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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoWhy Boats Sink: 10 Prevention Tips from BoatUS

Your boat has gone down. It’s something none of us wants to ever think of. But it happens. My industry buddy Scott Croft sent this one over in hopes that it just might prevent such a loss from happening. Taking some precautionary steps will go a long way to avoiding such grief. Be safe everyone. -Capt. Ken

When a boat sinks, that’s likely the end of her. That’s because repairs on a sunken boat often cost more than the actual value of the boat. So if boaters want to prevent a sinking at all costs, what can they do? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recently took its first significant look since 2006 at its boat insurance claims files to identify the causes of boat sinkings and found that most were preventable. About two out of every three (69%) boats sink at the dock or mooring, while the remainder (31%) sink while underway.

Of all of the dock/mooring sinkings, 39% occur when some small part gives up the fight with water due to wear, tear and corrosion. When it comes to gradual leaks due to slowly failing parts, too many boats existed in a “zombie state” somewhere between floating and sinking, dependent upon the bilge pump, which merely postponed the sinking until the pump failed or was overwhelmed. This one is a no-brainer: lack of maintenance is the factor here.

For boat sinkings while underway, the most common cause (43%) is hitting something – a log, the bottom or colliding with another boat or dock. Some of these sinkings might have been avoided if some extra care had been taken – and some can be chalked up to simply bad luck.

Interestingly, low-cut transoms that were common on boats in the 1990’s and a cause of sinkings is no longer much of a factor, as contained splash wells separating the interior of the boat from the transom are more common in boat designs today. However, being swamped while tied stern-to waves remains a cause.

Most boats sink at the dock, like this center console that went under due to a failed hose clamp. (Editor’s note: an infographic showing why boats sink is available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11981774.htm.)

Most boats sink at the dock, like this center console that went under due to a failed hose clamp. (Editor’s note: an infographic showing why boats sink is available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11981774.htm.)

To prevent a sinking, here are ten tips from the boat owner’s group:

1: For inboard-outboard powered boats, inspect sterndrive bellows annually and replace every three to five years. The shift bellows is usually the first to fail.
2: For inboard powered boats, check the stuffing box every time you visit the boat, and repack – rather than simply tighten down the nut – every spring.
3: For engines with raw water hoses, replace them the moment they indicate wear – such as when small cracks appear or they feel “spongy” when squeezed. Rusty hose clamps are also a concern and should be replaced.
4: Replace the engine cooling system impeller every two to three years.
5: Inspect the boat’s cockpit and live well plumbing – again look at hoses, clamps, and cracked or broken fittings. Make sure you can inspect all such plumbing, and if you can’t, install inspection ports to make the task easier.
6: Each season take are hard look at all below-waterline fittings, hoses, and clamps.
7: Don’t forget the drain plug – you knew this one would be on the list.
8: Keep a good lookout and ask guests to help keep their eyes peeled for deadheads. If you’ve grounded or hit something, consider a short-haul to inspect the bottom or drive gear.
9: Always pull trailerable boats from the water when storms are forecast. These boats generally have too little freeboard to stand up to any kind of wave action.
10: Dock line management systems that keep the boat centered in its slip can prevent snags that sometimes lead to a sinking.

About BoatUS: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour dispatch, on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits including marina and service discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating and offers a range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – that can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.

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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

BoatuslogoTowing vs. Salvage: What Boaters Should Know

The Advantage of BoatUS Membership

Ahoy all hands! My good industry friend Scott Croft, who handles all media and information for BoatUS, has often sent in many important and relevant postings to the Boat & Yacht Report. Here is his latest. Hopefully, you will never have to deal with this kind of situation but should you be faced with it, you just might be able to avoid further entanglements. -Capt. Ken

On the water breakdowns, running aground or other mishaps can ruin a day of boating or fishing. But when a boat offering assistance arrives on the scene, how do you know if the service is a “tow” or a “salvage” job? If you’re ever in doubt, ask the boat’s captain. That’s because there could be a big difference in the cost of each service and who will pay the bill, says Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).

While there is sometimes a fine line between the towing and salvage, there are a few clear indicators that point to each. With salvage, it is the existence of “peril.” Historically and legally, salvage is any voluntary and successful rescue of a boat and/or its cargo from a peril at sea. Today that definition also includes avoiding or reducing damage to a marine environment.

Providing voluntary and successful service to vessels hard aground, on rocks, taking on water or sunk is generally considered salvage, as are rescues necessitated by collisions, fires, breakaways or other types of immediate peril. Salvage may also come into play when specialized equipment such as pumps, air bags, or divers are called for – even if the boat is at the dock.

