With Hurricane Matthew finally headed out to sea, the storm has left damaged recreational boats in its wake.
To help affected boat owners with the recovery effort, BoatUS has tips to get the salvage process started quickly to protect and preserve the value of any boat harmed by the storm:
- Remove valuables. If a boat has washed ashore, remove as much equipment as possible and move it to a safe place to protect it from looters or vandals. It’s a good idea to put contact information somewhere conspicuously on the boat — along with a “No Trespassing” sign. But owners should never climb in or onto boats that have piled up together or are dangling precariously from dock pilings or other obstructions.
- Minimize further damage. Protect boats from further water damage resulting from exposure to the weather. This could include covering them with a tarp or boarding up broken windows or hatches. As soon as possible, owners should start to dry the boat, either by taking advantage of sunny weather or by using electric air handlers. All wet materials, such as cushions, must be removed and saved for a potential insurance claim.
- “Pickle” wet machinery. Engines and other machinery that were submerged or have gotten wet should be "pickled" by flushing with fresh water and then filled with diesel fuel or kerosene. To learn how to pickle a boat motor, click here.
- Consult your insurance provider. If a boat is sunk or must be moved by a salvage company, BoatUS recommends that boat owners should not sign any salvage or wreck-removal contract without first getting approval from their insurance company. That’s because proceeding without the insurer’s knowledge may jeopardize coverage.
The BoatUS Marine Insurance Catastrophe Team is operating in the affected areas.