Pre-season relaunching advice

Insurer lists reasons for common claims

Insurers Navigators & General (N&G) have issued advice to boaters getting ready to relaunch for the season.

They are reminding owners to carry out a number of simple checks before they get back on the water following the winter lay-up period, in order to avoid they what call common claims.

N&G say they generally experience an increase in claims notifications over March and April as boats are launched, or when owners return to find their boats have suffered damage during the winter.

“The increased risk of theft and break in associated with the economic climate, coupled with the sub zero temperatures this year are likely to have added to the risk,” they warn.

N&G say: “Carrying out a number of simple pre-launch checks, and ensuring there is good communication with the yard or launching company can significantly help reduce the risk of potential accidents, breakdowns or worse still, sinking.

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“These types of checks are particularly important after a harsh winter where skin fittings, pipes, engines and heaters may have been damaged or dislodged by ice.

“Wherever possible, it is advisable for the owner to be present when the boat is launched to monitor the vessel for any unusual water ingress for at least a couple of hours after settling. In their absence, the yard should take on this responsibility but they will need full access to the boat.

“Making sure that all parties know and agree the launch date should ensure that all works have been completed in time, leaving the vessel ready to be launched and seaworthy. N&G have seen a number of sinking claims caused by something as simple as failing to replace a through hull fitting or re attach an internal hose.

“Knowing where to place the slings to avoid damaging the boat when she is ready for launch is much easier to do ashore. It’s important to note that the yard will often supply and apply stickers to help with this process.”

Simple checks on machinery fluid levels, all through hull fittings, companionway stairs and floorboards can prevent major accidents and injury to you or your crew, they say.

Also check that safety equipment is in date and adequate for your boat. Fire extinguishers in particular need to be kept in date and in proper working order to comply with some policy conditions.

To avoid launch and pre-season problems, Navigators & General offer the following advice:
? have a yearly pre-season machinery maintenance check by a boat engineer
? agree a launch date in advance and arrange access to boat for yard if you cannot be there in person
? do not start engines until all basic checks have been completed, including opening cooling water sea cocks
? check fuel or gas lines and cables have not been trapped whilst stowing gear
? do not assume anything will be checked or replaced, ask if in doubt
? check all hoses, skin fittings, through hull fittings & hose clips
? ensure distress flares & lifejackets are still in date and adequate for your boat
? ensure navigation equipment is on board, up to date and working

They say common problems include:
? flooring, steps and handles not being properly re-attached after servicing – which can lead to injury
? forgetting to return crucial safety and navigation equipment to the boat
? through hull fittings not being replaced or hoses not properly re-connected, which can lead to sinking through gradual ingress of water
? not checking engines are fully re-commissioned – which can let you down at a crucial moment or be damaged when started
? underwater gear or log may be damaged on slings or strops when lifted


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