Hurricane Irma and your vessel

Currently, Hurricane Irma is on a path that may include vessels mooring in Florida. If you are mooring a boat in the region that may be impacted please take all necessary steps to mitigate possible damage to your property.

Your policy may include Hurricane haul-out or similarly named coverage that applies a level of reimbursement from expenses that you may incur to protect your property from an impending named storm. Please review your policy limitations or contact us for further information.

To keep up on the storm or to get further information on hurricane preparedness, please check the following resources:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

www.hurricanecity.com

www.hwn.org

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare

http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes 

http://www.uscg.mil/d7/airstaBorinquen/docs/HurricanePage/Boat%20Preparation%202008(9).pdf

http://www.globalmarineinsurance.com

Yacht Insurance Coverage Issues

Unfortunately, if you don’t review your yacht insurance carefully, you could end up with coverage issues.

When you’re a recreational boater, you expect your yacht insurance will be enough to make repairs or replace your marine investment if the worst happens.

Here are some typical yacht insurance coverage issues that our insurance specialists can help you understand:

Salvage costs – In recent years we’ve had superstorms and

Navigator Yacht

hurricanes, that have wreaked havoc on marinas and shorelines. If your yacht were to fall victim to these kinds of violent outbursts of nature, you might find yourself responsible for salvaging your yacht. How these salvage costs are covered varies from policy to policy, with some subtracting the salvage costs from the allotted repair budget and other policies only covering a specified percentage of the total cost. There are also options to have separate salvage coverage up to the insured value of the yacht. It’s important you know what you want and what type of coverage you currently have.

Wreck removal – Sometimes, unfortunately, there’s nothing left to salvage after a natural disaster, fire, or act of vandalism. You can’t assume that if your yacht is damaged beyond repair or sinks that your yacht insurance covers having the wreck removed and discarded properly. Find out if you would be expected to pay for this service yourself or if the wreck removal would fall under the liability coverage up to a certain amount. Again, it’s important that you make an informed decision about the type of coverage you have for your yacht so you don’t end up with a nasty shock in the event of a problem.

Environmental damage – Having your yacht damaged or sunk could have dire consequences on the environment if, for example, there is a fuel spill. Under federal law, you can be held liable for a fuel spill, and it could run you as much as $854,000. So it’s important that you know whether you are subject to a “covered loss” clause, which would mean you would have no compensation if the fuel spill was deemed to have occurred because of wear and tear or corrosion rather than an accident or mishap. Many choose to opt instead for a fuel-spill liability that falls under the overall liability limit.

Don’t gamble with your yacht insurance coverage. Contact the boat insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to review your yacht insurance policy, so you have the coverage you want and need.

Running Aground

marinaRunning aground can happen to the most experienced of boaters, so anyone heading out on the water should be prepared (not just with boat insurance, but knowledge of what to do).

Even if you are careful, always use local charts, and do your best to stay off shoals or rocks you still might run aground. Nature can be unpredictable, navigating tricky, and you can’t always count on there being a buoy to mark hazardous spots.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s statistics, this is a big problem that costs American boaters millions in property damage every year. Not to mention that running aground can cause bodily injury as well.

Do you know what to do if you run aground? (Aside from calling your boat insurance agent.)

If you run aground in a motorized vessel, your priority is to stop the engine. If you can, you should try to transfer weight away from the point of contact.

Quickly assess the damage to your boat. If there is a hole and you’re taking on water you’ll have to try to stop the leak or bail. If damage to the hull is extensive, you should have time to wait for help or a towing company because your vessel is resting on firm ground. However, you may want to set a kedge anchor to keep your position secure.

If the damage is minimal but you’re stuck and immobile, you have two choices. You can either arrange for a tow or wait for the next high tide to see if you can get free.

As well as assessing the situation for your boat, you’ll also need to check to make sure that everyone who is on your boat is okay. Assess any injuries and administer first aid or call for first responders as required. Just remember that you shouldn’t ever call the US Coast Guard unless you are in grave and immediate danger.

As boat insurance specialists, we recommend that if you do require a tow that you use a commercial towing company. It’s tricky to tow a boat and many times we see personal injuries or damage to the boats involved because the people were towing novices. It’s worth the money to hire a professional and you may be able to obtain coverage that includes towing.

