ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 29, 2014 -- After yesterday's devastating tornados in the South and Midwest, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has these tips for affected boat owners to get the recovery process started and to preserve the value of boats damaged by the storms:
1. If insured, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. All BoatUS insurance customers have assistance available with post-storm recovery and are urged to call the BoatUS Claims at (800) 937-1937 as soon as practical. If your boat is sunk or must be moved by a salvage company, it is not recommended that you sign any salvage or wreck removal contract without first getting approval from your insurance company. If possible, take photographs or videos of the boat before it is moved -- these may help to quickly resolve your claim.
2. Play it safe. Damaged marinas could have fuel leaking from boats or other hazards, and understand that some facilities may need to temporarily restrict access until these hazards are taken care of. Only enter with permission and never climb in or on boats that have piled up together, are under damaged shed roofs, or are hung up on other obstructions.
3. Depending on your boat's location, and if it is safe to do so, you may want to consider removing as much equipment as possible to a safe place to protect it from looters or vandals. It's a good idea to put your contact information somewhere conspicuously on the boat -- along with a "No Trespassing" sign.
4. Protect the boat from further water damage resulting from exposure to the weather. This could include covering broken windows or hatches. As soon as possible, start drying the boat out, either by taking advantage of sunny weather or using electric air handlers. All wet and damaged materials items such as cushions should be removed, dried out and saved for a potential insurance claim. The storm may be gone, but the clock could be ticking on mold growth.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour dispatch, on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits including marina and service discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating and offers range of boating safety courses -- including 33 free state courses -- that can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.