Your Boat and Storms

October 29, 2020

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Your Boat and Storms

So you’ve done your due diligence as a responsible sailor and checked the weather using one of the many different weather forecast services (such as https://www.weather.gov/marine/point). As it turns out its not good news and a hurricane/windstorm is on its way to pay your boat a visit. So what do you do? In an ideal world, you would simply move your boat out of harm’s way every single time a storm was close but that’s not the world we live in, so the alternative is to have a comprehensive plan in place to protect and safeguard your boat from storm damage whether on the water or on land.

What you do to keep your boat safe will depend on where you are located and the size of your vessel. Trying to safeguard a small riverboat in Europe will not require as much planning (there are exceptions!) as a 30m yacht in the Caribbean Sea.

Make sure you plan ahead! Take preventative action, not reactionary measures. The last thing you want to do is just wait until a hurricane/windstorm is announced to do something about it, as by that point it, is most likely too late. Check your marina’s dock contract; it may require you to leave the marina when a hurricane strikes. Does the marina have a hurricane plan in place? Some marinas require that you haul your boat ashore in advance of a storm to protect your boat and the marina. Additionally, Insurers will look favourably at sailors who have taken steps to keep their vessel safe from storm damage.

Let’s say you can’t haul your boat out of the water (for whatever reason), here are some quick pointers:

Anchor: If you have to anchor, make sure you select a spot that makes sense and move to a safer anchorage if you can. Use multiple anchors if needed.  Also, consider the number of boats in the area and keep a safe distance; you don’t want your boat to be hit by another boat dragging its anchor or get your lines tangled with others.

Moorings: Check your mooring lines. Are they the right size? Are the ropes chafing? Check “O” rings for corrosion. Make sure to use long mooring lines so your boat can move up and down with the water level as it changes. Try to locate your boat in an area where waves have the least distance to build up (canals are best).

Remove all loose/movable equipment and gear. Reduce windage by removing all canvas and biminis. Store important documents (insurance policy, list of equipment, mooring contract, etc.) in a safe place on land or at home, just in case.

With a bit of preparation, you can safeguard your vessel from potential disaster and keep your joy and pride for many more years to come. There are tons of guides online so do your research accordingly.

Do you know the coverage of your insurance policy? What’s in your marina contract? Keeping track of the various insurance coverages and contracts you have is vital. Luckily at Edward William SL, we offer full windstorm cover (including Named/Numbered Windstorms!) as an option for our clients. We can offer the following windstorm options:

  • Basic Windstorm Cover - covers winds rated on the Beaufort Scale up to a Force 6 – up to 27 knots (does not cover Named/Numbered Windstorms).
  • Standard Windstorm Cover - covers winds rated on the Beaufort Scale up to a Force 12 – up to 72 knots (does not cover Named/Numbered Windstorms).
  • Enhanced Windstorm Cover - covers winds rated on the Beaufort Scale up to Force 13 and above - 73 knots and over (includes cover for Named/Numbered Windstorms).

Already insured through us? Make sure your current coverage is adequate as windstorm cover can only be changed at policy renewal! Just make sure to keep us updated on your storm safeguard arrangements.


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