Thousands Turn Out to Bid on Katrina-Damaged Boats

Many boats docked in South Mississippi before the storm were tossed out of the water, landing in trees, on roads, even on top of cemeteries. Of the boats that actually stayed in the water, many sank. But, hundreds of the boats that weathered the storm were salvageable--at least to the highest bidder at a boat auction Saturday.

"Everything that we sell here is as is, which is just what it means. Every boat here had some sort of casualty, whether it's glass damage, it's been sunk, wet, or otherwise," said Ron Milardo of Cooper Capital Specialty and Salvage.

But that didn't stop thousands of people from from checking out and making bids on more than 300 Katrina-battered boats and ships.

"A lot of these boats, some have worse damage than others, but I think they're mostly selling for what they're worth," said Biloxian Mark Wells.

The avid fisherman and seasoned boater, got a little help from his son and fishing partner--9-year-old Cash Wells. A few boats caught Cash's eye.

"This one over here, it has like, it's really big, and when you walk out, there's three bedrooms and three bathrooms, and all kinds of stuff," Cash said.

Pass Christian resident Bill Mahony had a boat on the auction block, but that didn't stop him from shopping around for another one.

Not even overcast weather or a $500 deposit could keep people from coming out to the auction.

"I'm equally surprised at the number of people here," Milardo said. "It seems there are a lot of local people here. We do have people here from Australia. It reaches quite far."

As for Mark and Cash Wells, they were glad they had a little quality time together and a chance to talk about one of their favorite past times.

Durham Auctions worked with Cooper Capital Specialty and Salvage to put on the auction.