Do I need separate insurance for my boat?

Boats have a high recovery and replacement cost and come with their own risks. So, insuring them makes sense. You may find that your home or car insurance provides a degree of cover, but there are lots of good reasons for taking out dedicated boat or watercraft insurance.

Will my home contents insurance cover my boat?

While your boat is stored at your home it may be covered – up to a certain value – by your home insurance.

Home insurers, for the most part, do not have any particular expertise in insuring watercraft. So, you will find the coverage is not tailored to your needs. And if you are in the unfortunate position of needing to claim for damage or an accident to your boat, you may be getting help from someone who does not have a full understanding of what has happened and what your needs are.

It is certainly worth calling up your home insurance provider and asking them whether your boat is covered.

But specialist boat or watercraft insurance will give you better coverage, better service and better peace of mind. It will provide coverage when your boat is on the water, in a marina or in a boatyard, too.

Will my car insurance cover my boat?

While you’re towing your boat to the water, it may be covered by your car insurance if you’ve made appropriate arrangements. Note that some motor insurances have restrictions about the length of boat you can tow. It’s best to call up and ask before you set out.

Do I need boat insurance?

You probably do need boat insurance, particularly if we’re talking about a larger boat with a high replacement cost. Insurance may also be a condition of navigating certain waters or taking part in organised sailing activities. So not having boat insurance can be quite limiting.

Your home insurance might cover your boat while it’s stored at your home. But it won’t cover your boat on the water, in transit or in a boat yard.

Is boat insurance a legal requirement?

There is no UK law saying that you must insure your boat – but you will need at the very least third-party cover if you want to access the facilities at a marina or use a boatyard. And you’ll also need it if you plan to navigate rivers and canals.

Am I covered by the previous owner’s boat insurance?

If you buy a boat second-hand, the insurance previously held won’t apply any more. You need to take out a new policy for your boat.

How do I cut the cost of my boat insurance?

You can reduce the cost of boat insurance by:

  • shopping around to find a policy that best meets your needs (note that Velos won’t be on any price comparison websites because we offer a tailored insurance service)
  • building up a no claims bonus
  • taking some training (particularly if you are a new boat owner).

How much does boat insurance cost?

The cost of boat insurance varies enormously according to what type of boat you wish to insure, where it is stored, your level of experience and competence and what activities you have planned on the water. At Velos we provide tailored insurance, so the best way to find out the cost of your boat  insurance is to use our form to get a quick quote.

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What should you do if you get stranded on the water?

Dead batteries, soft grounding, empty fuel tank… Whatever the reason, your boat is dead in the water, or unable to attain a good speed and you need to get back to a safe harbour or mooring for repairs. A breakdown on water is stressful wherever it occurs, and it will certainly be expensive. But insurance coverage can help reduce the impact.

Do I have to pay to get my boat towed?

The cost of getting your boat towed to safety will vary by the distance you need to go and the conditions. You may be lucky and find someone to help you for free – but you may have to pay, and it is decent to give a donation if a voluntary organisation comes to your aid. The price will depend on the time of day (according to the marine breakdown service SeaStart, 80% of pleasure craft breakdowns occur at the weekend or in the evening when recovery may be more expensive).

Many boat owners opt to pay for an annual breakdown and recovery service. That way they can be sure of priority attention and a predictable bill.

How do I call for assistance when my boat is broken down in the water?

In the UK, at sea, if you don’t have a breakdown policy, and you can’t fix your craft, you can put out a pan-pan call on your radio, or contact the coastguard on channel 16. The coastguard will ask another boat in the area to help you. If there is an immediate risk, make a mayday call.

On an inland waterway, in an emergency when lives or property are at risk, call 999. The Canal and River Trust has boat service listings to help you find a nearby boatyard that can help with a tow.

What information should I give the coastguard during a breakdown?

Ideally, you should be able to give an accurate position. This shouldn’t be much of a problem on inland waterways. But at sea it is very difficult to judge distance by eye, and interpretations of ‘just off’ or ‘not far from’ can vary. Make sure your radio is GPS-enabled so you can get your position quickly and easily.

As well as your location, you should also tell them what type of craft you are in, and briefly explain your problem.

Do I have to accept the tow company’s fee?

If you want to get back to a safe harbour from a breakdown at sea, it’s as well to check where whoever comes to your aid is towing you to, and what compensation they want. In some cases it may be enough to agree to buy them a beer, or pay for fuel, but a professional boat breakdown service will send you a bill.