Does your current boat insurance coverage cover you for tows or replacement value in case you run aground? Contact the boat insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to review your policy, so you don’t face any unwelcome surprises this summer.

Boating Accidents – Common Causes

One thing we become familiar with in the boat insurance industry is statistics.

Ski Boat - NautiqueThere are known factors that increase your risk of a boating accident (and consequently needing to make a boat insurance claim).

If we were going to do a Family Feud inspired game listing the most common causes of boating accidents in the United States, here’s what our survey would show on the board:

● Careless boating – Far too many accidents happen when people are not paying attention. You could also be charged with negligence if you’re caught taking risks out on the waves.

● Inexperience – To safely enjoy boating you need education, experience, and training. If you are new to boating, you can take courses to ensure that you have the right training to handle different situations and comply with boating regulations. As a bonus, any certification or boating classes you take could also reduce your boat insurance rates.

● Intoxication – Despite years of campaigns to raise awareness about the risks of drunk driving, too many people get into trouble boating under the influence. If you’re going to enjoy alcoholic beverages, dock your boat. Don’t risk hurting yourself or anyone else if you’re inebriated and remember you can be charged if you operate a marine vessel while intoxicated.

● Poor planning – Check the weather before you head out and keep an eye on the horizon and weather reports, so you’re not caught in a storm. Make sure that your boat is operating well (don’t risk equipment failures), has sufficient fuel, and that you have food, water, and first aid supplies. Filing a float plan could save your life, so make time to prepare for trips out on your boat.

● Boating and texting – The same way many vehicle accidents are caused by drivers texting instead of watching the road, distracted boating is also becoming more and more of a problem. If you are in charge of a marine vessel, don’t text or go online. You need to pay attention for safety reasons. And, hey, find the joy in being present in the moment. You can be on your phone later when you’re back on land.

Ready for to go boating? Contact the boat insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to review your policies before you head out on the water this summer.

Favorite Island Yachting Destinations

Ready to plan next year’s yachting itinerary? The United States boasts countless islands for yachting. There are numerous islands to add to your bucket list, but you might want to put these five islands at the top:

The San Juan Islands are a gem tucked along America’s west coast not too far from Seattle, WA. Expect a casual, slow pace here as you meander through the 172 named islands in the county of San Juan. If you’re looking for land-based fun or dining check out San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, or Shaw islands, which are the four largest. Enjoy the temperate climate and be watchful for seals, whales, and orcas in the Pacific Ocean.

Hilton Head, South Carolina is the go-to island destination on the east coast for anyone who enjoys outdoor sports and activities. The championship golf courses here are legendary, bringing visitors from around the world to try these rolling fairways. Tennis and polo are other popular pursuits, plus all the water sports you’d expect in a place with seemingly endless beaches. Exploring the Sea Pines Forest Preserve and the Harbor Town Lighthouse are excursions popular with travelers of all ages.

The Thousand Islands in New York State are an explorer’s dream. There are ample opportunities to stop at historic sites and charming towns and cities along this seaway, all of which cater to nautical tourists. If you bring your passports, you can also venture over to the Canadian side where you’ll find Boldt Castle and Fort Henry. The scenery on either side of the border is idyllic – just make certain your yacht insurance coverage includes international travel.

Maui, the Hawaiian island voted the best island destination by the readership of Conde Nast Traveler for nearly two decades, is truly a natural wonder. Its unique landscape includes pristine beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, and the awe-inspiring bamboo forest and waterfalls in Haleakala National Park. Add to this the opportunities for outdoor activities, fine dining, a vibrant arts community, and quaint shops and you can see why Maui is a perennial favorite.

Key West, Florida has long been a favorite destination of America’s top political figures and celebrities as well as families, young professionals, and diving enthusiasts drawn by its famous coral reefs. This subtropical paradise, the most southern destination in Florida, has stunning landscapes, important cultural and conservation sites, sightseeing and water sports, world-class dining, and a flourishing nightlife.

Yachting in the islands is the perfect combination of relaxation, adventure, and beauty in one package. Just make sure you have the right yacht insurance for travel, especially out of state or across international boundaries.

Contact our yacht insurance specialists at Global Marine Insurance to review your insurance coverage. We’ll ensure you have comprehensive insurance at a competitive rate.

How to Properly Moor Your Boat

yacht Boaters often choose to moor their boat long-term as a more economical alternative to docking, but there are risks to consider (especially if you want to avoid a boat insurance claim).