Is this a towing job or a salvage job? Boats that are hard aground like this cruiser are most likely to be declared salvage, which is not typically covered by a towing service plan, says BoatUS.

Is this a towing job or a salvage job? Boats that are hard aground like this cruiser are most likely to be declared salvage, which is not typically covered by a towing service plan, says BoatUS.

On the other hand, when there is very little or no peril or damage to a vessel – you have a towing situation, which is far more common. Technically, this service is still salvage but of a “low order,” meaning minimal peril. A typical example is when you run out of gas or have a dead battery, and have subsequently dropped anchor to await assistance. Waters are calm, you’re no threat to navigation, and your crew and boat are fine. Ninety-nine percent of the 70,000 requests to BoatUS 24-Hour Dispatch Centers for on the water assistance last year were for routine towing services.

BoatUS members benefit from a special agreement with the TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist on the water towing fleets that treat some low order salvage situations as towing services. For example, if a boat is soft aground, this agreement ensures that if there is little peril, no damage to the member’s disabled boat, and no special equipment such as pumps are needed it’s a simple towing job. BoatUS cautions this service is still technically salvage and that other commercial towing companies may not honor this agreement.

All TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist companies are committed to informing the owner or operator of a disabled boat – before beginning any work – if the services they are offering are towing or salvage. If the owner/operator is not on board or the conditions are so perilous and the rescue of the boat requires immediate action, they will be notified as soon as possible after saving the boat.

Nationwide, towing and soft ungrounding costs average about $600 and $800, respectively. These are either paid by an annual towing service plan or out-of-pocket by the boater.

Salvage services are generally covered by insurance or out-of-pocket if self-insured and are much more expensive than a tow. Salvage awards are the legal system’s way to award a rescuer who risks their boat and themselves to save a boat in peril. Salvage charges can be calculated based on the length of the vessel saved or a request for a percentage of the boat’s post-casualty value. While it’s a reward for successful and voluntary service, the dollar amount awarded factors in, among other things, the degree of peril as well as the risk to the salvor and their crew.

There are significant expenses in operating and maintaining a professional towing operation such as captain’s and staff salaries, insurance, equipment maintenance and increasing fuel costs, not to mention capital expenses such as towboats and other specialized recovery equipment – and it must be available at a moment’s notice.

Time and circumstances permitting, if your on the water assistance provider says it will be a salvage job, boaters should try to call their insurance company so they may attempt to negotiate with the salvor before the operation gets underway. If circumstances don’t allow this, ask the salvor for a fixed price and try to get it in writing.

Boaters should review their boat’s insurance policy to ensure it fully covers salvage. Some policies have limits, high deductibles, or may not include environmental damage – all of which would have to be paid out-of-pocket.

BoatUS also suggests having a copy of the BoatUS Open Form Yacht Salvage Contract aboard, which assures that any salvage claim will go to local binding arbitration if negotiations between your insurance company and salvor fails. Designed to be more understandable, relevant to US laws and potentially money-saving for all parties, the BoatUS Open Form Contract is available free of charge at BoatUS.com/salvage.

For more information on towing and salvage, go to: BoatUS.com/salvage.

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About BoatUS Towing Services: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with a wide array of consumer services, including on water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist. Combined, these two towing fleets offer boaters, anglers and sailors the world’s largest network of towing ports with over 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels — three times larger than the closest competitor.

 

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2014 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

Boatuslogo

BoatUS has been an invaluable resource for lots of great information here at the Boat & Yacht Report. For this edition, we look at some helpful tips to get you more informed about how to best protect your investment. If you have any questions on this particular topic, be sure to get in touch with BoatUS at http://www.BoatUS.com -Capt. Ken

Five Ways Your Boat’s Insurance Policy Can Fail You
A Quick Check Up

Insurance is one of those things you hope you never have to use, but if you do, you expect the policy to fix the boat or compensate you fairly. If you haven’t taken a close look at your boat insurance, you could be surprised to find that you may not be entitled to a payout with some common types of claims. That’s because unlike home or auto, boat insurance policies offer a wide range of coverage, from very little to a lot. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recently took a look at the most common claims over the past five years, and has these tips so you will know if your boat’s insurance policy will live up to your expectations:

Consequential Damage: If you take hurricane losses out of the list of common claims, the number one claim is for sinking, and half of all sinkings occur at the dock when some small part below the waterline fails. The most common culprits include hoses/hose clamps, stuffing boxes, outdrive bellows, and sea strainers. But these parts most often fail due to “wear, tear, and corrosion” which is a lack of maintenance issue, so policies won’t pay you for a new outdrive bellows or sea strainer. But what about the rest of the boat sitting sunk on the lake bottom? Some policies won’t cover that, either, as they exclude any “consequential” damage as a result of wear, tear and corrosion. That’s why you need “Consequential Damage” coverage that covers losses that often start with a failed part.

