Hurricane Hole: Moor risk than’s necessary?
Paradise Island, The Bahamas will soon be opening its newest marina. Hurricane Hole Superyacht Marina was formerly one of the island’s most iconic mooring spots but its size (a perimeter of 190,901sqft) did not allow ample room for passing superyachts. Following removal of the original wall and significant dredging the new perimeter will be 2,812,071sqft with a depth of 14.5ft at average low tide, making it one of the deepest facilities in the Caribbean.
But upgraded facilities and more room to moor aside, what implications does the name Hurricane Hole have for superyacht insurance policies as they look to add the marina to their itinerary?
Benjamin Maltby, partner, Keystone Law tells Superyacht Investor (SYI) he doesn’t think there is any reason why insurance underwriters would withhold cover, or add conditions, when superyachts moor at Hurricane Hole Marina.
“Some policies state that, where a vessel is going to be exposed to a named storm, a Hurricane Preparedness Plan must be agreed with underwriters, implemented and adhered to – failing which cover will be withdrawn and vessel left uninsured,” says Maltby.
Mike Wimbridge, managing director, Pantaenius UK, agrees with Maltby. He tells SYI: “I’m pretty sure that most underwriters won’t be concerned about the name of the marina at all.
“By choosing ‘Hurricane Hole’ there is a suggestion that there is a degree of ‘hurricane proofing’ but, other than reference to eliminating currents and possible storm surge it doesn’t sound like this offers anything different to many other marinas. If more information comes out and there are category five protected buildings etc, then things may be different,” says Wimbridge.
He adds: “Insurers will always have their own requirements, when considering hurricane exposure, such as storm plans and north and south warranties, and I don’t see that this will affect their procedures at all.”
Hurricane Hole’s builders say they have installed specifically engineered metal and concrete sea walls to eliminate currents, reduce wave action and potential storm surge. The Bahamas experiences extreme weather throughout hurricane season, back in 2017 Storm Irma caused an estimated $135m in damage. Due to a low pressure system in the weather front the hurricane would suck the sea out miles further than routine low tide, leaving many beaches in The Bahamas and neighbouring Florida “dry” whilst the hurricane passed through.
Mike Taylor-West, partner, Private Client & Marine, Partners&, thinks there will be little demand for superyacht cover in Hurricane Hole during storm season. He tells SYI: “There is extremely low to nil appetite in the market currently for full cover in the Caribbean in hurricane season. And the location [of Hurricane Hole Marina] was in the track of Irma.”
He adds: “I will eat my hat if I am wrong, and happily, but it will be a long wait for the first European insurer to offer full or even partial cover for vessels located in said Hurricane Hole in hurricane season.”