We focus a lot on boat safety when you’re out on the water, but it’s not just when your boat is in motion that you need to be skilled and cautious. You also need to know how to properly moor your boat.

Unfortunately, even some very experienced boaters don’t know how to securely moor a boat. If they’re lucky, they’ll avoid damage, but all too often the result is damage either to the boat or other boats around it. Avoidable damage is particularly hard to reconcile (even when you have good boat insurance!).

Here are some boat mooring basics to consider:

Not all moorings are equal. It is important to understand that the size will vary depending on the conditions anticipated. Some moorings are temporary or intended for occasional use during good weather. You don’t want to use this kind of mooring to leave your boat unattended for a long stretch, particularly during storm season. There is a big difference between the hold offered by a concrete block, for example, and a helical anchor that is professionally installed and screwed into the bottom of the seabed. The latter provides the maximum holding power. Essentially, the size of each anchor determines its holding power.

Know your gear. Boating experts recommend that you moor with sections of galvanized chain – both a primary (or ground) chain and a secondary (or riding) chain attached by a galvanized shackle. A mooring buoy is used to suspend the mooring chain and rides high enough to be easily seen in the water. The chain attaches to the boat by a pendant, which is either a shock absorbing three-strand nylon line, chafe-resistant polyester, a Dyneema line or stainless steel wire.

Beware of chafing. Always check the integrity of your lines and pendant because excessive chafing will break the line and leave your boat at the mercy of the waves and wind. Nylon lines are preferred because their elasticity absorbs shock, but they are susceptible to chafe as they move across bow chocks.

Watch the weather. Don’t leave your boat vulnerable if severe weather is in the forecast. A mooring system must be large enough to withstand the wind load anticipated for your boat. Many boats have been damaged or destroyed, either swinging on their moorings or blown ashore while still attached to the mooring system. It may be worth storing your boat on land until after the storm has passed.

When in doubt, ask experienced boaters to share their strategies and lessons learned. And don’t forget to keep your boat insurance coverage up to date.

Does your boat insurance policy cover you when your boat is moored? Call the marine insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to review your unique situation and coverage needs. We specialize in recreational and commercial boats and work with the best insurance carriers in the marine industry.

Yacht Slip – Rent or Buy?

Marina - yachts, docksShould you rent or buy a yacht slip? As with any real estate investment, deciding whether to rent or buy a yacht slip is going to depend on the location and local market.

Here are some reasons you might want to consider for renting as opposed to buying. (Just make sure that no matter which option you pick, you’ve got proper yacht insurance.)

  • If you’re going to move or upgrade your yacht, renting could be the better bet because you’re not tied to that slip (pun intended) and any related annual maintenance fees.
  • Depending on the purchase price and how you finance buying a yacht slip, it might be wiser to rent and invest your excess money another way that gives you a greater return.
  • In some areas of the United States, boat slips are reasonably priced or even underpriced, whereas in other communities they are highly sought after and very costly. If it’s not worth paying top dollar for a yacht slip, you may as well keep renting.

You might want to buy instead of rent a yacht slip if:

  • You know you’re going to stay in the local area, and the yacht slip would be a great home base for your vessel.
  • You don’t want to keep paying rent if you can build equity.
  • You don’t want to be at the mercy of someone else as a renter.
  • If you buy a slip for a good price in an area that is in demand, you can easily rent the slip if you’re going off cruising for a few months at a time (bonus: the rent you collect may cover your annual maintenance fees).
  • Your investment is a good one when the cost and maintenance fees are within your budget, and you have reasonable expectation that the slip will appreciate in value.
  • If demand is rising for slips in your area, then owning yours protects you against limited supply; and it is, therefore, a good investment.

Some people will also consider renting or leasing a dry slip, nicknamed a “rackomininium,” or a wet slip, called a “dockominium.” Some of the latter allow you access to marina amenities such as eateries or leisure activities like golf or swimming. As with all real estate transactions, a market analysis is going to help you decide what your best investment strategy will be. Location, convenience, amenities, and supply and demand are all going to be market drivers.

How well is your yacht or boat protected while docked? Call the marine insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to review your coverage and discuss policy options with the best insurance carriers in the business. We specialize in recreational and commercial boats, ranging from yachts and sailboats to passenger boats and commercial fleets.