Let’s face it, if things didn’t go wrong from time to time, I would be out of a job, and Club Marine wouldn’t exist. In fact, it could be said that insurance claims are actually good for our business. If boats didn’t bounce off things, break, catch fire, go missing or sink, everybody would forget all about the need to have the best insurance cover in place for their boat.
But the plain, hard fact is that ugly things unfortunately happen every day; that’s why I do what I do, and why so many Australian and New Zealand boat owners rely on Club Marine to help protect their boats and, by extension, their lifestyles. Hopefully, most of our members will never need to take full advantage of our services, and the only part we’ll ever play in your lives is to contribute some peace of mind to your time on the water.
Insurance is something that many take for granted, regarded by some almost as an after-thought in the overall scheme of things. Every now and then though, the full implications and real benefits of insurance cover are brought home in startling and dramatic fashion. It is at these times that Club Marine is really called upon to deliver in significant moments of truth for our members – when they call on us to keep the promises we make in our brochures and policy documents.
In this issue of Club Marine, you’ll read of one such occasion; a major on-water incident involving a number of boats (see Pyrotechnics on Pittwater, p34).
The day started off like most others in beautiful Newport on the Pittwater north of Sydney. Boats, large and small, bobbed gently in their berths, while owners tinkered with their craft and marina staff went about their business. But by the end of the day, six boats were burnt to their waterlines and another three were seriously damaged. It is almost incomprehensible that nobody lost their lives or sustained major injury.
Once word of the growing disaster reached us, staff at our NSW office sprung into action. Our long-standing and much-loved agent David Bray was there to watch it all unfold right in front of him. Our State Manager, Andrew O’Reilly, and Assessor, Darren Williams were immediately on the road and arrived in time to see boats still burning under huge plumes of smoke that could be seen from most parts of Sydney.
Andrew’s first priority was to notify any Club Marine members whose boats were involved in the fire. As it turned out, six of the nine effected craft were on our books. By the time the last fire was out, we had notified all owners, while Darren was overseeing salvage operations with smoke still obscuring much of the scene. Marina staff and customers played a big part in bringing the situation under control, and the various emergency services did a superb job.
As most of the Club team are keen boaties ourselves, we sympathise with the owners. After all, I think we’d all agree that boats are more than mere possessions. To a large extent, they help to define us, whether they be a large power craft, modest trailer sailor or well-worn fishing boat. For families, our boats often are what bind us together and provide the many special memories that span our lives, from childhood on. So we can imagine what it is like to lose a boat and the devastating personal impact it can have.
Ultimately, the Pittwater disaster gave us the opportunity to underline what it is that Club Marine really does, and put into practice all the planning and preparation we do for these events. As I write this, I am pleased to report that nearly all claims have been settled, and we expect that all of the affected members will be back out on the water in time for the coming boating season.
Generally, as I said, we prefer that our contact with members is limited to having a chat or sharing a round of drinks at the many boat shows, regattas, tournaments and other events that Club Marine proudly supports. But every now and then we get a chance to make a real difference.
Best wishes for safe and incident-free boating over the coming warmer months.
Publisher and CEO
Club Marine Limited