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The team at Yachtmaster are delighted to be asked to write a little column for Anglia Afloat. Being based at Woodbridge we are right at the centre of the Anglian region and have an interest in the Broads as well as the Fens and the East coast rivers, although we do in fact have customers cruising worldwide.


In the January/February issue I was very interested to read about Mike Evans idea on how to “save the Broads”. It seems such an unselfish plan in that it might be some time before it benefits those of us around today but would be of huge benefit for those that follow in years to come. From an insurer’s point of view, more protected but open water for sailing can only be good – should avoid some of the collisions we see when the waters are more congested! It will be interesting to see if there are objections to this project, and what the nature of those will be. Obviously cost is likely to be the major factor and will indeed probably be the deciding factor.

I feel this project is in such sharp contrast to the financial problems being experienced today which, to the lay person, seem to have been caused by greed and incompetence, but as these problems have used up so much of the country’s reserves in bailing-out the banks, it may be the very thing that prevents the early introduction of any plan to “save the Broads”. One should note, of course, that it is generally not your bank’s local branch staff that have caused the problem; they still appear to be doing the same fine job, just in more difficult circumstances.

There are ways in which some banking is similar to insurance. Consider the practice of banks having sold sub-prime mortgages to customers then “selling” these on in packaged form to other banks. Those purchasing banks clearly did not fully understand the risks associated which what they were taking on.

In our yacht insurance, albeit in a much smaller way, we are asked to “take on” certain risks in exchange for a financial premium, risks that, without insurance, would remain with the vessel owner.

Some owners query why we are keen to see an out-of-water survey report or boatyard condition report (usually for older craft), especially if they already have a Boat Safety Certificate which should satisfy all our concerns about some of the main potential problem areas of a vessel, things like gas, fuel and electrics, but does not address other important areas like hull condition, skin fittings and underwater gear, any of which could lead to sinking or collisions etc. A report ensures that a professional has had the opportunity to see and warn the owner and us if need be.

In other areas, such as bonuses, there are no similarities between Yachtmaster and the banks! I suppose in that area all we can hope is that some bankers will spend their bonuses buying new yachts and so re-circulate some of the funds through the marine industry.

David Long - 5/2/2010.

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