On an inland waterway, it may be possible to shop around, but if you do not take action to move your boat you risk the waterway authority acting on your behalf.

How do I get ready to have my boat towed?

While you wait for your rendezvous with the rescue boat, set up lines and fenders. The skipper may have their own lines and fenders, so don’t deploy yours until you are asked to. Yachts should lower their sails, unless they think they might need to manoeuvre before the tow-boat arrives. The skipper may try to call your phone, or contact you by radio to let you know help is coming. So keep an eye on your communications devices.

How much does it cost to get my boat towed to my home mooring?

Many watercraft breakdown policies will include recovery to the nearest safe mooring or haven. This might not be your home mooring. You will have to pay extra if you want your boat taken to your home mooring, and you may not be able to arrange this immediately.

What should I do once my watercraft has been towed to safety?

Once you are in a safe haven and your craft is protected from further damage, contact your insurance company and find out what the next steps are.

Will my boat insurance cover me if I need towing?

At Velos we tailor our policies to our customer’s specific needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with pleasure craft insurance.

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Yachting Boating World: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is reminding people to take care while playing the popular mobile phone game, Pokémon GO.

 

The UK Coastguard was called out to investigate after reports that a group of young people had taken a rowing boat without permission to chase a Pokémon.

The incident happened at New Brighton marine lake in the early hours of 19 July.

Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service both responded to the incident.

When the crews arrived at the scene, they found the youths had already left. The young people had left the rowing boat drifting in the middle of the marina.

Now the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has issued a warning to youngsters, reminding them to use their common sense while playing the popular mobile phone game.

Senior coastal operations officer, Danny Jamson, said: “We know that many people are enjoying Pokémon GO across the UK and we wouldn’t want to spoil that fun.”

“However, we would ask people to use a little common sense and not to take risks while looking for Pokémon,” he stressed.

“The incident this morning shows that risk taking can put not only you in danger but also the rescue services who have to come to your aid,” said Jamson.

The MCA has taken to the social media sites, Twitter and Facebook, to highlight their safety message.

See article at Yachting Boating World

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Practical Boat Owner: A couple abandoned their blazing yacht after an engine fire broke out near the entrance to Poole Harbour.

 

The ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday’ call was made from the 31ft yacht just after 6.30pm on Saturday, first reporting that smoke was coming from its engine room.

The caller then alerted the coastguard that he ‘could see flames and that they were ‘abandoning ship’.

The UK Coastguard also received multiple 999 calls from other vessels and members of the public in the area that could see the black smoke billowing from the yacht, which was in the Swash Channel, approximately 100 metres outside the entrance of Poole Harbour.

The yacht, with a man and woman on board, had been en route to Old Harry rocks at the time of the fire.

A nearby pleasure cruiser and several other vessels, including Condor ferry which launched its rescue boat, responded to the emergency broadcast and made their way to the burning vessel to assist the crew.

The 25ft pleasure cruiser recovered the two crew and transferred them to the Poole RNLI lifeboat.

Poole Lifeboat volunteers, who had been washing mud from the lifeboat and equipment back at the station, following two earlier shouts, sprang into action when the Mayday call came in.

At 18.40pm both lifeboats launched, Poole Inshore lifeboat was on scene within eight minutes and found that the couple had been picked up by a passing motor boat and were safe and well.

There were a lot of vessels in the vicinity so the lifeboat crew moved boats away, cordoning off the area around the burning yacht. They transferred the casualties from the motorboat to the lifeboat and assessed the situation, establishing how much fuel was on-board and if there were any gas bottles or anything else inflammable.

The all-weather lifeboat arrived and was preparing its salvage pump and fire hose, the crew began to douse the fire down, the yacht was drifting north east.

The inshore lifeboat stood by as a guard vessel. The casualties on board were transferred onto the Vanguard, the pilot boat, who took them back to Poole Yacht Club.

See article at Practical Boat Owner

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Yachting Boating World: Irishman Fanche Mahe stole the yacht from Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire and attempted to sail for France because he was “sick of life”, a Welsh court heard.

 

Fanche Mahe, 30, admitted he stole the yacht, Summer Lily, when he appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on 27 June.

He only managed to sail the vessel four-and-a-half miles southeast of Saundersfoot harbour before he was intercepted by the police on board the Tenby RNLI Tamar class lifeboat.

The owner of the Summer Lily had seen his yacht’s distinctive red sail heading into the distance when he had arrived at the harbour on the morning of 26 June for a day’s sailing.

He had immediately contacted the police who had requested the assistance of the RNLI.

