Wednesday, 25 July 2012

So what does it all Mean?

Boat insurance is a something we all take for granted, we must have it and it provides that peace of mind of knowing that when something goes wrong you’re covered.
However how many of us truly understand the terminology that is used to quantify the cover that is provided? The following guide looks at some of the terminology that is used and how it can affect you if you do not fully understand the implications.
The following explanations have been put together using  a number of insurance  policies to provide a generalised description of the terminology, please refer to your own policy or insurance company for exact meanings.
Seaworthy –fit to encounter the ordinary perils of the sea, rivers, lakes, and  any other navigable waterways and suitably moored, crewed, equipped, fuelled, provisioned and with all equipment in proper working s order.  Seaworthyness applies not only to the hull but to all of your boat including parts, gear, equipment and machinery. 
In layman’s terms :- The hull, machinery and all equipment must be ‘fit for purpose’. In addition this also stipulates you have the correct knowledge and crew, and are fuelled and provisioned for your journey. 
Peril – The cause of the loss, damage or accident. Typically Fire, Lightening, Explosion, Theft, Malicious damage or Vandalism, weather event, Freezing of Machinery (as long as it has been winterised correctly) and Accidents.
This is at the heart of every claim – “was the damage caused by an insured peril?”  and will dictate if the claim is covered by your insurance policy.
Duty of Care (due diligence) – you take all reasonable steps to maintain and keep your vessel and its gear and equipment in a proper state of repair and seaworthiness and take all reasonable steps to protect your insured property from loss or damage. 
Weather event- an unusual strong force of wind, heavy prolonged rain fall, snow or sleet, freezing conditions resulting in ice, flooding of lakes and rivers beyond bounds. ( this can only be classed as loss when  as a direct result of a sudden and sever event) This would be classed as one of the Perils resulting in a claim.  
Accidental Damage –  Loss or damage to the vessel and associated equipment as agreed up to the total value insured due to external accidental means, fire, explosion, negligence, malicious acts and other causes specified in the policy. 
This covers most common issues ,( not caused by third parties) encountered whilst boating; loss or damage to the rudder, propeller, shaft, machinery or keel from hitting something underwater, grounding, sinking and water damage are all typical claims covered under accidental damage.
Fault – A failure in or of the design, manufacture or installation of a component or part of you vessel.
Modification  - made to the vessels super structure,  extended, major changes to the layout, additional structures built, and new engines fitted all of these have to be notified to an insurer, this may or many not result in a survey being required to access seaworthiness but in many cases much like vehicles if you make any changes then it is always prudent to let your insurer know.
Mitigate damage/loss – In the event of an incident that may give rise to a claim, you must take all necessary steps to minimise and prevent further loss.  Following partial or full immersion of your vessels machinery you must administer first aid. 
When loss or damage occurs act you must act as if uninsured. This may seem unusual advice but it is most important that, in the event of any incident involving your vessel you must take all reasonable steps to minimize the loss.  All reasonable charges, including salvage charges, incurred to prevent or minimise a loss by any risk is usually recoverable. You must notify your insurance company as quickly as possible.
Salvage - The act of saving imperilled property from loss.
 In the event of you requiring assistance from salvors it is imperative that you do not put life at risk by any delay in accepting salvage services. A potential salvor may be prepared to assist on a fixed price basis and only agree a price which you would be reasonably prepared to meet yourself in the event of having no benefit of insurance cover
Expense of Inspection (bottom inspection) the expense of inspecting the Vessel after grounding (even if no damage is found); 
Typical Limitations – please check your policy wording
  • Loss or damage whilst left unattended on moorings unless otherwise agreed.
  • any loss, damage, liability or expense directly or indirectly arising from: lack of reasonable maintenance; or wear and tear
  • any liability to any person if they or anyone else has paid for them to be on-board the Vessel
  • unrepaired damage, any failed repair, alteration, modification or  maintenance work carried out on the Vessel 
  • Loss or damage to machinery  caused by fire or electrical failure of an item of machinery

Friday, 6 July 2012

Dramatic rescue on the River Soar

RCR have been involved in the dramatic rescue of a narrowboat on the River Soar at Ratclife in Nottinghamshire which saw their boat got caught by the current in the swollen river. The stretch on which the boat became stuck was a backwater taking excess water from the canal and, due to the recent heavy rain, was expected to rise even further during the hours shortly after the incident.
Thankfully the boat came to rest on the edge of the wear but this was directly under a concrete bridge. The result was just a few inches of clearance between the boat roof and the bridge. With levels continuing to rise the situation was likely to only get worse.
The fire brigade attended to rescue the crew on board, and RCR received a call from Nottingham fire brigade Chief, Mr Brambley, to ask if RCR could assist? RCR arranged for a tug and local contractors Redhill to attend whilst a rescue team were scrambled. When the team arrived Redhill had already got ropes on to the boat and brought in a JCB to help pull the boat. Due to the heavy rain and resulting high water levels the current was so strong the tug had little chance of pulling the boat on its own. The RCR team coordinated the rescue and manoeuvred the vessel whilst the tug and JCB took the strain.
As can be seen in the photos the weir is on a sharp bend off the main river, and with poor access the job was split in to two halves. Firstly, the aim was to get the boat off the weir, which was accomplished in stages. Weeds hampered the rescue and grounded the vessel on a number of occasions. but finally the boat was free of the weir and the bridge and was moored up for the night. Unfortunately the tug too had a few issues and with a fouled prop and had to be moored up as well.
The following day the rescue team and Redhill marine retuned to site and, after negotiation with local farmers, were able to get access (via the field) to the tow path on the main river. As there were approx’ 100mtrs between the boat and the towpath, the team used some novel techniques to string a rope between the two. By employing a tractor they then pulled, first the tug and then the vessel backwards against the current on to the main waterways. - a 5 hr exercise! The whole rescue involved a lot of planning and H&S assessments before the maneuver could take place.

Finally the boat was cruised back to Redhill’s moorings, but just in the nick of time as within an hour the river levels had risen by over a foot. It was then clear that if the boat had not been rescued it would have ended up either in the garden of the house adjacent, wedged under the bridge or down the weir.
The St John’s ambulance were on site taking care of the boat owners, and BW personnel assisted by closing the waterways and towpath to ensure that the rescue could be completed.  The whole event caught the attention of the BBC’s local news team who filmed a report that was published on the BBC’s news website at