It’s the time of year when boats come out of winter storage to get ready for the new boating season. This is a great opportunity to check some components, parts and accessories to make sure they are all working correctly. It is worth remembering at this point that all boat and yacht policies contain an inherent Seaworthy Warranty. This means that if you operate the boat when the boat is not seaworthy and a loss occurs the insurance company can deny your claim. It doesn’t happen often, but has when the neglect is blatant and almost intentional. Common sense dictates that one should not endanger anyone by navigating an unseaworthy boat.
Some of the key areas to examine are:
- Bilge pumps – be sure to test them thoroughly and ensure they do not leak
- For sailboat owners who took their rig down now is a great time to carefully check it. Check for cracks, chaffed stays, etc. replace/repair as necessary. Inspect the chain plates and the areas around them, a few cracks or rotting can also bring the rig down.
- Cooling systems should be checked including belts, thermostats and impellers. It’s always easier to replace them before they go bad on a trip.
- Experience shows many fires start at the shore power connection. Proper fit and corrosion should be checked for and power cords replaced/repaired as necessary. This is also a good time to check the electrical leakage from your boat to the water. There have been some electrocutions from people swimming in marinas with leaking boats. Most boats leak a little and it only takes a tiny amount to kill someone. You can check if your boat is leaking current with a simple amp meter or buy power cords that let you know if there is leakage. Effective 2010 NMMA Inspected vessels will include EFCI’s or Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupters which will open the circuit automatically if excessive amperage is detected. This is the new ABYC E-11 standard.
- For boats in fresh water make sure your sacrificial zinc is actually a sacrificial anode made from magnesium or aluminum. Zinc is not effective in fresh water only salt. Reference would be ABYC E-2.7.
- If the boat is hauled out of the water, it’s an excellent time to inspect the hull and if you’re getting close to survey time, have your surveyor do a hull sounding for water intrusion. Most boaters don’t know that water does penetrate fiberglass and left to freeze and thaw it can create blisters, cracks and weakness. Have the surveyor write a report and send it to your marine insurance agent.
- Make sure your batteries are in good shape; full of fluid, fully charged, correctly sized for you boat and installed correctly. Batteries with loose or inadequate connections can cause fires.
- Last but by no means least on this list to check those auto fire extinguisher bottles. If they need charging……..Do it! Almost every survey we see shows expired inspection tags and fires on board are very dangerous!
By: Mike Smith
Executive Vice President
Global Marine Insurance Agency
Global Marine Insurance Agency is solely dedicated to providing insurance coverage to members of the boating community. Let us help you protect your investment. Get an online quote today…