Batten down the hatches - there's more extreme weather on its way!

A

surge of boat insurance claims has followed recent storms and ‘the windiest

month to hit Britain in 10 years’.

And now the Coastguard, Environment Agency and Met Office are again issuing weather warnings as gale-force gusts and heavy winds move across the country.

Navigators

& General, one of the UK’s leading pleasure boat insurers, reported a

‘record breaking number of calls’ to its 24-hour helpline, over the Christmas

period, when the worst of the recent extreme weather hit.

All

available employees were deployed to man the phones at its Brighton-based

contact centre.

Martin

Lovell, Navigators & General claims manager, said: ‘Inevitably the adverse

weather conditions have affected a large number of UK boat owners, with damage

ranging from torn canopies to vessels breaking free from their moorings and

unfortunately a number of storm related sinkings.

‘Our

claims team have been exceptionally busy helping our customers from authorising

emergency repairs to arranging salvage for the unfortunate few whose vessels

came away from moorings or sunk.’

Pantaenius

UK reported ‘a modest increase in claim numbers’. A spokesman said: ‘Thanks to

our 24 hour emergency helpline and swift response from our surveyors,

everything was dealt with rapidly.’

Peter

Clark of C Claims said there were numerous storm claims including ‘vessels

which have ended up in gardens.’

He added: ‘The volume of claims were certainly much higher although I

don’t think they have amounted to a huge amount of money. Our out of hours C

Claims Helpline was red hot throughout the Christmas-New Year period.’

Analysis

by the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre found that December

2013 was the stormiest December since records started in 1969 and the windiest

month for the UK since January 1993.

Even

the usually sheltered Hamble, the river with the most boats in Britain, two

boats sank and yachts were damaged when storms swept in from the Atlantic. 

‘A massive triage job’

River

Hamble Harbourmaster David Evans said the office tower’s anenometer registered

60 knot gusts on 23 December, when a Force 11 pushed a big flood tide up the

narrow river.

The

harbour team worked flat out to attend bouncing boats, replacing a broken warp

here, a fender there, but were forced to suspend operations at midday when

conditions became too dangerous.

Overnight

the winds increased and on Christmas Eve morning Evans and his team found the

storm’s aftermath to include two boats sunk on their moorings – a lifting-keel

trailer-sailer and a 7m motorboat, a capsized pontoon, several damaged boats. A

9m sailing cruiser had broken free from its moorings and at least five concrete

pontoon floats that come loose and careered around the river causing

destruction.

An ‘uncountable number’ of fenders popped out

resulting in damage to topsides. The harbour patrol replaced as many as

possible and also replaced around 200 metres of rope. ‘It was a massive triage

job, said Evans.