Yacht Damaged by Faulty Bridge

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Every so often, there are news stories of strange marine accidents that make comprehensive yacht insurance seem like a very good thing.

In early December last year, something went wrong with a drawbridge and it dropped down onto a 161-foot superyacht, fortunately not injuring any of the crew members on board.

The Rockstar, worth a reported $21 Million, was being towed through the causeway near the Miami-Dade mainland when the terrifying incident occurred. There were reports that the Rockstar had just undergone refurbishing and painting at a cost of over a million dollars. At first it was unclear to onlookers whether the yacht had crashed into the bridge or if the drawbridge had crashed into the yacht. Some witnesses felt that high winds and rain might have contributed to the accident.

Surveillance footage confirmed what had transpired: as the superyacht passed under the Broad Causeway bridge, the east half dropped down onto the Rockstar’s upper deck. An investigation will be conducted to determine why that side of the drawbridge malfunctioned.

Watching this beautiful superyacht’s upper deck get bashed and crushed makes you immediately wonder how much the repairs will coast.

Indeed, this type of accident underscores the importance of having adequate yacht insurance to guard against damage that could occur unexpectedly. There was no word on how badly the bridge itself was impaired, but the mayor of Bay Harbor Islands Village Town Ronald Wassen praised the quick actions of the experienced bridge operator.

In later news reports, Wassen confirmed that preliminary reports suggested that the brake on the drawbridge failed. He said if the bridge operator had not remained calm and acted quickly, the damage could have been much worse.

This incident is one of those times when it doesn’t take much imagination to consider liability implications had any of the estimated 15 people on board the Rockstar been injured or killed.

The owner of the Rockstar is Russell Weitner, the man at the helm of Rockstar energy drinks. He issued a statement after the incident, stating: “Thank God nobody got hurt. It could have been a tragedy due to the city not maintaining this bridge correctly. A few seconds earlier and it could have hit and crushed the steering station where the captain and crew were.”

It turns out that the town council had only just approved spending $11.5 million to repair and upgrade the 60-year-old bridge, deemed functionally obsolete by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Work to fix and improve the drawbridge is scheduled to begin this month and is expected to take 18 months to finish. The work to be completed includes reinforcing supports and updating the electrical wiring and decking.

The Rockstar was towed to a marina for repairs.

If something like this happened to your yacht, would you be protected? What if you operated a marine business and an accident of this magnitude occurred? Contact the knowledgeable and experienced marine insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance for help determining which insurance coverage will give you adequate protection for your needs.

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