Hurricane Sandy Sped Up Time for Jack's Boathouse

The threat of Hurricane Sandy forced Jack's Boathouse to cram a lot of work into a small window of time.

Jack’s Boathouse decided to call it a season and close Oct. 27 due to the threat of Hurricane Sandy. The boathouse crew crammed two weeks worth of closing preparations into two days.

Jack’s canoe, kayak and paddle board rental owner, Paul Simkin, said Sandy “forced our hand” to do a lot of work in a small amount of time.

Even though they took precautions, the boathouse experienced damages with a projected cost of $25,000. Still, Simkin said the boathouse fared fairly well through the storm.

“I have seen worse,” said Simkin. “We did better than we thought we were going to do.”

The boathouse did not close much earlier than normal, as it usually closes during the week of Halloween when the Potomac’s daily temperatures are constantly reading below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the boathouse usually has the beginning of November to "put up shop," which includes bringing boats and boards ashore and pulling their 160-foot dock 1.5 miles down the Potomac with a motorboat to the Columbia Island Marina near the Pentagon.

Simkin said the boathouse crew normally waits until the week of Thanksgiving to bring the dock to its winter storage place in the marina, but the threat of flooding from Hurricane Sandy’s rains prompted the crew to move the dock last week. 

All 300 boats and 30 paddle boards had to be brought ashore before the storm hit. Simkin said rental equipment, as well as privately owned equipment that customers pay to have stored at the boathouse, was moved farther uphill than normal, in precaution of flooding. He noted that boats overflowed into the parking lot.

Simkin was pleased with the amount of help he received from boathouse workers who were working other jobs when he needed help preparing for the storm.

“Everybody knew what needed to be done,” he said.

Jack’s Boathouse expects to open around Tax Day, which is April 15. Visitors can look forward to 100 additional kayaks and a doubling of paddle board inventory, making 60 boards.

“We are really moving forward with our stand up paddle boards,” said Simkin.


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