Many marinas and boatyards in the North offer the peace of mind of heated indoor storage for customers.
This could lead boat owners to assume they do not have to worry about freeze-related damage to the engine. A winter storm can knock out power — meaning heat — and that can lead to ice forming inside a boat’s engine. If that happens, serious damage is possible.
Also, regardless of where a boat is stored, if the engine is winterized by a do-it-yourselfer and freeze damage occurs, the owner could be liable for the damage.
BoatUS says adding ice and freeze coverage to an insurance policy could be a smart option. It’s typically offered as a “rider” or add-on for boats stored in northern climates and BoatUS Marine Insurance offers this coverage for as little as $25.
“All it takes is a falling tree limb to take out power to a heated storage facility,” BoatUS vice president of underwriting Mike Pellerin said in a statement. “Most reputable marinas or yards will provide documentation that it professionally winterized the boat, which gives your insurance company someone to go to for damages. When a DIYer winterizes his or her boat and freeze damage occurs, the boat owner is responsible. Ice and freeze coverage provides protection that is very affordable.”
Some insurers won’t offer the additional coverage until temperatures drop, usually around the end of October, so boaters are advised to check with their insurer.