upcoming summer, but more than half of the marina's slips have been secured with deposits.