Sandy By The Numbers

By Beth Leonard

Superstorm Sandy combined the punch of a hurricane with the longevity and size of a nor'easter. This "perfect storm" came ashore south of Atlantic City, New Jersey, at 8 p.m. on October 29 packing storm-force winds from North Carolina to Maine. But the bigger punch came from the storm surge that inundated low-lying areas in Long Island, New York City, Staten Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The surge lifted entire marinas off their pilings, toppled sailboats off their jackstands, floated powerboats off their trailers, even carried off boats with trailers still strapped to them. BoatUS estimates that some 65,000 boats may have been damaged, and that total boat losses industry-wide may exceed $650 million, making the late-October storm the single-largest industry loss since BoatUS began keeping track in 1966. The following estimates are from BoatUS at press time (December 2012). Sandy delivered claims equal to 6 months of normal volume in a single day. 

Costliest Hurricanes


(in billions)*
Diameter (miles)**Top Winds (mph)***
*2012 dollars   **Of tropical storm-force winds at landfall  ***Sustained at landfall


Sustained Winds At Landfall: 50-60 mph
Peak Gusts: 85 mph (Madison, CT)
Highest Rainfall: 1.43 inches (Willimantic, CT)
Highest Storm Surge: 9.2 feet (New Haven, CT)
Total Power Outages: 600,000
Boats Damaged: 2,500
Boating Losses: $23 million
Marinas Seriously Damaged: 20-25

New York

Sustained Winds At Landfall: 60-80 mph
Peak Gusts: 94 mph (Eatons Neck, NY)
Highest Rainfall: 4.83 inches (Whitesville, NY)
Highest Storm Surge: 12.7 feet (Kings Point, NY)
Total Power Outages: : 2.2 million
Boats Damaged: 32,000
Boating Losses: $324 million
Marinas Seriously Damaged: 300-400

New Jersey

Sustained Winds At Landfall: 60-80 mph
Peak Gusts: 88 mph (Montclair, NJ)
Highest Rainfall: 11.67 inches (Wildwood Crest, NJ)
Highest Storm Surge: 8.1 feet (Sandy Hook, NJ)
Total Power Outages: 2.8 million
Boats Damaged: 25,000
Boating Losses: $242 million
Marinas Seriously Damaged: 80-120

Superstorm Sandy Deadly Storm Surge Chart

Overall Storm Power At Landfall

The most powerful storms are not necessarily the windiest. The energy in Sandy was equivalent to the power used by 41,400 U.S. homes in one month.

Superstorm Sandy Storm Power Chart 1. Energy of storm based on extent of tropical storm-force winds
2. One terajoule = 277,777 kWh = energy used by 296 U.S. homes in one month

BoatUS Responds: The First 25 Days

Oct. 29Landfall at 8 p.m. EST
Oct. 30Storm rages along East Coast; BoatUS Catastrophe Team (CAT Team) mobilized
Oct. 31CAT Teams sent into the field
Nov. 1BoatUS increases staff at headquarters handling claims by 35 percent
Nov. 2Atlantic Highlands City Council ratifies plan recommended by CAT Team to salvage municipal facility's 425-plus boats
Nov. 315 CAT Team surveyors and salvors in the field with more being deployed every day
Nov. 5The first claims are closed and settlement checks begin to be mailed out
Nov. 7Total number of BoatUS personnel dedicated to storm response exceeds 100
Nov. 9First contact letter sent out to every insured reporting a claim, salvage complete on 66 percent of existing claims
Nov. 1040 CAT Team surveyors and salvors in the field working across 400 miles of coastline
Nov. 14BoatUS estimates 65,000 boats damaged or destroyed and total boat losses of $650 million
Nov. 18CAT Team surveyors gain access to the last of the Barrier Island areas devastated by the storm
Nov. 19All 425-plus vessels at Atlantic Highlands Marina re-blocked and ready for damage assessments
Nov. 22(Thanksgiving) CAT Team's first day off since landfall
Nov. 23CAT Teams back up and running at full speed

— Published: February/March 2013

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