The 17 foot yacht was towed back to the harbour. It had sustained around £50 worth of damage.

Haverfordwest Magistrates Court heard that Mahe, of County Galway, had initially refused to cooperate with the police officers.

In interview, he told officers his motorbike has broken down and he’d decided to take a boat and go sailing.

Mahe added that he was “sick of life” and wanted to “p**s off and go sailing”.

In Mahe’s defence, the court heard that the 30-year-old had come to Wales to look for work. He had been unsuccessful and after running out of money decided to go sailing.

Magistrates fined Mahe £293 and ordered him to pay court costs of £115 plus £50 compensation to the owner of Summer Lily.

See article at Yachting Boating World

 

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Yachting Boating World: The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has found that “poor bridge team management and navigational practices” contributed to the grounding of the Hamburg cruise ship.

 

The cruise ship, Hamburg was carrying 461 people when it ran aground on chartered rocks in the Sound of Mull, Scotland on 11 May, 2015.

The vessel was trying to enter Tobermory Bay when the accident happened. No-one was injured, but the Hamburg needed three months in dry docks for repairs.

The investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) found that having been unable to enter Tobermory Bay on arrival, the Hamburg’s passage plan was not re-evaluated or amended.

“Combined with poor bridge team management and navigational practices, this resulted in the vessel running into danger and grounding,” said the MAIB report.

The Hamburg could not enter Tobermory Bay as there were already two other cruise liners. The investigation also found irregularities in the crew’s response to the accident.

“Despite the loud noise and vibration resulting from the grounding, the bridge
team did not initiate the post-grounding checklist, no musters were held and neither the
vessel’s managers nor any shore authorities were notified of the accident,” stated the report.

Despite no “appropriate post-grounding actions” being taken, the Hamburg proceeded to Tobermory Bay. Here, an “ill-considered and poorly executed attempt” was made to anchor the cruise ship.

This was before a full assessment of the damage had been conducted and before “any of the port, coastal state or company” had been informed of the accident.

“This (attempt to anchor) had to be aborted to avoid a second grounding when Hamburg dragged its anchor,” said the report.

The passenger vessel was then taken back out to the open sea with unknown damage to its structure. It diverted to Belfast where a dive survey revealed the extent of the damage.

This included a cropped port propeller and damage to the hull plating on the port side and the bottom of the cruise ship.

The MAIB found the decision to sail for Belfast “without first developing a plan with the vessel’s senior officers, technical managers and the relevant authorities ashore” was “inappropriate and incurred additional unnecessary risks”.

The report also stated that the 58-year-old master of the Hamburg, Captain Joao Manuel Fernandes Simoes “did not demand a high standard of navigational practices from his officers which resulted in a weak practices amongst the bridge team”.

Simoes was subsequently prosecuted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for the failure of passage plan under SOLAS and failure to report an accident contrary to the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2012.

He pleaded guilty and was fined a total of £813.

The operators of the Bahamas-registered Hamburg, V-Ships, conducted its own investigation into the groundings. As a result, it has increased training and reviewed its navigational practices, emergency contingency plan grounding checklist and passage planning.

The MAIB noted that all parties to the incident had taken appropriate action, and it did not need to make any recommendations.

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Yachting Boating World: The police in Lincolnshire are warning boat owners following a spate of outboard engine thefts along the River Glen at Surfleet.

 

Lincolnshire police are encouraging boat owners to be extra vigilant following a spate of outboard engine thefts from vessels moored on the River Glen at Surfleet.

Since April, seven engines have been stolen. On two occasions, boats were set adrift after the engine was taken. Owners are being asked to remove outboards when not in use.

Some of the thefts happened on the 2 May at 2.20am, and police have now issued CCTV images of two men who may be able to assist with the investigation.

One of the men is described as white, approximately 40 years of age, with a chubby build and a bald/shaved head. He was wearing a black leather jacket and light trousers/jeans. The man is also a smoker.

His companion is also white, approximately 40 years of age and an average build. He has short, brown receding hair, and was wearing a light coloured tracksuit top, dark coloured trousers/jeans and trainers.

A police spokesman said: “Since April there have been seven thefts of outboard engines from boats moored on the River Glen at Surfleet. On two occasions the boats where taken, the engines removed and then set adrift they (the boats) have been recovered. Can all boat owners please increase checks on their boats and if possible remove outboards when not in use.”

Lincolnshire Police runs a Waterway Watch scheme to try to maintain the security of the county’s waterways and the people and clubs that use them.

