ROCKPORT, Texas - Crews are still working to pull boats out of the water two months after Hurricane Harvey pummeled Aransas County and 28 boats sank in three different harbors.
It's a grueling, precise and lengthy process, locals say.
"We're still in the recovery process, especially when it comes to these sunken vessels," said Keith Barrett, Aransas County harbormaster.
Harvey's wind and rain destroyed boat storage buildings and sank 28 boats in the Cove, Rockport, and Fulton harbors.
Barrett said his crews first rushed to clean spilled oil or contaminants flowing from the boats.
"We boomed off those areas that had any sign of spill. We used absorbent pads and other products to lift that out of the water," he said.
Barrett pointed to a boat being pulled from the water at Cove Harbor in Rockport. It was surrounded by an orange boom that kept any contaminants trapped so they could be cleaned before they spread.
"We're working on a sunken vessel, but as you can see, there's no sign of any sheen or spills or anything else," Barrett said, pointing to the water.
He noted that contamination is always kept in mind as cranes and tugboats work together to hoist the boats up and pump them out.
All the boats that have been recovered are now at a staging area at the Cove Harbor, where owners and insurance adjusters can assess them. Some are fishing boats, some are for recreation and they're of all shapes and sizes.
"A lot of them, I hate to say, are going to be totally destroyed," Barrett said.
Still, crews from the Aransas County Navigation District, the U.S. Coast Guard and Texas General Land Office will continue working every day to recover and restore sunken boats and spirits.
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