Don’t leave assessing your onboard safety equipment and yacht insurance coverage until you really need it. Accidents can have a devastating impact in a short period of time – take for example a recent yacht fire in Lee County, Florida. In early March, a 64-foot yacht caught fire, which spread very quickly.
News reports said that the owners, a couple, jumped from their burning yacht into the waters just south of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico. They were very fortunate to be rescued by another boater in the area, who saw the blazing yacht and heard the cries for help.
There is footage on YouTube of the yacht on fire. As you can see, the flames are extensive, shooting up into the air, and the billows of smoke are visible from a distance:
There is no word as to what caused the fire, but the yacht was completely destroyed. Fortunately, the owners were not injured during the incident and reported to the local media that they had yacht insurance coverage; an insurance company would handle the wreckage for them. No one else was on board when the fire started.
Even though the Cape Coral Fire Department was able to get to the scene quickly because they were involved in training exercises nearby, and several other agencies responded with environmentally-friendly foam spray, the yacht was badly damaged by flames and began to sink. Florida Fish and Wildlife is leading the investigation to try to determine the cause. A wrecking company is retrieving the wreckage of the yacht.
Does your yacht insurance coverage extend to salvaging a damaged vessel? Not all insurance policies will coverage wreckage or environmental fines especially if it takes multiple attempts to remove the wreckage. Seeing damage this extensive is a motivator to revisit your own policy.
In this incident near Sanibel Island, none of the media mentioned life jackets. When the couple saw the raging fire and had to leap overboard, were they wearing life jackets? Drowning is the leading cause of death in recreational boating accidents. Was there no time to grab a lifeboat or was there even one in working order on board?
It is too frightening to imagine how quickly this could have become a fatal yacht accident if the other boaters fishing nearby hadn’t noticed the fire and heard the calls for help – especially if they didn’t have some sort of life preserver.
How well would your yacht insurance coverage protect your investment in the case of fire or another disaster? Call the boat insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to determine whether you are adequately insured.