11 April 2012

Runaway boat makes a splash on land

We’re often asked what exactly is covered while a boat is in transit, and sometimes the circumstances surrounding a claim can fall into a gray area.

If you attended the Sunnyland Boat Festival in Tavares, Fla., in March, you may have heard about this incident. A fellow boater drove a considerable distance to the show, towing his classic boat behind a motor coach, which always causes plenty of angst. So when he arrived safely, he obviously breathed a sigh of relief – too soon, as it turned out.

While he took great care to position his rig in a spot that allowed him to unhook his boat and trailer – and even blocked the trailer tires before unhooking the hitch – to his horror the boat rolled backward down an incline, through a cul-de-sac and crashed into a car.

As in most claims that involve a tow vehicle, the liability coverage for what’s being towed (in this case, the boat) is an extension from the tow vehicle. So damage to the car that the boat crashed into was addressed by the motor coach coverage. The boat owner’s Hagerty policy covered damage to the boat and trailer, which due to the stout construction of the trailer was fairly minimal.

The lesson here is, carefully consider the terrain and surroundings before unhitching your trailer from the rig. Even a slight incline can cause the boat and trailer to move in a direction you don’t want them to, and a runaway trailer can cause damage to the boat, trailer, tow vehicle or other property or worse – someone could be seriously injured.

Wheel chocks should to be in proper proportion to what they are intended to hold. Never use rocks on hard surfaces, as they can slide. Leave the safety chains hooked until everything else is detached. If the boat starts to move, the chains should limit the movement until you can move the trailer or reinforce the blocks.

To find out more about Hagerty's Classic Boat Insurance, click here.

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Paul Cunha N. California March 16, 2015 at 13:46
    I never remove the last safety chain between the trailer and the tow vehicle until the absolute last minute - just in case. That way, the trailer can't wander more than six to eight inches away from the tow vehicle and you have a second chance to secure it.

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