Insurers warn heavy rains can sink your boat

With downpours expected this weekend, thanks to the ‘Spanish Plume’ effect, insurers Navigators & General (N&G) are advising boat owners to take adequate precautions.

Temperatures in some parts of the UK may rise to over 30°C – as much as double the average early May figure – due to a gap in pressure systems sucking warm air up from the Western Med. But besides the tinderbox conditions found in some spots, it could also spark heavy rain and even thunderstorms, especially in the north and west.

Following the recent dry spell, wooden boats are especially vulnerable. Drains and pumps may not cope with the sudden weight of rainwater, causing seams which may have opened up to be pushed below the waterline.

Yachts may not only find their good looks ruined by water in the bilge, but unchecked, such a build-up can damage low-lying systems, even leading to sinking. Over-reliance on automatic bilge pumps appears to be best avoided.

N&G say that insurance is not straightforward and claims for damage from gradual water ingress are usually disallowed, with machinery and electrics specifically excluded in many policies. However, if an owner can show that their boat has been properly maintained and safeguarded prior to any sudden damage or loss a claim is likely to be considered more favourably.

It is usually written into a boat’s insurance policy that it be kept in a seaworthy condition – so suitable action should be taken if potentially damaging weather threatens.