STORM WIPES OUT RUMSON MARINA

The Oceanic Marina yard as it appeared early Tuesday, above, and on Saturday from the same spot. (Click to enlarge)

 By JOHN T. WARD

On Saturday, even as he braced for record flooding, Oceanic Marina owner Pete Pawlikowski thought he had the storm beat.

The Navesink River was sure to flood the store and office of his Rumson business, Pawlikowki told redbankgreen, and the level might even break the records.

But as for the fleet of 75 recreational vessels entrusted to him by customers – at worst, he said, he might lose one or two to Hurricane Sandy. But all were safely up on blocks, he said, crowded so tightly into his yard that a person could barely squeeze past them.

By Tuesday morning, they were gone. And even after 30 years of watching storms come and go, a stunned Pawlikowski could hardly begin to comprehend it, he said.

“It’s total destruction,” he said. “We don’t even know where to begin.”

A $3 million Viking, just three weeks old, lies half sunk off Middletown Tuesday after being sent adrift from the Oceanic Marina yard. (Click to enlarge)

Boats that had been stored out from were washed into the river, about a dozen logjammed against a buckled dock.

At least one was upside-down in the water.

A brand-new $3 million Viking vessel was visible perhaps a mile away, half-sunk on the Middletown side.

Others remained on land, slammed up against boats that had been stored on the north side of his property.

As of 7 a.m., Pawlikowski hadn’t yet begun to take stock, and had no idea if some of his boats were in Red Bank, or the Shrewsbury River, or who-knows-where.

“We have no idea how many, if any, are under there,” he said, nodding toward the river.

“It’s to the point where it’s surreal,” he said. “I never in my life imagined this could happen.”

“Thank god we’ve got insurance,” he said.