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Boat Insurance and Rocky Waters

Before a storm hits, you can take a few steps to prepare your boat and keep it safe. Storms can have a devastating effect on boats moored in a harbor, so as a boat owner you need to have some type of storm readiness planning, ensuring that you have the types of equipment you may need to prepare your boat for a storm, and to allay any concerns you may have about mooring locations, marinas, boat insurance and more.

Months after Superstorm Sandy made landfall on the East Coast last year, countless boat owners in the region are still feeling her effects. According to BoatUS, the nation’s largest group for recreational boat owners, damage from Sandy may have created the largest boating insurance loss in U.S. history. And while exact figures have yet to be calculated, the consensus is that prospective boat owners should take time now to think about insuring their vessels.

Hurricane season runs from June through November, but it’s important to have an action plan in place well before the season starts. You can do this by monitoring the weather and developing storms, keeping duplicate copies of documents in safe places, and getting to know your neighbors, among other things.

If possible, one safety precaution would be to remove your boat from the water and move it to a safe land location to reduce the risk of damage when there is a possibility that a storm might affect your location. If you can, put your boat and trailer in a garage. If they must be left out, there are other steps you can follow to protect your boat from a hurricane’s impact:

  • Inspect the trailer to ensure that it is in proper operating condition
  • Check tires (including spare), wheel bearings, tow hitch and lights
  • Strip off every thing that could be torn loose by a strong wind
  • Increase the weight of your outboard boat by filling it with fresh water and leaving in the drain plug (inboard boats must be drained to avoid motor damage)
  • Insert wood blocks between the trailer frame and the springs for extra support with the added weight
  • Secure it to a strong tree or some type of anchor

Though a storm may be over, you may want to wait to venture out to find your boat, as environmental conditions and hazards could have developed in this time. When it’s safe to look for your boat, remember to document and take photos of everything.

When it’s time for your boat to be repaired, make sure you have the necessary documentation for a boat claim, including boat insurance policy, receipts, inventory lists, photos, etc. Make sure you choose a repair shop that has a good reputation. And don’t forget to start preparing for the next hurricane by re-evaluating your current hurricane plan and refining it as needed.

More About This Author: Steven is an insurance agent who works for Newman Crane and focuses on Boat Insurance Agency Orlando