By Mary-Justine Lanyon
As summer comes to an end, boat owners turn their thoughts to keeping their boats safe and sound during the winter.
To that end, Darren Diess has opened The BoatYard in Arrowbear – situated perfectly between Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear so he can service residents in both communities.
Diess himself has a boat on Lake Arrowhead. He was storing it down the hill – he splits his time between the mountain and Temecula – but that company changed hands. “It was a battle to find a place to store my boat,” he said.
Folks with their own trailers can take their boats to The BoatYard but many people either don’t have a trailer or “are uncomfortable towing their boat around town.” To help those boat owners, The BoatYard offer a valet service – they will go the owner’s slip, put the boat on a trailer and take it to the boat storage facility.
Once boats arrive at The BoatYard, Diess’ crew can prepare them for the winter season. They drain all the water from the boat and fill the engine with antifreeze. They remove the fuel filter, drain the fuel and inspect for any water contamination. Then they refill the boat with good fuel and stabilizer. In addition, they fully charge the battery and disconnect it for the season. They wipe down the boat and shrink wrap the boat so it is sealed and water tight.
As a result of all the recent storms, Diess said, almost 180 boats were damaged on Lake Arrowhead alone. Over the course of the November storm, the blizzard and the recent tropical storm, 89 boats sank and another 89 were swamped. Three boats that were up on hoists filled with water and were declared total losses by the owners’ insurance companies.
And that brings Diess to the matter of boat insurance. What he saw as a result of those storms, he said, bothered him. “Most of us own boats to enjoy with our family and friends. Losing a boat in an accident or weather-related storm could cause some financial hardships. It may have been their grandfather’s boat with sentimental value. But most forget to consider insuring their boat for its current replacement value. A storm comes in, the boat is a total loss. The boat you bought for only $5,000 for cannot be easily replaced in today’s market. Most nice used boats range from $25,000 to $40,000 to replace.
“Be sure to update and request stated/replacement values with added storm recovery within your boating coverage policy.
“So many people lost an entire boating season this year because their boat was totaled. They couldn’t get the money from their insurance carrier to buy a new boat.
“We’ve had three storms like we’ve never had before. Were they a fluke? Were they because of climate change? We don’t know when the next one will be. We don’t know the weather patterns. Your boat is safer if it’s sitting in a storage yard.”
“Most boat owners try to go with the cheapest insurance, which usually does not provide proper coverage,” said Farmers Insurance agent Shahbaz Awan. “They do not pay attention to coverage because they feel that, since they will not be driving the boat year-round, it is not worth it. The client also feels the likelihood of a claim is very minimal.
“However,” Awan added, “with our agency we always provide higher limits and cover the boats for full value. My advice to all boat storage facilities is to make sure they require the client to list them as an additional insured and always get a declaration page laying out the coverages. In doing this, it protects both the client and the storage facility.”
Diess makes this promise to his clients: “My boat will be right here next to yours. Our team is planning to text photos of our clients’ boats at The BoatYard monthly with updates and send them to them, letting them know they boats are safe.
“I own a boat and want it protected and I want to protect your boat, too.”