ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Boat Owners Association of The United States is urging boat owners affected by Hurricane Charley to be wary of inexperienced salvors who may be attempting to assist unsuspecting boaters, according to a recent press release from the association.
BoatU.S., which also insures over $8 billion in recreational boats nationwide, said that it's already identified cases of improper salvage efforts.
"We strongly urge all boat owners to contact their insurer as soon as they can, and advise that boaters should never sign or agree to any salvage effort without notifying their insurance company first," said BoatU.S. Catastrophe Team leader Carroll Robertson. "There are dozens of trucking, barge, and crane firms rushing to affected areas and most of them are providing valuable services, but problems can arise due to lack of specific experience in boat salvage operations.”
Robertson said further damage can result if people who are experienced in salvage operations are not consulted, and that boats often become tangled after a hurricane, requiring salvage efforts to be coordinated among several insurers.
“Just because someone has a barge and crane does not mean they have the skills to successfully salvage a vessel," Robertson said. “If someone decides - without notifying their insurer first - that their boat at the bottom of a pile needs to come out now, they could be personally liable for the damage caused to the other vessels."
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