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By Angel Gimenez, Esq. and Ariel Peralta, J.D. Candidate 2018

As we Floridians well know, a powerful hurricane, resulting from storm surges, and other marine-based catastrophes can cause horrible damage, but as we were recently reminded by Hurricane Irma, even an indirect hit can do plenty of damage to boats, vessels, and docks. One of the most important things that you can do to protect yourself as a boat owner is to carry insurance. If your boat or vessel sinks or becomes damaged, an important factor your insurance company will look for is whether your boat was seaworthy prior to the incident. Failure to properly maintain your vessel may lead the insurance company to deny your claim. The legal team here at Gimenez & Carrillo, LLC. has put together a list of helpful tips for your boat or yacht to ensure that any potential insurance claim goes smoothly.

Helpful Tips

  • Check the batteries to confirm that they’re fully charged
  • Check the status of your fire extinguisher and emergency tools/equipment.
  • Have an alarm system in place for intruding or high water.
  • Make sure your boat is properly secured to the dock or lift.
  • Make sure your boat and dock surrounding areas are free and clear of debris and dangers.
  • Make sure all your bilge pumps are properly working.
  • Keep up with regular maintenance for wear and tear.
  • Secure all hatches and locks on windows, doors, portholes, seacocks to make boat watertight
  • Empty sewage holding tanks.
  • Check AC systems and make sure panels are secure.
  • Turn off water and electrical connections.
  • Clean filters and any sludge, debris, and obstruction from bilge so rainwater can freely exit the boat.
  • Clear self-bailing cockpit drains; close through-hull fittings.
  • Set chafing gear where lines will rub against your boat.
  • Remove the following items: ship papers, fishing equipment, chairs, coolers, loose antennas, dinghies, motors, portable fuel and oil storage tanks; roller furling, outriggers, exterior flags, banners, signs, sails, canvases, floats, cushions, and anything else that may fly off your boat and cause damage to your boat or boats around you.
  • For more information, check out the Hurricane Preparation Page on the Boats U.S. website.

If your boat or yacht or other property is damaged by hurricane-related winds, please remember that the insurance company will be guided by the mutual rights and obligations of the policy language. They have their team of claim representatives and lawyers protecting their bottom line. Fortunately, you have your team at Gimenez & Carrillo, LLC, with over 20 years of experience fighting on the behalf of policyholders.

The good news for you is that Florida statutes provide for the payment of your attorney’s fees if your case is successfully resolved/adjudicated. This allows us, at Gimenez and Carrillo, LLC. to take on your case without costing you anything up front!

Furthermore, we provide free consultations to help provide you with the best strategy to proceed with your case. Don’t let the insurance company bully you out of the benefits you rightfully deserve. Start today by calling (305) 444-3000 in Miami, (407) 228-2080 in Central Florida and (904) 217-6240 in the Jacksonville area, to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys regarding your insurance claim.

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