Storm Warnings

With the recent dramatic passing of Storm Imogen it was interesting to note at least two large cruisers firmly wedged against the high water springs point in Bosham Channel a couple of days back indicating either that their mooring had parted or that they had dragged their ground tackle such was the strength of the wind even in the comparative shelter of Chichester Harbour. Fortunately both were promptly retrieved on the next tide, hopefully without damage.

It is always worth having regard to your insurance policy before you decide to either put a boat out on a mooring early in the Season (or leave it on the mooring over the winter period) as many policies will contain specific restrictions on the period for which a vessel can be left on exposed moorings.  Generally speaking, if the policy says you shouldn’t, then any unfortunate owner who suffers a loss is likely to find himself uninsured in those circumstances.

More difficult question of course relates to the failure of the ground tackle.  Insurers have a tendency to question the strength and the maintenance of any tackle which has failed in those circumstances, and often the evidence of failure to maintain it is the simple fact that the tackle failed!  The only way of then essentially challenging that assertion is to demonstrate a recent professional inspection, and even that will not necessarily be accepted as evidence of specific maintenance to the high standards required.

The golden rule is therefore if you are leaving your boat on a mooring, make sure that you can be entirely confident that the mooring will take the load, that the vessels cleats are up to the task of taking 65 knots on the bow, but most important of all, that Insurers have specifically accepted the added risk of the vessel remaining on the mooring over the winter period (even if that means the additional premium has to be paid).


Tim is a Director and Head of the Marine department specialising in marine and admiralty law.

He specialises in all aspects of the law relating to pleasure vessels and is recognised as one of the foremost experts in the field, addressing a vast range of issues from contractual to technical, via the statutory and occasionally bizarre.

Practising internationally, Tim represents owners, insurers, boatyards and high profile marine organisations, as well as those buying or selling their boats. 

After working for brief periods as a boat builder, yacht chandler and professional sailor, he went on to study Admiralty Law at the University of Wales in Cardiff where he obtained his law degree. He is a member of the Royal Yachting Association and the British Marine Federation.

  • Technical construction disputes
  • Contractual disputes
  • Marine conveyancing
  • Title disputes
  • Salvage and towage
  • Recreational Craft Directive / Maritime and Coastguard Agency compliance
  • Marine related personal injury and fatalities

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