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Get your boat ready for the Spring launch

Spring is here and as the awful winter weather recedes, many of you will be considering getting your boats back into the water. This task brings its own unique set of risks, and as a specialist marine insurance broker, we’ve seen a whole host of claims over our 40-plus years in business.

We’d like to offer some straightforward handy tips to our clients that may help you to avoid some of the most common claims associated with launching your boat. Don’t let a simple oversight ruin your boating season before it even gets started!

What you can do to ensure a smooth launch

It may sound simple, but draw up a pre-launch checklist, either for you or your boatyard to carry out.
This 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 easily 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, precise instructions should be given to the boat 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 because the speed log or hull fitting is not secured.

Pre-launch checklist
• 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/glands
• 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, leaving you to enjoy the boating season without worry.

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.