Boat owners are better off leaving their boats at the mercy of the ice than taking their chances trying to get them out, boat insurance providers have warned.
Craftinsure has customers who have tried to free their boats from ice; one spent the night trying to keep it at bay from their river cruiser in the Lake District, but the insurer warns they might do more harm than good.
As frozen slipways make it virtually impossible to take boats out of the water, it is safer for the boat and its owner to leave boats where they are trapped on icebound lakes and inland waterways until the ice melts, Craftinsure has said.
Surveyors and other marine trade experts are reassuring boat owners that even thick ice does not pose a particularly big threat to moored boats, but that breaking the ice and trying to remove them could cause damage to the paintwork and protective coatings.
Boat owners could also be putting their own safety at risk by trying to break through the ice, Craftinsure warns.
But boat owners should still be aware of the risks of cold weather to their boats, the boat insurance company said. For example running the heat and engines can help things from freezing up internally, though it probably will have little affect on the outside and water temperatures could be well below freezing.
Boats that are on dry land are still at risk too, even those inside are not safe from the perils of snow, as one boat insurance customer found when their barn roof collapsed under the weight of the snow and landed on their boat inside.
Where possible, snow should be removed from boat roofs, and they should be winterised as much as possible as engines are at risk from frost damage. Those who are affected will usually be covered by their boat insurance in this instance, Craftinsure reassures owners.
When the snow starts to melt, owners should also be on the lookout, the insurer warns: "As and when the thaw finally arrives, owners need to check their boats over carefully, and in some cases they made need to prepare for the additional risk of flooding as water levels rise again."
"For those living aboard, ensure the boat remains ventilated to minimise the risk of a build up of noxious fumes/gases, especially where naked flame type heating is in use. Avoid leaving such heaters unattended, and under no circumstances should combustible material such as clothing or paper be left on top of heaters of this type in case of fire."
© Fair Investment Company Ltd
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