Large Wood Boat Claims Report

A sample report to the claims adjuster


October 27th 2008

Mr. Adjuster
XXX Insurance
Address removed

RE: Insured: Mr. Insured
Claim #: XXX
Date of loss: XXX
Vessel: 1971 65’ XXX
Our file # 08 – XXX

Dear Mr. XXX:

Thank you for the above captioned assignment, received on October 24th 2008.

Initial Contact

We spoke with the insured, Mr. XXX, on October 24th 2008. We left a message for Mr. XXX shortly after receiving the assignment and spoke with him at approximately 11:00 a.m.

Mr. XXX identified the vessel as a 1971 65’ XXX sportfishing vessel. He stated he purchased the vessel 12-years ago.

Mr. XXX stated that he was last aboard the vessel the week of August 9th through 15th 2008. He stated that he does not have anybody go aboard the vessel regularly, but the dock master may go aboard occasionally. He stated that a diver, Mr. XXX, cleans the bottom of the vessel every month.

We spoke with Mr. XXX several times on October 24th 2008. He stated that the MAN engines were aboard the vessel upon his purchase. MAN installed new cylinders prior to his purchase. This work was part of a warranty on these engines.

The insured stated that he had three new fuel tanks installed 4 to 5-years ago. He was uncertain if had run the engines with the new fuel tanks. He stated that the fuel system is currently disconnected from the engines, pending installation of new Racor filters. He stated that the engine controls were disconnected pending installation of electronic engine controls.

Event Details

Mr. XXX stated that he received a call from the dock master informing him that his vessel was taking on water at 4:00 a.m. on October 24th 2008.
We traveled to the vessel in its normal slip, A-12 in the XXX Marina, at 10:00 a.m. on October 24th 2008. We met Mr. XXX, the marina manager. He stated that he was sleeping in his office and was awakened by a knock on his door at 3:00 a.m. Mr. XXX, the owner of the boat adjacent to the insured vessel, woke him up to alert him of the incident.

Mr. XXX stated that he called the Harbor Police and Sea Tow at 4:00 a.m. He then asked the Harbor Police to contact Vessel Assist, they responded.

We spoke with Mr. XXX, owner of the adjacent vessel. He stated that his wife heard unusual noises and woke him up at approximately 2:30 a.m.

Mr. XXX stated that he last walked the docks at 8:00 p.m. on October 23rd 2008 and found no problems with the insured vessel.

Salvage Operation

At 10:30 a.m. on October 24th 2008, Vessel Assist had a vessel alongside the insured vessel and an oil containment boom around the vessel. There was very little oil in the water. The vessel was submerged with the stern down, the bow was barely out of the water and the flybridge forward and tuna tower were above the water. Vessel Assist stated their intention to use flotation bags to raise the vessel, tow the vessel to Shelter Island Boat Yard and have it hauled.

We met with Mr. XXX of XXX boat repair company on the dock of the XXX Marina at 10:30 a.m. on October 24th. Mr. XXX owns a vessel in the marina and said he was willing and able to attempt to have the engines running and the generators’ engines running on that day. XXX boat repair company is located at XXX Boat Yard. We told Mr. X that Mr. XXX (adjuster) had set a limit for mitigation to the engines at $5,000.00. We also discussed the initial cleaning of the vessel to include washing, rinsing and drying the areas of salt water, opening the vessel for ventilation and removing soft goods, such as cushions and mattresses.

We left a mobile telephone number with XXX of Vessel Assist and left the vessel at approximately 10:30 am.

We received communication from Mr. XXX (boat repairer) at approximately 4:45 p.m. informing us that the vessel was not allowed into XXX Boat Yard and no alternative haul out arrangements had been made. We phoned the salvors and immediately traveled to the vessel. Arrangements were made to have the vessel hauled at XXX Yacht Center. All San Diego boat yards were contacted and XXX Yacht Center was the only facility willing to haul the vessel.

Upon my arrival to the vessel at approximately 5:30 p.m. I spoke with Mr. XXX of XXX boat repair. He stated that a 3” hole had just been plugged on the center of the transom and had allowed for recent significant progress in the de-watering of the vessel. The hole in the transom has a bronze fitting, it is normally behind the fish boxes, the port fish box was removed upon my arrival. The hull was plugged with a wooden damage control (DC) plug. The hole is normally just above the waterline.

Mr. XXX, the dive master of Vessel Assist, requested that the vessel be hauled from the water rather than left afloat due to uncertainty as to its stability. From 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. the vessel began listing to starboard. Air bags which were already attached to the starboard side of the vessel were inflated to level the vessel.

After a discussion with Mr. XXX (dive master), he began plugging through hulls with DC plugs. What had been a static situation with respect to internal water levels quickly changed for the positive and the vessel was, to a large extent, de-watered. He said he found a through hull leaking to starboard in the forward cabin bilge and he first inserted a plug from the inside out in this through hull.

The bilge was full of dark engine oil in the engine room and fuel throughout the bilge. The existence of the fuel made inspection extremely difficult, the level of the water remained too high to allow internal inspection of the through hulls until after 7:30 p.m.

Mr. XXX (dive master) stated that he found at least two through hulls, which he could tell were creating suction of water from the exterior of the hull. One was the through hull located in the starboard bilge of the forward cabin. A second through hull was located amidships above the chine.

