As I write this, we are finally thawing out after a particularly cold and wet southern winter. And nobody south of the Victorian border is looking forward to a long and hot summer more than the crew here at Club Marine HQ.
The key to what we do here at Club Marine is to provide an umbrella of protection and support for the fantastic marine lifestyle, in all its forms, in Australia and New Zealand.
But our relationship with our members also demands that we do our best to ensure that everyone is aware of their own obligations when it comes to heading out for a day or week on the water.
This summer, nearly 150,000 Australian and New Zealand Club Marine members will be rightly making the most of their hard-won time on the water. Whether in a tiny tinnie or large, ocean-roaming craft, you will be out and about, most likely with family and friends, enjoying yourselves skiing, fishing or simply lying at anchor marvelling at a sunset somewhere. And that’s entirely as it should be.
But I would like to ask you all to consider your obligations as boat owners when it comes to hosting people on your vessels. Safety, as they say, is no accident, and it’s an obligation that all skippers need to take seriously, particularly at this time of year when our waterways are most congested and boat drivers tend to be at their most relaxed at the helm.
Typically, this is a busy time for our staff, as we not only deal with insurance enquiries, but also hear of claims related to incidents out on the water. Summer is when our claims lines really start ringing.
It is highly likely that when you call any of our offices, you will be speaking to a boat enthusiast, just like you. And none of us likes to hear that our members need our assistance due to an accident or other boating incident.
One thing we have certainly learned in the nearly 40 years we’ve been providing insurance cover is that the vast majority of incidents we respond to are preventable. Human fallibility is at the heart of just about every claim that we receive and much of it comes down to preparation and attitude. Making sure your boat is 100 per cent seaworthy, with all of the required safety gear, is an obligation that all skippers should take seriously. But too often we are so keen to get out on the water, that we forget the primary responsibility we have. While it’s important to make sure everyone on board is having fun and enjoying themselves, providing a safe and secure boat should be first and foremost in every skipper’s mind.
I’d like to think that every boat owner reading this will heed our call to complete a thorough safety check before taking a boat off a trailer or out of a pen this summer. No matter how well a boat is maintained, little things, like accumulated corrosion, frayed wiring, loose fittings or any number of other issues, can let you down just when you need them most. I’d suggest you work up a checklist and have someone else with you when you conduct your inspection. After all, a second pair of eyes could pick up something you miss and end up making a real difference to the next trip you make on your boat.
In the meantime, as I sit here typing the last Publisher’s Page of my first year here at Club Marine, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish all our members a safe and happy summer from all the crew here at Club Marine. We hope you all have a great Christmas and enjoyable New Year on the water. And we sincerely hope we hear from none of you over the next two or three months.
CEO and Publisher,