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Summer storms kept the heat on response and claims teams

The summer boating season was a busy one for Club Marine Insurance as salvage crews, assessors and claims staff rolled up their sleeves to assist Members through two severe tropical cyclones in Queensland and several major storms.

Club Marine assessors saving a sinking tender, QLD.

Despite the challenging conditions and prolonged threat to vessels in the hardest-hit northern regions, the comprehensive and well-coordinated team response – combined with the localised efforts of boat owners, marina operators and port authorities – successfully mitigated a significant amount of loss.

Beginning in mid-December, Cyclone Jasper struck the coast near Port Douglas as a Category 2 system, reportedly becoming the wettest cyclone in Australian history. In late January, Cyclone Kirrily peaked at Category 3 and was also accompanied by intense rain. Claims resulting from both events were mostly for torn covers and canopies due to high winds, along with hull damage and rainwater ingress.

“There was a sense among our teams that it could’ve been considerably worse, if not for the proactive prevention measures and rapid relief efforts that were undertaken,” Club Marine Queensland State Manager Justin Lye said.

“Early predictions had suggested it might be a below-average cyclone season due to the El Niño effect, so there was potentially a risk of complacency. But from an insurance perspective, it was great to see people were vigilant and well prepared from the outset, with full credit going to those in the watch zone stretching from Port Douglas to Mackay.

Club assessors’ early intervention saved the vessel from sinking.

“The planning and communication between marinas, authorities and boat owners was outstanding.”

Where possible, a large number of vessels were moved from marinas and hunkered down in more protected inlets and mangrove-lined rivers, a tactic that proved successful. In many cases, boat owners pitched in to help others with anchoring and severe weather preparations.

“At the same time, Club Marine was able to get boots on the ground up there by mobilising assessors from southern Queensland,” Mr Lye added. “The teams took additional generators, pumps and tools with them to better assist Members and provide reassurance.

“We had social media alerts going out, we were engaging with authorities, salvagers and repairers, our assessors and claims team were working throughout … it was a huge effort and also hugely appreciated by Members and non-members alike.”

Staff again worked over the Christmas-Boxing Day period as the Gold Coast region endured destructive storms with high winds and flash flooding, resulting in more claims.

Boats in mangroves protected from the cyclone, QLD.

Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Port Douglas empty.

With the cyclone season officially extending to April 30, teams will remain on alert. In the meantime, boat owners are encouraged to read the Severe Weather Preparation Checklist on Club Marine’s website.

“Just as boat owners need to be prepared, a lot of planning goes on within Club Marine to ensure there’ll always be someone to pick up the phone and assist, and resources are on the scene. We were there before, during and after this season’s storms, and we’ll be there the next time too,” Mr Lye added.