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For some boats, once you’ve winter-proofed your craft, there are many different options for storage, each comes with its own risks so must be carefully thought-through and assessed. Boats are an expensive investment and it’s essential to mitigate the chances of anything going awry.
One of the safest, and most secure methods is dry stack storage; this is a facility in which boats are stored in racks, several feet off the ground. These facilities are secure, often kept under surveillance which reduces the risk of criminal damage or theft while the boat isn’t in use. The storage facilities are protected from the elements and reduce the chances of the vessel suffering from rust or corrosion. Sun and wind damage can also create longer term problems. Some dry stack storage facilities also provide a full ‘concierge’ service, whereby as well as simply taking, storing and returning boats, they can also offer winterization services; draining and corrosion protection of engines, changing fuel filters and shrink wrapping vessels for example.
Though an ideal place to store boats, inevitably this type of facility comes at a price, and you may need to plan ahead if you want to launch your boat as some marinas will require notice in advance. Most marinas will charge a hefty sum each time you want to access or return your boat to the water.
Aside from the cost, there are a number of other disadvantages to consider. Firstly, the inherent and obvious risk of storing something of significant weight many feet in the area, and in close proximity to other vessels of varying value and weight.
Like any significant and long-term purchase, we advise boat owners to:
Currently there is no recognised body that assures quality for dry boat storage such as CaSSOA, the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association and subsidiary of Arc Legal Group who provide independent accreditation to caravan storage sites for their security features, access and amenities.
Owning a boat can be a fantastic experience, but it’s important to take the storage of your vessel seriously. But even with the best possible care and attention, things can still go wrong. We receive calls from policyholders about legal disputes surrounding boat ownership.
The policyholder made a claim for a stolen engine whilst their motor boat was being stored in what the policyholder believed was a safe and secure storage facility. The motor boat was in fact stored in an unsecured field, and thieves cut the electrical wiring and stole the Yamaha 150hp outboard engine. The policyholder estimated that the cost to replace the engine was between £11,500 and £15,000.
The theft itself was not covered by the policyholder’s Marine Legal Expenses Insurance policy, however because the motor boat was stored in an unsecured area this constituted a breach of contract, and therefore the policyholder was able to make a claim for a contractual dispute for the cost to replace the stolen engine.
Our recommended solicitor negotiated an agreement with the storage company who proposed a settlement of £10,495 for the cost of a replacement engine, plus free fitting and discounted winter storage and mooring.
Our recommended solicitors made further negotiations, and the policyholder received an undisclosed offer which they accepted.
The total solicitor costs amounted to £1,800, all of which covered under the policy.
So as winter approaches and you start thinking about where and how to store your vessel securely, remember that our specialist Marine Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) team is on hand to support customers with expert, knowledgeable legal advice.
We’re very much looking forward to attending the Southampton International Boat Show this week, we’ll see you there!
Richard Finan, Director of Strategic Development
For further information on the above, or details of our products and services, please contact your Partnerships Manager or email [email protected].