Best Laid Plans

Published: April 2014

Ah, spring. After the harsh winter in most of the country, who isn't looking forward to longer, warmer days, to pulling off boat covers, to polishing and prepping for the upcoming season? As part of your spring chores, don't forget to take a look at your insurance coverage. At Seaworthy, our goal is to keep you from ever having to file a claim. But we also know from long experience that even the best of us sometimes find ourselves with a damaged boat. It might be through one silly mistake, like forgetting to put that drain plug in on your first spring outing, or it might be something that happens despite every effort to do the right thing.

Jay Hersch from Lincoln, Massachusetts owns a trailerable Hunter 27 Edge called Puffer Doodle that he keeps in his driveway, 15 miles inland, during the winter. It was there when Sandy came through in October of 2012, and should have been quite safe. "Unfortunately, as the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men oft times go astray," he wrote. The neighbor's 80-foot pine tree split in half, "with the part that split off falling onto my house and boat."

Photo of tree damaged Hunter 27 Edge boat

Photo of boat damaged by fallen tree

"The tree completely impaled itself upon the Dutton Lainson screw jack on the tongue of the trailer," Hersch continued. "Although the jack's shaft bent 45 degrees just above the wheel, the mechanism itself worked once I cut it out of the tree! Note that in impaling itself on the jack, the trunk of the tree landed perhaps 6-8 feet forward of the bow of my boat. I can only imagine how much more damage would have been done had the trunk itself hit the boat." The branches of the tree caused enough carnage, including snapping spreaders and bending the mast, breaking a portlight, crushing the bow rail, and tearing out the bow roller. About $2,000 in damage was done to Hersch's house and $14,000 to Puffer Doodle, insured by BoatUS Marine Insurance.

"All of which only goes to show," wrote Hersch, "that even if you try to take reasonable precautions to protect your boat in a bad storm (say by moving it far inland), there are always things out of your control. At least now there are no more trees on my neighbor's property, which could damage my boat, and I keep a close eye on the condition of those on mine."

If Hersch hadn't moved his boat inland, it might well have been a total loss in Sandy's storm surge. The damage that did occur was covered, and he was out on the water last summer. So make sure your policy is up to date, and then go enjoy yourself. Seaworthy will give you advice on how to avoid having to make a claim. But you can rest easy knowing that BoatUS Marine Insurance will also be there if your best laid plans go awry.End of story marker


Seaworthy, the damage-avoidance newsletter, is brought to you by the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program. For an insurance quote, please call 1-800-283-2883 or apply online at


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