Being a yacht owner means that you have earned your place in the marine world. You’ve invested your time and money to purchase a yacht that is a testament to how successful you have been in life. You have now earned the right to spend time afloat and make the most of being on the water with your friends and family to enjoy some happy boating.
All of this comes with a big caveat. Nine out of ten of you will have learnt your trade and perfected it in fields that have proven very profitable to you, but also have nothing to do with the upkeep of your yacht. For that reason the annual running and looking after of your yacht will be an alien subject that you have the opportunity to dive head first into – if you have the time that is.
The importance of making sure that a yacht’s maintenance schedule is adhered to cannot be stressed enough from the point of insurance. Wear and Tear, Latent Defect, Adherent Vice, rot and mould are all terms that we have heard thrown around the current policies, but do we really know how they affect us and what they mean?
Wear and Tear is a great one to start off with. It is the general use of the vessel in its normal way that leads to consumable parts reaching the end of their expected life. In simple terms, it’s the process of a yacht’s equipment becoming old, which can be anticipated on every material item on the yacht that gets used. It’s an inevitability that can be prolonged by regular servicing, at which point it shouldn’t become as much of a problem as when a yacht gets left unattended or un-serviced for years to come.
This can be dealt with in a matter of ways. The most important thing is to either carry out the maintenance periodically and take advice from experts in the field to ensure that the process is done correctly. This refers to inspecting and servicing the standing/running rigging, engine, sail-drives, running gear, and through hull fittings.
Insurance will also be affected depending on how your yacht is maintained. There certainly are policies available on the market, which cover any losses as a result of a wear and tear failure, however these shouldn’t be relied upon up until the 11th hour. The result of a forestay pin failing because it has reached the end of it’s working life, could be an entire dismasting. This means that certain policies would exclude just the cost of the forestay pin, whilst other policies would not pay out at all for the loss.
Progressing passed wear and tear, we should consider latent defect in more depth. A loss as a result of latent defects is normally excluded from the majority of insurers, however some do elect to cover these losses. If Latent Defect losses are excluded from your policy, then it’s important to consult a surveyor or mechanic regularly to inspect your yacht and ensure that they cannot identify any signs of latent defect to the un-trained eye.
The ultimate solution to yacht maintenance is that the more prudent you are as an owner, the better your chances are of having a stress free yacht ownership. If everything does go pear shaped and you end up having a claim, then it’s important to pick out your policy before hand to afford the one that provides the most cover. It has to be affordable for you and provide you with the peace of mind that any claims will be paid. A combination of the aforementioned rationales will mean that you are prepared as can be for any eventuality.