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Boat owners may be surprised to find their boat’s insurance policy may not cover a common sinking like this.

Salvage: Hurricanes lead the list of most common claims from 2008 to 2012. In every hurricane boats get scattered and need to be salvaged and safely brought back to their storage area. That takes cranes, travel lifts, flatbed trucks, and other heavy equipment that typically costs hundreds of dollars per foot of boat length. However, as a few boaters found out with Hurricane Sandy, some policies subtract the money paid to salvage the boat from what you get paid to fix the boat, while others only offer salvage coverage up to 25% or 30% of the insured value. A better policy provides separate salvage coverage up to the insured value of the boat – in addition to any payments to fix the boat or replace equipment.

Wreck removal: When fires, sinkings, hurricanes or running up on a shoal destroy your boat, you end up with a “wreck.” Most boaters assume their insurance company will cover the cost of cleaning up what’s left, but some policies will give you a check for the insured value and only a specified percentage for wreck removal – 3% to 10% is typical – and walk away. That leaves your wallet short and you managing a job you have little knowledge of. Better policies pay up to the liability limit, usually $100,000 or more, to clean up the mess, and don’t let you go it alone.

Liability-only policies: Looking through the claims files, injuries make the top ten list for payouts not because of their frequency, but because settlements tend to be expensive. Having no insurance could leave you open to a six-figure settlement. If you have a liability-only policy, the better ones will cover injuries as well as salvage, wreck removal and fuel-spill liability.

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About BoatUS: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour dispatch, on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits including marina and service discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

TowBoatUS Cape  Coral

TowBoatUS is ready to assist in any way they can. Photo Credit: TowBoatUS Cape Coral.


TowBoatUS Cape Coral Earns “Tower Of The Year” Award

An on-the-water towboat company that helps Southwest Florida boaters get home safely was singled out for its professionalism at the BoatUS Towing Services Annual Conference recently held in Tampa, FL. Tower of the Year honors went to TowBoatUS Cape Coral, which is owned and operated by Capt. Richard Paul and Capt. Jay McMillin. The company has locations in Cape Coral, Ft. Myers Beach and North Ft. Myers. Services offered include jump-starts, soft ungroundings, tows back to launch ramps, marinas or home docks, and fuel drop offs.

Paul’s and McMillin’s locally-owned company is part of a nationwide network of 300 ports and fleet of 600 TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist towboats. The company was honored for its near-perfect towing dispatch operation, superior customer service and satisfaction, as well as towing case management. The company also ranked fifth in the fleet for new membership sales. Additionally, TowBoatUS Cape Coral was honored with the distinguished Dispatchers Choice of the Year Award for the Gulf Coast States region – for the second year in a row.

Award-winning TowBoatUS Cape Coral, Florida, crew.

Paul and McMillin first met over 17 years ago working at Publix Supermarkets, where both were former store managers before retiring and purchasing their first location, TowBoatUS Cape Coral, in 2005. Since then, they have expanded their operations to Ft. Myers Beach as well as North Ft. Myers. These additional locations have led to faster on-the-water response times, greatly decreasing the time it takes to arrive on scene. “With close to 2000 on-the-water tows annually, as well as un-groundings, adding these ports has been a huge complement to our business,” said Capt. Paul.

“What sets Paul’s and McMillin’s operation apart, is their deep commitment to marketing efforts that have really helped spread the word about our on-the-water towing services,” said BoatUS Vice President of Towing Services Jerry Cardarelli. “We are also very proud of their staffs’ professionalism and their deep commitment to providing Outstanding Customer Service.”

Much like an auto club, BoatUS Towing Services offers an “unlimited” towing plan for Florida boaters for just $149 a year, which includes BoatUS membership. Without a towing plan, the national average out-of-pocket cost for a tow is about $600. For another $14, those who trailer their boats on the road can also take advantage of BoatUS’ Trailer Assist program which will tow both a boat trailer and tow vehicle up to 100 miles to a safe location or home.

For membership and towing information visit http://towboatuscapecoral.com, or call 800-888-4869.

About BoatUS: BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services.  For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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