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Boat insurance tips: Save time and money with an expert broker
Mike McKiernan
Posted December 18 2017

Finding a knowledgeable and experienced boat insurance broker is the critical first step in protecting your investment so that if disaster strikes, you will be prepared and confident knowing that your claim will be handled expertly and quickly.

This peace of mind means you can enjoy your time on the water with a big smile on your face, knowing that you can leave your worries on dry land!

Why Use a Broker?

Using a broker is a wise choice because a broker will negotiate with insurers to get the best prices and the most comprehensive cover for their clients. Deckee’s broker partner can custom-design an insurance package that covers what most important to you, according to your financial needs, your tolerance for risk (or your ability to stay afloat if your insurance doesn’t cover everything); and your personal goals.

Here are four things to look for from a boat insurance broker:

1. Specialist. Boat insurance is different from home insurance or auto insurance, and you want to work with an industry specialist who understands your needs and has the experience, insight, and knowledge to find the best cover for you. Work with a broker who understands the unique challenges of marine insurance.

2. Integrity. Avoid working with brokers who say “yes” to you too much. It’s better to hear the truth instead of what you want to hear, because nothing will be left to guesswork or doubt and when it comes to claims, you will know exactly what to expect. Work only with a broker who has demonstrated integrity.

3. Responsiveness. What is a broker’s response time? Does they eagerly, kindly, and helpfully answer all questions, even “stupid” questions they’ve heard a thousand times? Do they make you feel like a valued customer? Do you enjoy interacting with them, or do you feel rushed or dismissed? Work only with a broker who is professional, empathetic, and prompt.

4. Persistence. If they can’t answer a question immediately, do they do what they must, to find it? Do they persistently seek to find the best solutions for you on an ongoing basis? In a claims dispute, are they on your side and commit to doing what’s right for you, or do they just say, “sorry, there’s nothing I can do”? Work only with a broker who has your back at all times.

Working with a good broker is priceless. A good broker is your champion and your advocate - and you will enjoy the peace of mind knowing someone has your back and is working tirelessly on your behalf.

As the new year approaches, now is the perfect time to review your current policy and get more information about your options available to you. Submit an enquiry to Deckee’s trusted broker today, and protect you and your watercraft from stem to stern!

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5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Vintage boat review: Cruise Craft Caprice 550
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted April 12 2018

1996, October; Moreton Bay, Brisbane: The Brisbane-based boat-building company of Nichols Brothers celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1996, and any firm that can prosper through fifty years in the tough arena of Australian recreational boating has to be doing the right thing. To make last year extra special, the company took out the Boat of the Year Award with its Cruise Craft Outsider 650, and founder of the enterprise, Roy Nichols, celebrated his 75th birthday.

All the boats are built under the Cruise Craft brand with some 18 models ranging from 4.7 to 7.5 metres. The Caprice is a development of the Cruise Craft Capri 533, with a bit of extra room on board to make things more comfortable. The style is quite classic half-cab with somewhat angular lines to the deck coamings and cabin, but with a good balance and with pleasing style.

The transom is uncluttered with small boarding steps either side flanked by handrails that curve to follow the gun'l line. The engine well is comparatively large, but allows (smallish) quarter seats either side that are nicely upholstered and that give a good ride. A clever idea has a lift-up panel across the front of the engine well that doesn't intrude on cockpit floor space when it's down (and when it also conceals most of the aft bilge area), but then quickly lifts to form a table for snacks, drinks (two drink holders are neatly fitted in its front corners), games or whatever you'd like.

With the table up, vision and access into the aft bilges is a snap. The finish is splatter-fibreglass which is easy to keep clean, and the visible engineering is neat and strong with the battery mounted to starboard and the oil reservoir to port.

The cockpit floor is carpeted with removable panels over the 112 litre aluminium fuel tank. Capacious sidepockets would soak up a lot of your onboard bits and pieces, while more storage is in the moulded base of the driver's seat (accessible from the front, and at two levels to keep things separated). Underneath the first mate's seat is located a huge cooler. I think that this is a good approach, making it convenient to take the cooler inside at home, load it up with all the human sustenance and lubrication needed for the voyage, then lift it onboard where it is securely held in floor-mounted brackets out of the way under the seat. Beside both the front seats are higher level stowage pockets.

A slight step takes you down into the cabin which feels very light and roomy. The entrance is wide and clear, and big windows in the sides and front let in stacks of natural light. A forward removable centre section of the vee-seating would enable you to hide away a portable toilet. Room under the side seats would take bulky items such as lifejackets, and sidepockets give even more storage space. An overhead hatch is big enough to give quick access out to the foredeck.

The seats are long enough for sleeping overnight, and are upholstered in a pleasant fabric. Incidentally, the sidepockets run across the front of the cabin for a little bonus storage.

The area behind the dash and gauges is covered by a hinged panel that keeps things tidy most of the time, and yet that makes it easy to check wiring and other bits for maintenance work. Below the panel was mounted a GME 27 Mhz radio with its mic clipped to the dash. Whilst putting the radio in the cabin keeps it out of the sun and any spray, it makes it a bit inconvenient to use when you want to change channels or adjust controls. On balance, I think I'd prefer it to be mounted closer to the wheel where its controls could be more easily seen and used whilst sitting/standing to drive. However, that's a personal thing that could be set to suit your individual preference.

