If you’ve owned a boat for any amount of time, you’ll encounter the situation where it’s damaged in some way sooner or later. After all, the bigger the vessel is, the more opportunities it has to get damaged. Obviously, that isn’t very good news if it’s a ship you want to keep for a long time.
This is why the savviest and most careful ship owners look for situations to heed these problems before they even begin. They get hull and machinery insurance, keep track of the weather and so many other little things that may seem inconspicuous at first glance. While you can only get this kind of foresight from years at sea, there are other ways of making sure that you don’t need to go that far and it’s just going to be due diligence.
So, if you want to avoid damage to your vessel, here are some things that you should keep in mind.
Know the lay of the land (underneath the water)
One of the first and most common mistakes that navigators make is grounding their ship in shallow waters. Depending on the size of the vessel and the depth of the water, this kind of damage can cost quite a bit. Shallow waters are one of the most difficult things to look out for since the early signs aren’t obvious. Basically, you won’t know your ship is grounded until it’s too late.
However, the best way to avoid this kind of damage is having a keen awareness and knowledge of the waters you’ll be travelling on. You can do this by consulting nautical charts. Learning how the tides affect the sea level is another essential way to keep your ship from running aground.
Given that so many vessels dock at ports, piers and shipyards across the world, accidents can happen fairly often. When it comes to crowded ports, managing and handling both vessels and their contents can be fairly difficult during peak hours.
It’s important to do your research before deciding which pier or dock to settle your ship in. Does it have a good history of handling ships? How about its accident and safety records? Do they have the right equipment and manpower to handle a vessel the size of yours? All of these and more can easily be looked up online or talked about with the shipmaster. Additionally, it can save you tons in money in repairs.
The contents of the ship itself
Finally, one of the most common sources of hull and machinery damage in ships is the contents of the ship itself. Either due to poor construction, new additions or cargo, your ship’s content can damage or even disable the vessel. Most of the time, it can be attributed to poor shipping manifests and handling. On other occasions, it can be human error.
One way to make sure that this problem doesn’t happen to you is to be diligent about what you let inside your vessel. Is it a container with something inside it that can harm your ship like chemicals or acid? How about a poorly secured box? Even some seemingly innocuous things like new wooden fixtures (which can be damaged by water and moisture over time) can contribute to a ship’s degradation.
Even though you have insurance, it’s still better to be vigilant about what happens to your own vessel. Look out for the above-mentioned ones so you can do what you can to prevent them from happening.