|State Warns Of Danger Of Buying
AZBW NEWS SERVICE — The
Arizona Game and Fish Department is warning consumers
about hurricane-damaged boats and personal watercraft in
the nation’s used-watercraft market.
"Thousands of boats were damaged this past hurricane
season, so it is important that consumers thoroughly
inspect each vehicle and it s title," said Arizona’s
Boating Law Administrator Kevin Bergersen. "Be patient
when you’re buying used watercraft. Carefully checking
out the watercraft can eliminate problems later."
The department warns that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
resulted in thousands of watercraft experiencing flood
damage, and some individuals are attempting to sell them
to unsuspecting buyers.
The department said that the National Insurance Crime
Bureau has compiled a database of watercraft affected by
the hurricanes. The information in the database came
from insurance companies, salvage yards, and state and
local authorities. Additional watercraft affected by the
hurricanes may not yet be included in the database.
The NICB has established a Web site,
nicb.org, which allows buyers to check
Hull Identification Numbers free of charge to help
determine whether a specific watercraft may have been
involved in either hurricane. Flood damage can result in
severe hull damage, electrical, engine and numerous
other problems that may not be immediately noticeable.
The Boat Owners Association of the United States
estimated that damage to recreational vessels as a
result of Hurricane Katrina ranges from $650 to $750
million. Of that amount, only about half, or $300 to
$400 million in damage, was covered by insurance.
Although there is no foolproof way to detect flood
damage, the department offers the following tips for
● check for mold or a musty odor,
● examine the interior and engine compartment for
water, grit, mud, rust,
stains or color fading;
● look for rust on screws in areas not typically
exposed to water and
watch for corrosion in the electrical system,
● check all gauges on the dashboard to make sure they
are accurate and
look for signs of water damage. Turn on the ignition
key to make sure all
the warning lights and gauges work, and
● have any watercraft purchased from the affected
area thoroughly inspected
by a competent mechanic prior to purchase.