I found the steering position to be comfortable. Our particular boat didn't have an adjustable seat (but that can be arranged), so I found the reach to the wheel just a bit long. However, sitting to drive was still enjoyable, as was standing when I found I had plenty of room. We ran with the canopies up, which is more often the case these days in times of ozone holes and stronger sun, but I still had full standing headroom at the wheel, and there was even more further aft. Vision forward through the screen was excellent.

The gauges are mounted in an angled panel nicely above the wheel so that, sitting or standing, they were easy to view. We had a tacho and speedo with gauges for fuel, trim and volts plus an hour meter down lower behind the wheel. A Lowrance X25B sounder was mounted to starboard in the corner of the screen. A big grab rail across the wide opening into the cabin was handy for the first mate.

The Caprice was easy to drive and not at all sensitive to trim. I found I could leave the Johnson around the quarter trim mark and that allowed smooth cruising as well as smart acceleration on plane from rest. On the other hand, using the trim when you wanted did allow fine-tuning the boat's performance. Turning the wheel brought the Caprice around predictably and smoothly with good manners. Into a punchy Moreton Bay chop, the Cruise Craft hull did a great job with a solid feel and a smooth ride; stability was pleasing too when running as well as when stopped or drifting.

The V4 Johnson was straight out of its carton so was still tight. Nevertheless, it ran with vigour to push the Caprice to an indicated top speed of 64 kph at 5,200 rpm. Intermediate cruise speeds were most pleasant with the speedo showing 34 kph at 3,500 rpm, 45 kph at 4,000 and 53 kph at 4,500 rpm. Performance could only improve as the Johnno clocked up a few more hours. That's a pretty neat set of results from 115 hp, and says a lot about the Nichols Brothers' ability to match good design and hull balance with an optimum power unit.

All that 50 years of Nichols Brothers experience help to make the Caprice a strong and well-mannered boat that is targeted at the family market, but that would be welcome in just about any boating application. It's ideal for newcomers with its easy handling and maintenance, although more experienced boaties would also appreciate its stability and performance.

SPECIFICATIONS: CRUISE CRAFT CAPRICE 550

Overall length: 5.36 metres

Beam: 2.28 metres

Deadrise: 20 degrees

Weight (approx. boat only): 612 kgs

Fuel: 112 litres

Power as tested: Johnson 115 hp

Top Speed: 64 kph

Price (at time of review): $32,950 on trailer

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Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
Tropical Cyclone Debbie aftermath: Abell Point Marina restoration officially complete
Mike McKiernan
Posted September 13 2017

This week marks the completion of the on-water restoration project at Abell Point Marina in the wake of the Tropical Cyclone Debbie. In the immediate aftermath, 20% of the on-water berthing at Abell Point was damage amounting to approximately 120 berths in this 507-wet berth marina. In a coordinated effort between Superior Jetties, CGU Insurance and Oceanic Marine Risk, the restoration works commenced 3 April, a mere five days after the cyclone passed over the Whitsundays.

In the initial stages of the project a team of volunteers from BIA (Boating Industry Australia) Queensland, arrived on-site to assist with the make-safe stage of the restoration project. Experienced marine trades personnel from marina managers, to pontoon specialists arrived on-site, including representatives from Superior Jetties to offer support and assist with commencing repair works.

Within days a temporary walkway for L Arm and the marina’s fuel dock was fitted, and by week six the walkway had been replaced for new.

With considerable coordination between the Superior Jetties and marina team, commercial operators and private vessels were relocated to the south marina for the pontoon replacement works to commence. Abell Point Marina is the busiest commercial marina in the region and with the Whitsunday region being so reliant on the tourism sector, a priority for the project was to ensure minimal disruption to the marina’s on-water tourism operations whilst the repair works commenced.

Superior Jetties, Project Manager, Ryan Hogan remarked of the project, “This project has been the culmination of our team down south working some very long hours to produce a fantastic product; and outstanding subcontractors who went above and beyond to get the marina operational again. It’s been a real pleasure to work in North Queensland again and with a client that’s dedicated to running a truly world class marina. This has definitely been the best project team I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

From initial damage assessment, to temporary repairs around the marina, from demolition of debris to piling works and the manufacture/ transportation and installation of the new arms – H/ J/ K/ F/ G and A – the team coordinated by Superior Jetties worked tirelessly to restore the marina to 100% capacity. Mr Hogan goes on to give a special mention to services provided throughout the project by Orca Marine Services, Proserpine Electrical, Whitsunday Drainage Contractors and Pacific Marine Group.

With a busy cruising season scheduled, the launch of a new Abell Point Flight Collection from the marina’s heli-pads and the opening of their floating customer lounge Ocean Club, the timing of the project completion was essential to ensure business as usual. To round off a challenging year and give cause for celebration, Abell Point Marina took out the coveted Marina of the Year Award at the Marine17 conference in August.

Luke McCaul, General Manager, Abell Point Marina explains “To have the pontoons replaced and operational in time for our cruising season was essential for the marina, but also for the region. The Whitsundays has bounced back from this weather event in record time and the natural environment around the islands is following suit.” Mr McCaul goes on to say “The start of the year was a challenging time for the marina team including our valued operators and tenants, but the future is looking bright and the completion of the project on time and on budget is a credit to the hard work and commitment of the team, our contractors and our relationship with our insurers.”

The entire restoration project has been captured in a short video.

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16 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
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