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.