A sinking boat can happen suddenly and without warning. Whether it’s due to poor maintenance, a major storm, or an accident, sunken ships don’t necessarily mean all is lost. There is an excellent chance that your sunken boat can be salvaged.
Before you hang up your Captain’s hat, here are a few tips you should follow in the event your watercraft sinks to the bottom of the pond, lake, or river. Keep in mind that your priority should be to get everyone on board accounted for and safely to dry land. Only when everyone is safe should you then begin to think about what to do next.
What Causes Boats to Sink?
Believe it or not, it’s not that hard to sink a recreational boat or fishing vessel. In fact, it’s a little too easy.
Something as small as an under-floor plastic fitting breaking in half (due to years of engine/water vibrations) can cause a sudden influx of sea or lake water into your boat.
Other times major storms such as hurricane Katrina can cut thousand-mile swaths of destruction. When the tide and storm surge come rushing at the docks, nothing is safe.
Call Your Insurance Company
After your boat sinks, the first thing you should do (after ensuring everyone is safe) is to call your insurance company. If your boat was sunk due to a storm, you should be aware that your insurance company will most likely be swamped with insurance claims.
It may take a few weeks for an adjuster to get out to see you. In situations like this, time is money, and the longer you wait to salvage your boat, the more damage can occur.
Give your insurance company as much information (and pictures) as possible. Your policy will most likely require you to do everything in your power to prevent further loss.
What If the Boat Wasn’t Insured?
Once your boat starts taking on water and sinks to the bottom of the lake or marina, the clock starts ticking. The longer you wait, the higher the chances are of severe damage occurring.
Unless you want to write it off as a total loss, you’re going to want to get the boat salvaged. This is where a professional marine salvage company, like American Underwater Services, can mean the difference between a saved vessel and one left on the bottom of the lake.
Marine salvage companies have the experience and know-how to get your boat off the bottom of the lake or marina and make it float again. Click here for a slideshow of a boat salvage that took place due to a tornado that occurred in January 2017.
The Boat Has Been Salvaged – What’s Next?
After a marine salvage company like American Underwater Services has successfully salvaged and floated your vessel, you’re going to want to take stock of the damage. Are there electronics that can be removed such as fish finders, GPS, or other nautical navigational tools?
If so, and if you have homeowner’s insurance (but don’t have boat insurance), there is a chance that some or all of the damage might be covered.
Next, you’re going to want to look at the motor and all associated mechanical parts. Instead of trying to let everything “air dry,” it’s best to have the boat towed to the nearest boatyard where the professionals can take a look at the damage and give you a ballpark figure on what it will take to make her seaworthy again.
How to Avoid Problems in The First Place?
It’s not easy to avoid having your boat sink. Sometimes you’re just motoring along and you hit a submerged log that causes the craft to suddenly start taking on water.
The U.S. Coast Guard suggests that in addition to having life vests on your vessel, equipment such as float-actuated bilge pumps should be replaced long before they fail. This equates to about every 2-3 years.
When it comes to boating and keeping your vessel afloat, an ounce of maintenance is worth more than a pound of cure.
Marine Salvage Experts
At American Underwater Services, our expert commercial divers can help you regain possession of your vessel. Our decades of experience allow us to come up with innovative and intelligent solutions that can tackle even the toughest of challenges. Give us a call today at (866) 594-1272 or contact us to learn more about how we can help you.