Shipyards Filled With Damaged Boats; Dealers Seeing Record Sales

Storm damaged boats are keeping a Gautier shipyard full as they come in for repairs. There are about 40 boats at a time arriving at the shipyard. They were either damaged in the hurricane or have been damaged by debris in the water.

One shrimper told WLOX News he recently got four holes in his boat, lost 900 gallons of fuel and 34 boxes of shrimp. It happened about two weeks ago when he hit something while trawling between Biloxi and Ocean Springs.

"I'm the only one sunk that I know of. There's other fellas there that's hit things with their skimmers and broke 'em off, and there's other fellas that worked right around in the neighborhood where I was at and tore two or three trawls up, and all that's costing us money," Glen Montiforte said.

Montiforte says he plans to put his boat back in the water Monday.

With all that debris in the water, you may be surprised to hear that recreational boat sales are up in South Mississippi. One of the coast's largest boat dealers says sales have been "phenomenal" in the past few months.

Keith King says his Ocean Marine dealerships in St. Martin and Gulfport have been setting sales records since the hurricane. He expects the sales boom will continue through the summer.

"It's not really replacement boats yet. I think there's been some of that, obviously. I just think there's a lot of new business out there. And with everything else going on on the coast, with the economic incentives and grant money, we look for a lot more in the near future."

King says June is typically the busiest month for boat sales. He expects his dealership will finish this month with another record sales mark.