New York’s lesson from Hurricane Sandy: Get more boats.
It might sound counterintuitive, given the massive damage done to boats — BoatUS estimates $650 million — but a report says law enforcement and rescuers in New York need bigger boats with outboard engines to increase maneuverability.
The Associated Press reported that 59 recommendations from deputy mayors Linda Gibbs and Cas Holloway seek to improve on the response to Sandy, which left 43 New Yorkers dead and forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes last October.
Many of the recommendations call for complex plans, but one of the most specific items is the call for getting police the right kind of small boat to navigate flooded streets, the AP reported.
"NYPD patrol commands used flat-bottomed jonboats to conduct many rescues; because these boats do not have motors and require manual rowing or towing, they limit mobility and maneuverability in swift currents," the report noted. "Because these boats are metal, officers had to use extreme caution to avoid downed power lines."
Instead, patrol police should have been issued the same inflatable craft that specialized police and fire department units use.
These "have outboard motors that can operate with only 18 inches of draft and are made of... galvanized rubber that is easily decontaminated and patched.
Inflatable boats are generally more maneuverable than jonboats, fold up for storage on a vehicle and can be easily deployed," the report said.