We accessed the through hull to starboard in the forward cabin and found a threaded through hull with a wooden dowel plug inserted. There was no valve on the through hull and no components were seen in the area indicating that the through hull was in use.

The amidship through hull above the starboard chine was found to starboard forward in the engine room. This inspection was extremely limited due to the presence of fuel, oil, water and fumes. The through hull was later inspected and appears to be part of the waste system, water and fuel in the bilge prevented a thorough inspection of this system.

Mr. XXX (dock master) started that the vessel was locked at the time of the incident. He had a key and unlocked the door between the cockpit and the saloon. Vessel Assist personnel stated that they forced their way into the foredeck hatches to drop pumps into the forward cabins.

The vessel was towed from the Sheraton Marina at approximately 9:30 p.m. bound for XXX Yacht Center.

Out of Water Inspection

We traveled to the vessel at XXX Yacht Center on October 25th 2008. We met with the insured, Mr. XXX aboard the vessel. Also aboard the vessel at the beginning and end of this inspection were mechanic Mr. XXX and an assistant from XXX boat repair.

The vessel was hauled and remained in the travel lift slings, with keel block supports at XXX Yacht Center.

We inspected the hull bottom and noted the location of all through hulls at and near the waterline. We recorded their location and noted which through hulls had DC plugs installed. We then inspected the through hulls internally.

Two through hulls that appeared to contribute to the loss are located just above the waterline. One through hull is located on the center of the transom and one through hull is located to starboard amidships. Both of these through hulls are closed from the exterior with damage control plugs. Both of these through hulls are above the waterline with the vessel in its normal resting position, per the waterline on the anti-fouling paint. Both of these through hulls have been plugged during the salvage operation. The through hull to starboard had an inward flow of water by the salvage diver.

The most significant finding was at a through hull located to starboard forward, just below the waterline. In this location there are three through hulls, none have external screens and the center through hull has a damage control plug inserted. The salvage diver found this through hull to have a significant inflow of water during the salvage operation and shortly after plugging this through hull with a damage control plug the de-watering of the vessel turned in the positive direction and the vessel became stable.

We inspected these through hulls from the interior. The aft of the three through hulls has a bronze tube which appears to be crimped shut. The center through hull has bronze threads with no attachment. The forward through hull has a hose attached to it and the hose is plugged with a PVC plug secured with a hose clamp. There are unused hoses above these through hulls, apparently for a removed head, which was installed in this location (per the insured).

We entered the bilge in this location and searched the flooded bilge in search of any component, which may have become detached from the open through hull. We found a PVC cap and retrieved it. The PVC cap is filled with silicone in the center with silicone coating the threads. We measured the interior diameter of the PVC cap and the exterior diameter of the bronze through hull and they are approximately the same size, however the cap appears to be slightly larger.

It is clear that this cap was once attached to the open through hull. We did not attempt to reinstall the cap to prevent alteration of any part of the cap, silicone or through hull which may be helpful in determining cause of loss. We exhibited the PVC cap and through hull to Mr. XXX (insured). He stated that the modification of the interior was performed before his purchase 12-years ago. He stated that he was aware of a head once being located in this area but the capping of these through hulls was done prior to his purchase and no work had been done in this area since he has owned the vessel.

There are three through hulls to port forward in this bilge area. One is apparently in use as a hose is detached to it. One has a proper bronze plug and one has a questionable PVC cap.

Cause of Loss

The cause of the submersion was the failure of the PVC cap, which had been attached to an abandoned through hull using silicone as an adhesive. This cap had apparently held for 12-years or more prior to its failure.

Contributing to the cause of loss was the uncapped through hull just above the waterline on the transom which would allow the rate of flooding to increase significantly once the level of the vessel was lowered several inches. We did not determine how the vessel was functioning with respect to bilge pumping or shore power; it is unlikely that any bilge pump aboard the vessel would have had any significant effect on the rate of water intrusion based on the size of the primary and secondary holes.

The insured stated that the vessel had been moved once since his last attendance in August 2008. He stated that the marina moved his vessel to facilitate dock space for a boat show, they had apparently returned the vessel to its normal slip and he assumes it was properly attached to shore power to enable the battery charger to function and charge the batteries. Batteries are the source of power for this vessel’s bilge pumps.


We retained the PVC cap, with the permission of the insured, and the insured and the undersigned surveyor signed the enclosed property receipt.

The vessel is currently coated with diesel fuel and the bilge is full of diesel fuel and engine oil. It is somewhat hazardous and I strongly encourage the immediate cleaning and disposal of the diesel fuel, to allow a more thorough and proper inspection of the vessel.

We have obtained two repair estimates and will include them with this report. We have emailed a question to XXX Yacht Center regarding the scope of their bid, it appears their bid does not include disposal of the hazardous waste. They had not answered the question at the time this report was finalized. The bid from XXX Yacht Refinishing includes the disposal of hazardous waste but does not include the disposal of the mattresses.

We will return to the vessel after it is cleaned, produce a damage appraisal and request repair estimates from XXX Yacht Center and any other repairers the insured chooses. XXX boat repair has requested the opportunity to bid on the job.


1. Photographs
2. XXX Yacht Refinishing cleaning estimate
3. XXX Yacht Center cleaning estimate
4. Property chain of custody receipt

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service. Please contact the undersigned with any questions or if there is anything, in addition to the above stated intentions, that we can do to further assist with this claim.


Kells Christian
Christian and Company Marine Surveyors, Inc.