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How to protect your boat from storm damage

Following the recent stormy weather, boat owners will be all too aware of the damage that can be caused by extreme weather. In 2015 alone, 10% of the claims we received were for damage caused by storms. 

Before the next storm hits, here’s our advice for how to reduce your risk of making a claim…

Safe storage

If you keep your boat at a marina, it’s generally less vulnerable and sheltered from the worst conditions. It’s certainly prudent to store sails rather than leaving them furled as well as checking your lines in the event of a weather warning. Use double or spring lines where possible, and check the placement and number of fenders.

Where it’s not always possible for you to get to the marina, your boat is usually monitored by the marina staff. If the weather turns, you can also expect them to keep an eye on things. This is in part because they don’t want an unsecure boat to cause damage to other boats should a sail become unfurled or the boat is moving more than they would like. If this happens, they might choose to tighten things up for you.

Boats on swinging or trot moorings are typically more exposed, with incidents of breaking free or dragging being fairly common at this time of year. To minimise your risk, it’s a good idea to ensure mooring chains and risers are routinely inspected and serviced.  You can also enquire at your boat club as to when the trots and ground chains were last serviced, and the sinkers last checked, as part of your mooring contracts. 

Lightning can strike twice

In severe storms, lightning strikes have the potential to disable or short-circuit on board electrics. This can lead to fire in extreme cases, so it’s always worth considering fire safety and ensuring your fire extinguishers are well maintained. 

There’s little you can do if you’re unlucky enough to encounter this kind of weather, but that’s why you have boat insurance.

Batten down the hatches

If you keep a dinghy at a dinghy park, they are susceptible to being blown about and flipped over in high winds. Check your covers are in good condition and secure. 

If there is a risk of high winds, you might want to consider removing masts and lashing them alongside, and using additional lines and pegs to secure the dinghy/trailer to the ground.

Keep it covered

If you are unfortunate enough to be caught in extreme weather, it's important to have someone on hand to offer support and advice and know that you're shielded from the financial impact of damage to your vessel. Having the right boat insurance policy is essential to enjoying your time on the water, and a marine insurance specialist can help deliver a perfectly tailored solution. Call us today on 0800 783 8057 to discuss your requirements.