by: Shaun Murphy, Pablo Beach Insurance


Storing Your Boat

For most, in the South, “winters” allow for year-round boating. However, if you’re one of those who can’t stand the thought of enduring the temperatures below the brisk 60 degrees, you may consider storing your boat for the winter.  If you do choose to store it, here are a couple of tips:

  • Make sure holding tanks are empty and fuel tanks are 3/4 full.
  • Remove all perishable food and beverages.
  • Remove all valuable items including portable electronics.
  • Open all lockers, drawers and compartments and clean thoroughly.
  • Open and clean the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Consider purchasing a mildew-free product to protect against moisture and mildew.
  • Turn your cushions on the edge to allow air to circulate or take them to a climate-controlled space.
  • Inspect your lines, fenders and other mooring gear and replace if necessary.
  • Inventory all safety equipment: PFDs, fire extinguishers, flares, etc.
  • Make sure your boat storage facility has the proper insurance coverage for their facility – and your boat – should any damage occur.

Braving Our Harsh Winter Months

If you’re one of those water-worshippers who can’t even bear the thought of storing your vessel for the winter, remember winter weather windows can be small, and you need to act fast if you want to make the most of a day on the water. Your reward will be a low sun, flat water, and sparsely populated cruising grounds. Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan to take the boat out this winter:

Keep your fuel tanks topped off

Not only does this reduce condensation in the tank, but fuel berth opening hours are likely to be reduced, and hoses may freeze or the water supplies may be turned off to protect the pipes – which makes it tricky to refill your tanks!

Protect your engine
For boats left afloat in salt water, it’s unlikely that the temperatures will dip low enough to cause any water left in the engine to freeze, but it’s worth attending to if a particularly cold snap is forecast. Make sure the coolant is topped up with the correct mix of antifreeze, and if you’re really worried, run some antifreeze through the raw-water system.
Preserve your batteries
Starting a diesel engine from cold in winter temperatures will require more power than it does in the summer, so it’s worth making sure your batteries are charged up.
Inside the cabin
If you’re keeping your bedding on board so you can make a quick getaway, consider storing it in a vacuum bag. You may also want to keep a few items of clothing in there for quick weather changes. Blankets, coats, sunglasses, gloves, scarves and hats can come in handy if that scheduled cold front arrives early on your day at sea.

Boat Insurance

Although Florida law does not require personal-use boat insurance, Florida boat owners know it’s in their best interest to protect their investments, their families, friends and fellow boaters. For personal use sailboats and powerboats, there are several types of boat insurance which boat owners should consider:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Insurance protects you if you injure someone in a boating accident;
  • Property Damage Liability covers damages your boat causes to someone else’s property, such as another boat or a dock;
  • Medical Payments Insurance covers injuries to you or to your passenger if injured while boating;
  • Comprehensive Coverage covers damage to your boat caused by incidents and factors other than a boating accident, such as theft or a windstorm;
  • Collision Coverage covers costs of repairing accident damage to your boat;
  • Uninsured Boater/Motorist Insurance helps pay for your damages including injuries, lost wages or loss of life if the other boater lacks sufficient insurance;
  • Additional Coverages include repair or replacement of items inside your boat, including fishing equipment or skiing equipment.

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