Crews From Tow Boat U.S. In Process Of Arduous Task Of Locating Debris

BARNEGAT BAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Months after Hurricane Sandy, there are still hundreds of boats and homes in New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay that were thrown in by the storm.

Crews have set a target of Memorial Day weekend to get them all out, but, as with so much of life after Sandy, it’s not an easy task.

Since Sandy, crews and divers from Tow Boat U.S. have been in the waters of New Jersey searching for boats, cars and homes the massive storm tossed into the bay. On an exclusive tour Thursday, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan saw the amount of wreckage in the water.

“Just a lot of debris, exceptionally a lot of debris. Parts of houses floating around,” Capt. Bob Poskay said, describing what he’s seen.

Sloan saw a house still in the water, with the second floor sticking up. It floated all the way up from Mantoloking.

Diver Mike Sonta has been in the bay, locating homes and boats. State officials said there are about 1,400 vessels, 58 homes and eight cars still in Barnegat Bay. All have to pulled out by this summer because they pose a threat to anyone in the water.

“Everything you can imagine on land is in the water,” Sonta said.

Sloan saw the monitor divers use to look for anything dangerous that may be in the water. She saw a murky, underwater shot of what’s on the first floor of house. One object appeared to look like a heater or radiator.

“There’s a boat under the deck … porch … it could be a catamaran or kayak, I can’t actually tell,” Sonta said.

Tow Boat U.S. owner Tom Hurst has been working with the New Jersey State Police and the Coast Guard, and has already pulled 400 boats out of these waters, including an 18-foot Boston Whaler.

“It was still attached to the trailer and the trailer punched a hole right through the bottom of the boat,” Hurst said.

Much of the company’s work has been on a volunteer basis finding boats on marshes. Crews can only tow boats, or pull out part of homes, if the job has been cleared with owners and their insurance companies. Usually, a crane is required for the job.

As for one home, crews said it will more than likely have to be broken into pieces and then taken out.

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