Information about current incidents and operations is shared between the police and scheme members. Waterway Watch also issues crime reduction advice.

Last July, the security marking company, Datatag, reported that outboard engine theft had increased by more than 40% in the last six months. It said outboard theft accounted for nearly 60% of all marine crime.

See article at Yachting Boating World

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Yachting Boating World: Officers with the New South Wales Police Force are searching for the owner of FireFly. The yacht was found drifting off the state’s northern coast.

 

New South Wales Police say FireFly was found adrift in Port Stephens on 17 May.

A man came across the yacht in shallow water at Samurai Beach. When he could not find anyone on board, he towed the vessel out to deeper water and anchored it.

The man then contacted Marine Rescue and Marine Area Command at around 3pm. The police believe that a 48-year-old man from Tasmania may have been residing on the FireFly.

A large scale search to find him started today, 18 May. It involved officers attached to Marine Area Command and Port Stephens Water Police, with assistance from Volunteer Marine Rescue, Surf Lifesaving, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and local police.

The search covered an area from Nelson Bay to Stockton Beach. It was suspended at 3pm local time and is expected to resume on 19 May.

“At 8am tomorrow (Thursday 19 May 2016), officers attached to Marine Area Command with assistance from Port Stephens Water Police will conduct a recovery search,” said a New South Wales Police Force spokesman.

“Due to conditions of the water, it is unlikely the 48-year-old man was able to survive,”continued the spokesman.

Detectives are continuing with inquiries regarding the FireFly. Officers believe the yacht may have been around Lemon Tree Passage on the morning of 17 May.

See article at Yachting Boating World

Practical Boat Owner: An explosion and fire aboard a small sports boat on the Hamble River created a ‘huge plume’ of smoke that could be seen for miles around.

 

Hamble lifeboat, on exercise at the time of the explosion yesterday evening, were quickly on the scene and extinguished the fire out and towed the sports boat ashore. No one was injured.

A huge plume could be seen from Hythe on the other side of Southampton Water.

A spokesman for Hamble Lifeboat said a ‘large explosion’ was seen and heard by the Hamble Lifeboat crew at around 8.30pm yesterday evening, whilst conducting training for the evening.

Hamble Lifeboat immediately informed the UK Coastguard of the incident and also requested Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service assistance.

The lifeboat was on scene within a couple of minutes and found the vessel ‘completely on fire’.

The spokesman said: ‘It was quickly established that there was only one person involved and he was safe and well away from the vessel.

‘The vessel on fire then drifted away from the pontoon and due to the flood tide went upstream. The lifeboat was able to safely attach a line and get the vessel away from other yachts and craft moored on the river.

‘Once under tow, the lifeboat crew were able to use their pump to extinguish the fire whilst they brought it to the slipway, where the fire crews from Hightown Fire Station were waiting.

‘Once it was established that there was no further danger and everything was safe, the fire crews and the lifeboat returned to their stations. Hill Head CRT and Hamble Harbour Master also attended.’

See article at Practical Boat Owner

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Motorboat & Yachting: The superyacht fire in Marmaris marina destroyed two vessels, and at least one of the owners got a considerable payout from Insurers.

 

2016 has quickly turning into the year of the superyacht fire, with major incidents in Abu Dhabi, Fethiye, Cowes and the US Virgin Islands, but for one lucky owner there is a silver lining.

His superyacht Barbie was one of the two vessels that were completely gutted by the blaze at Marmaris marina in the morning hours of January 4 after flames spread from nearby superyacht 73m Lurssen The One.

Now two months later, the Insurers Hiscox MGA of superyacht Barbie have confirmed that they have paid out $20 million (roughly £13.8 million) to the owner.

“Barbie is the largest claim that the superyacht insurance market has had to deal with in quite some time”, said Paul Miller, director of underwriting at Hiscox, in a statement released this week.

“That it was paid in full within 60 days of the event will hopefully help the owner to reach closure from this traumatic incident,” he added.

The insurance policy of superyacht Barbie was purchased through Yachtsure24 and was underwritten by a syndicate of 14 insurers, including Lloyd’s of London.

Whether the insurers can claim their costs from the owner of the other superyacht The One remains to be seen, as the cause of the Marmaris superyacht fire is still under investigation.

See article at Motorboat & Yachting

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Latest News

Is my boat covered by my home insurance?

Do I need separate insurance for my boat? Boats have a high recovery and replacement cost and come with their own risks. So, insuring them makes sense. You may find that your home or car insurance provides a degree of cover

April 2, 2020 read more