Those weather conditions resulted in an urgent email from one of my tall ship clients, informing me that his beautiful vessel blew over onto her side while laid up at a shipyard. She was dismasted, the bowsprit was broken, a jack stand pierced her hull and there were other damages too numerous to list. In short, she was an expensive mess requiring repairs that need to be finished by next summer so she can earn a living for the owners.

Now we’re faced with what the client needs to know to deal with this dilemma. That knowledge is the same in the winter as the summer, because it’s all the same damn wind.

First, do I need my own surveyor? Usually not, because the insurer will hire a claim surveyor who will work with you and the repair yard to get the vessel back to its pre-damage state. In usual commercial vessel hull policies, repairs are based on a “new for old” basis, which means no depreciation. Knowing this, you don’t have to worry about having to look for used anything in the repair. 

Next, are you making yourself available during the repair period? If not, there will be delays until you sign off on any changes. Remember you own the vessel so you’re the only one who can say what’s supposed to happen. Your insurer would like to think they have control but all they have is a contractual agreement called an insurance policy. They can suggest what course of action to take, but you’re the one who signs off.

Finally, was the shipyard at fault for not blocking your vessel correctly? After all, she tipped over. For several reasons, I’d let my insurance company handle that fight. 

First, your policy pays new for old and the yard would owe a depreciated amount. Second, why get your boatyard mad at you? Let the insurer be the bad guy, not you. 


A collection of stories from guest authors.