Park Commission: Irene swamped more than 100 boats on Lake George

Published online: Sep 05, 2011 News Don Lehman
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The waves that swamped five boats at Boats by George Marina on Lake George were bad enough.

But even the boats that owner George Pensel had on land Sunday during Tropical Storm Irene couldn't escape its wrath. Six were damaged by falling trees, he said.

"It's just a big mess," Pensel said.

The Cleverdale and Assembly Point areas of Lake George in North Queensbury were among the hardest hit in the region, with high winds not just felling trees but also swamping boats and tearing out docks.

The Lake George Park Commission has estimated that 100 or so boats sank or were swamped by water on Lake George during Sunday's tropical storm.

Michael White, executive director of the Lake George Park Commission, said the commission's staff counted 40 boats down, but, based on anecdotal reports from marinas, they believe at least 100 were knocked out by the storm.

Among them was a boat that broke free from its mooring in Pilot Knob and made it an estimated eight miles south to Million Dollar Beach. It was damaged but salvageable, White said.

The environmental impact on the lake from the submerged boats did not seem major. White said he believed all of the affected boats had been removed from the water as of Friday.

"It's impossible to assess the volume of gasoline that comes out, but we haven't gotten any reports of a sheen," White said.

In some cases, simply pumping out swamped boats was all that was needed to get them afloat again.

Damage was seen up and down the lake, as high winds whipped the water into a frenzy and lake levels rose quickly from nearly 5 inches of rain over about 12 hours.

At Gilchrist Marina in Lake George, owner Ken Graven said he had one pontoon boat swamped, but the winds tore out about 200 feet of dock. He said the business was repaired and open as of Friday.

Boats by George's lakeside location was also open, but Pensel said he was awaiting word from his insurance company on repairs for damaged boats.

The boat owners who were able to get their boats onto boat lifts before the storm made out all right, but in some cases the docks were ripped out around the lifts, Pensel said.

"There were a lot of high-value boats that sustained tremendous damage," he said.



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