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Preparing your boat for the spring launch

As a marine specialist insurance broker we have been insuring pleasure craft for over forty years and have dealt with claims for vessels from almost every possible angle. Many of these claims tend to arise in the spring time during or just after launching a boat back into the water.

We would therefore like to highlight to owners a number of straightforward handy hints and tips which may help you avoid some of the most common claims that can often ruin your boating season before it even gets started.

How can you protect your vessel?

The first thing to do is to ensure you give clear pre-launch check instructions to your boatyard, these will help to significantly reduce the risk of potential accidents, breakdowns or worse sinking.

These checks are particularly important after winter where skin fittings, pipes, engines and water-cooling systems may have suffered damage that is not readily noticeable from a casual inspection.

We also recommend, where possible, that the owner is present when the boat is launched. If this is not possible then the boatyard should have a spare set of keys for the vessel and precise instructions should be given to the yard to inspect your boat internally after launching to make sure it's water tight. Every year we deal with at least one sinking following a launch when the speed log or hull fitting is not secured.

Pre-launch checks
  • Check all the water carrying pipes
  • Have the engine serviced and checked out by a marine engineer
  • Do not start the engine until all the basic checks are complete, including checking that the sea cocks are open
  • Check the fuel and gas systems
  • Check all hoses are properly attached, preferably double clipped
  • Check the rigging by making sure all pins are in place and properly turned back and taped off
  • We recommend instigating a full rigging check by a professional team; hairline cracks for example are very difficult to spot
  • Ensure that fire extinguishers, flares and life jackets are up-to-date and fully serviced If you are using a trailer, check the bearings as failure can often lead to major hull damage if a wheel comes off
Once afloat
  • Check the stern gland/glandsĀ 
  • Check the engine water pumps
  • Check skin fittings and seacocks
  • Give the bilge area a thorough examination
  • Check the auto bilge pumps

By following these simple checks you could help reduce your chances of damaging your vessel - and increasing sailing off in to the season in one piece and hopefully claims free.

If you are concerned about any aspect of your current policy or would like to discuss an extension to your cover, please call us on 0800 7838057 and we will be delighted to help.