Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Insurance advice regarding ice

Interesting and useful information regarding ice and insurance....

Lets hope not too many have to use their insurance policies when we thaw.....(including me)


Date: 12th January 2010

Internet boat insurers Craftinsure are pleased to distribute the following circular to customers who are concerned at possible damage to their boats due to the recent freezing conditions, with many craft icebound on lakes and inland waterways.

In one case recently the owner of a river cruiser moored in the Lake District reported that ice at least an inch thick surrounded the boat and was creaking loudly. They had been up in the night trying to keep the ice broken but this became too difficult. As the steep slipway nearby was unusable due to the weather conditions, bringing the boat ashore was not an option.

The good news is that, based on advice received from surveyors and others in the marine trade, ice, even when quite thick, is very unlikely to crush or seriously damage boats whilst moored.

Trying to move a boat in ice however is more likely to cause damage, particularly if the ice is thick, as broken ice can be sharp and cause damage to paint and gelcoat. Craftinsure also warns owners not to risk personal safety in the icy conditions.

Wooden hulls may be more susceptible to damage from ice than fibreglass or steel. In the past, caulking in seams could loosen after thawing, resulting in leaks which could cause boats to flood and even sink. Luckily most boats nowadays do not use these methods of construction but if you own such a boat you will need to be more vigilant.

Onboard heating and running of engines occasionally may help prevent problems internally but are unlikely to create enough heat around the outside of the hull to make a significant difference at the waterline where temperatures will be well below freezing.

Even ashore, boats are not immune to winter risks. Craftinsure has had at least one claim already where the accumulation of snow on a barn roof caused it to collapse on top of the boat inside! Snow should be cleared off boat canopies and awnings when possible as again, large accumulations could cause damage.

A more common problem following long spells of cold weather is damage to water systems, seacocks and machinery. Winterisation of engines is obviously important as frost damage is a major risk unless the manufacturer's recommendations have been followed. Most insurance policies only cover frost damage to machinery where owners can show this is the case. Any fresh water systems should be drained unless the boat is kept heated.

As and when the thaw finally arrives, owners need to check their boats over carefully, and in some cases they made need to prepare for the additional risk of flooding as water levels rise again.

For those living aboard, ensure the boat remains ventilated to minimise the risk of a build up of noxious fumes/gases, especially where naked flame type heating is in use. Avoid leaving such heaters unattended, and under no circumstances should combustible material such as clothing or paper be left on top of heaters of this type in case of fire.

Rod Daniel ACII


Anonymous said...

Another good reason for having an old tyre between each end of the boat and the piling me thinks. Cheers, Chris.

Nev Wells said...


I could not imagine being moored where we are and not having such protection.

Is the ice gone now at Hunts?


Anonymous said...

It has where you are, but not quite where we are. Tomorrow morning will see it all gone with a bit of luck and we can move to the water point for the first time in over two weeks