Accidental Humor

Did You Hear The One About ...?

By Bob Adriance

Insurance claims are never funny, but as H.L. Mencken once said, some people can see humor in their own toothaches.

In the course of a week at BoatUS Dispatch Emergency Assistance, which is part of our insurance claims department, hundreds of first reports are phoned in. Many are your garden-variety busted- propeller, ran-aground sort of call. But on occasion, the department gets a call that's a little out of the ordinary. Here's a small sampling from over the years that take the edge off an otherwise serious business.

  • The insured had stored his LORAN in a microwave to keep it from sliding around. His grandson went below to make dinner and, well, you know the rest.
  • Caller was anchored near Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia. While fishing, he looked astern and began to notice Buoy 48 moving toward his boat. By the time he confirmed movement, it was too late to raise the anchor. The buoy, he said,"collided" with his boat's transom.
  • In the case of a dismasted boat, the insured said he accidentally removed the wrong pin and the mast fell down. Unfortunately, he was at the top of the mast, in a bosun's chair, at the time. Luckily, he landed in the water.
  • While hauling the boat onto a trailer, an acquaintance of the boat owner gave the engine too much power. The boat came flying up over the trailer, crashed onto the truck, and the boat owner broke his toe jumping out of the way.
  • A boat owner was trying to raise anchor while his wife was at the helm. He told her to drive the boat forward to free it. She gunned it, the anchor flew out of the water, struck the boat, bounced up, and knocked the boat owner overboard.
  • While fishing, the insured's daughter was casting and yelled that she'd caught "a big one"! Upon closer inspection, she discovered that she had hooked her screaming dad on the back of the head.
  • When the powerboat collided with a sailboat, the owners claimed that the collision was no one's fault, as neither boater had seen the other.
  • The insured was having trouble with his outboard. While he was inspecting the fuel connection, his wife squeezed the bulb and squirted gasoline in his face. 

— Published: June/July 2014

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