The Boat Claims of Winter
December 10th, 2014
It is a common misconception in the boating community that once boats are hauled out for winter storage that they are much safer. Our claims statistics tell a different story. Here is my list of the Top Claims of Winter
- Theft. The week after haul out and the week before launch are active times for thieves. They know the equipment is all on board and many have shiny new outboards hanging off the transom waiting to be grabbed. If you have a ladder next to your cradle keep it locked so it is not easy to board. You should also remove portable electronics.
- Snow load damage. Poor tarps and boats with no winter frames (aka hard back) can suffer crushing damage due to snow load in some areas of Canada. Crushed windshields, smashed hatches, bent pulpits and deformed canvas tops are the most likely damages.
- Freezing damage. Many boat policies exclude damage caused by freezing
- but other cover this damage if the owner can prove the boat was properly winterized. Split pipes, cracked engine blocks and flooding due to damaged scupper hoses top this list.
- Animals. Squirrels , raccoons, mice are just waiting to move into your cozy boat. Some may be there right now. They tear it up, foul the carpets and chew the wires all winter while you dream of boating. In the spring these dreams can turn to nightmares if you are not checking your boat and keeping the tarp secured.
- High Winds. sailboats stored with masts up are at the highest risk of being knocked over. When one goes over it usually takes many more like expensive dominoes.
- Snowplows and other vehicles. If your boat is parked next to a lane way or path in the yard then you are at risk of being hit by vehicles.
- Inconsiderate Neighbours Doing winter work. If your neighbour is grinding or sanding his bottom and the overspray is landing on your deck it can result in severe staining of the gelcoat. Make sure your club or marina has a policy for enclosing boats being worked on over the winter.
- Fire. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it can result in dozens of boats being destroyed. Fibreglass boats ignite easily and go up in flames quickly and are hard to extinguish. In more remote areas the entire yard could be destroyed before fire rescue teams arrive. In winter we store boats in close quarters so fire spreads very quickly. Don’t leave boats plugged in unless you are on site,
never use open flame heaters or propane heaters, remove portable fuel tanks and propane cylinders.