In yacht clubs across Canada, as sailboats are hauled-out and winterized, the question always comes up: Should the mast remain up during the winter, or de-masted and stored separately? 

The answer?

“As in most questions related to insurance the answer is: it depends, so contact your boat insurance broker before you make any decision.” stated Andrew Robertson, Senior Vice President, Gallagher Skippers’ Plan.

Some insurance companies require the mast to be removed from the boat when stored on shore. Gallagher Skippers’ Plan policies do not require the mast to be removed in the winter. In our experience, there are more claims for masts being dropped by inexperienced and/or careless owners during launch and haul-out.

The sailboat mast is now the most expensive part of the boat to replace. If your boat is over 20 years old, the cost to purchase a new mast is likely more than the boat is worth. So when the mast breaks the boat is usually a constructive total loss.

A good boat insurance broker, is there to share experience and advise, so that boat owners can make informed decisions.

Here are some considerations for every boat owner who decides to store their sailboat mast-up:

 Most policies exclude damage caused by corrosion and normal wear and tear, so Gallagher Skippers’ Plan recommends removing the mast at least every three years for a complete mast inspection and replacing the standing rigging altogether when it’s 20+ years or if it shows signs of damage.

This is not considered accidental damage and is not covered by your boat insurance policy.

If the rigging is not properly secured a claim could be denied under the exclusion for “lack of reasonable care in the maintenance of the boat”. This is a good time to check your boat insurance policy.

NEVER secure winter covers to the jack stands. The cover acts like a sail and can pull the jack stand loose.

Freezing damage is not covered by insurance.

At Gallagher Skippers’ Plan, we develop strong relationships with our clients. Our seasoned marine insurance brokers are here to years of boating experience and knowledge. We want to be your first call!

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Gallagher Skippers’ Plan Boat Insurance
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