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MDDesperado 02-05-2004 05:01 PM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
Worst boating news possible. Harbormaster called to say my 40 foot sailboat has sunk in an Annapolis-area creek.

I checked and she''s completely under, with only the mast showing.

The creek is frozen and the ice is probably a couple of inches thick (temps here have ranged from mid-teens to high-30s during the last 2-3 weeks, but most of the time have been in the mid- to high-20s.)

Not sure what caused the sinking. There are at least a half dozen other boats in the water moored nearby. The harbormaster and I will check it out tomorrow in the daylight; he''s concerned with leaking diesel fuel. Thirty gallon tank was filled.

Contacted insurance company -- Boat U.S.-- and they''ll get a claims adjuster on it right away.

I''ve got lots of questions, ranging from how quickly to raise her (asap, I would think), to repairing her. What things should I consider/watch out for/demand, etc.? What systems will have to be replaced? What can be fixed or repaired? What about the engine, an original Perkins? Electronics? Wiring? Will she be structually weakened?

What''s the first thing I should do? Next? After that????

I want to make sure that I''m not short-changed by the insurance company, and that she''s put back in top notch working condition. I assume thatt virtually all the costs will be covered by insurance. Is that right? The agreed upon hull value is about $1K less than I paid for her. What''s gonna be on my nickel?

I cannot imagine what caused this...I cannot imagine that something I did or didn''t do was the root cause, but I guess that''s always possible. If I have some/all culpability, how does that impact my insurance claim?

She''s an early 80s model, and I just bought her for a little more than $50K in late November. So I''m not 100 percent sure of all the sytems and ins and outs of the boat, though I''ve owned other sailboats for about 20 years, so I''m no newby to sailing. But have neverr had anything like this happen.
I haven''t even had a chance to sail her yet. In fact, just made my second payment.

Bermuda 02-05-2004 05:15 PM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
If you have an agreed hull value, just take the check. In fact if this is the way your policy is set up and you dont have a repair cost option the insurance company will probably not want to attemt a repair and will sell it to a salvor.

IMHO, this boat will never be worth what you paid for it no matter how well the repairs and replacements go.

Sailormon6 02-06-2004 05:24 AM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
I agree with Bermuda.

You expressed a concern about "fault." When I was a newbie, and nearly destroyed my new outboard motor through my own stupidity, the insurance adjuster assured me that insurance protects us from our own fault as much as it does against other peoples'' fault.

When there is a total loss, auto insurance carriers are now paying an additional amount to cover the cost of sales tax that you will have to pay on a replacement auto. You should ask for that, and I suggest you also ask that they pay the cost of a survey on the replacement boat. I don''t know whether boat insurers are paying costs of that sort, but they should, because you wouldn''t have to pay for those costs again, if not for the accidental loss.

Some people have had bad experiences in dealing with insurance companies. They have always been reasonable and business-like when I have had claims with them. If you think they are being unreasonable, there are companies that help claimants deal with insurance companies, and you can always consult with an attorney.

If there is anything you don''t understand about any proposed settlement, don''t hesitate to ask your insurance adjuster to explain it.

eryka32 02-06-2004 05:37 AM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
Hmmm...may just be a coincidence, icebreaker came thru Annapolis on Weds.

I agree with previous posts; replacement probably better than repair in this situation.

paulk 02-07-2004 11:29 AM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
If it''s been cold enough to have a lot of ice down there, a frozen /burst seacock or hose may have caused the sinking. Frozen bilge may also have started a seam or a shaft seal somehow.

bthomasail 02-07-2004 05:48 PM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
I agree with the others. Fixing would probably be much more than the boat''s value. I just got a "deal" on a 27''er last spring that was flooded on the trailer by rain and a plugged cockpit drain. She only had about 2'' of water in the cabin, but it is turning out to be much more expense and work than I had first planned! I can only imagine what a full submersion could damage. I think you should get her out of the water A.S.A.P. I''m no environmentalist, but if she leaks 30 gallon of deisel fuel, the clean-up cost could be huge. I don''t know if your insurance would cover this or not.

Best of luck,
Please keep us informed of the outcome.
Bryon Thomas
"Shore Leave"

MDDesperado 02-08-2004 10:47 AM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
I traveled on a state-owned ice-breaker out to the mooring field on Friday morning and confirmed that it was my boat.

The hold-up now in getting her up is the guy with the barge and crane will not attempt recovery until Monday at the earliest. I''m told he makes no more for emergencies or bad weather, so he''s not interested in doing anything on the weekends or in bad weather.

The adjuster on Friday told me that he''s pretty sure she''ll be a total loss. He said that if a boat goes down in the summer and they get her back up within about a day, they save about 8 out of 10. He says they get them on land, open them up, have professionals work on cleaning and drying them out and if the engine snaps back, they''ll often opt to repair a boat.

But that''s not the case with mine. She''ll be down at least four days, and once she''s back on land, the cold and possibly wet weather makes the likelihood of saving her pretty slim.

Of course, the insurance company is going to look at what''s the cheapest way out...and they can offset a settlement to me with whatever they can sell her for as salvage.

The entire episode has felt like a heavy kick in my gut. It''s as if a beloved family member is in serious trouble and I''m unable to help.

We develop such strong emotional ties to our boats...perhaps it''s because they''re at the centerpiece of many fond memories and good times...perhaps it''s because we know they''re a safeharbor that can protect us from harm when things turn bad on the water...perhaps it''s because we call ourselves "sailors," people who in pursuit of adventure willing challenge ourselves against that mecurial thing called nature and sometimes the worst she can dish out. A little of this...a lot of that. Who knows why we have such strong bonds with our boats...but we do.

hamiam 02-08-2004 06:38 PM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
I''ve lost 2 boats to hurricanes so I can feel for your emotional loss. Its been my experience that, no matter what, unfortuntately, you will be out money, time, and effort. I have to question the thinking behind keeping your boat in the water in an area that ices over. You should CAREFULLY read your policy; it may or may not converage environment damage, sinking due to a blown thru-hull etc. No question in my mind that the boat will be a total loss, sorry.

MDDesperado 02-11-2004 06:53 AM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
My boat was raised on Monday after four days under, and the engine''s been flushed and pickled, but not started.

According to the adjuster, he''s waiting for some preliminary repair estimates from a local company before deciding whether to see how much $$$ will be involved in just firing up the Perkins 4-108 and going from there.

I''m surprised just how little damage was apparent. I expected the worst, and was pleased that other then being very dirty and except for some sagging headliner in a couple of places, she looked pretty good. Wishing thinking, perhaps, but that was my initial reaction.

The adjuster seems to think $30K is perhaps the magic number: more than that she''ll be totalled, less they''ll go for repairs.

As long as the engine works and there''s no structural damage, I''d be all for fixing her.

If that happens, what repairs will be necessary? Will she have to be totally rewired, for example? What about all the instrumention? And engine add-ons such as alternator, pumps, starter, harness, etc.

AD/DC distribution panels? Lights, etc.

What kinds of things would you expect will need to be replaced? And are they ever repaired?


newuser 02-11-2004 07:24 AM

HELP!!! Boat Down!!!
not an expert but I would expect anything that is electronic,any and all wiring(this includes the engine and components)the things will work for a while until the corrosion gets it sorry I couldn''t be more positive.

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