doing absolutely nothing to protect the
boat. A bona fide winter cover, on the other
hand, is terrific protection. Three of the 40
claims involved expensive Biminis that were
destroyed over the winter. Biminis should
be stored inside the boat over the winter or
taken home for cleaning and safekeeping.
a combination of slack dock lines and rising
tides when it got caught under the dock.
This can happen anytime, but is more likely
to happen in the winter when tides can be
exaggerated by blustery winds. Dock lines,
spring lines, and fenders should be used to
keep the boat well away from a dock. All
lines should be protected against chafe.
LEAVING OPEN BOATS IN THE
WATER OVER THE WINTER
6Boats with low freeboard are also vulnerable to the weight of snow and ice in the cockpit. One boat sank and
another was damaged when the sterns were
shoved under by accumulated snow. While
a well-supported cover would certainly help,
the most effective solution is to store boats
with low freeboard ashore for the winter.
While the 40 winterizing claims involved
mistakes made by the skippers, the problem
of boats blocked incorrectly by boatyards
is certainly in evidence in the BoatU.S.
Insurance claim files. Boats stored ashore
should be supported by a cradle or by
jackstands tied together with chains and
supported with plywood bases so they won’t
sink into the mud or asphalt. Jackstands (at
least three on each side for boats longer than
26 feet) should be positioned at the bulk-
heads, with blocks used beneath the boat
to support the engine and keel. Some boats
have specific requirements for support of
things like keels; if the marina manager isn’t
familiar with your boat, check your owner’s
manual or contact the manufacturer. Boats
stored ashore should always be level.
OTHER COMMON MISTAKES
Some “unusual” claims speak for themselves. One was for a hose in the dockside
water system that froze and split, eventually sinking the boat. Why, you might ask,
would someone leave the fresh-water system
hooked up over the winter? Good question. The owner didn’t have a good answer.
Another boat was “pushed” underwater by
Bob Adriance is editor of Seaworthy, the
damage-avoidance eNewsletter produced by the
BoatU.S. Marine Insurance division. Seaworthy
is e-mailed free to Members quarterly.
INSURANCE INFO FOR A BOATU.S. INSURANCE QUOTE CALL
1-800-283-2883 OR APPLY ONLINE AT www.BoatUS.com/Insurance
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OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2011
BoatU.S. Magazine | 77