Top 10 tips for preparing your yacht for an Ocean Voyage

Jun 12, 2023

Preparing a sailing yacht for an ocean crossing requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are the top 10 tips to help you prepare for a successful voyage:

  1. Safety First: Prioritise safety by ensuring your yacht is equipped with all necessary safety gear, including life jackets, life rafts, flares, EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), and a well-stocked first aid kit. Conduct safety drills with your crew to familiarise them with emergency procedures.
  2. Navigation and Communication: Ensure your yacht is equipped with reliable navigation equipment, such as GPS, electronic charts, radar, and a compass. Install a VHF radio and consider having a satellite phone or SSB (Single Sideband) radio for long-range communication.
  3. Weather Monitoring: Stay updated on weather conditions before and during your voyage. Equip your yacht with a weather monitoring system or satellite weather receiver to receive regular forecasts. Familiarise yourself with interpreting weather patterns and know when to take appropriate action.
  4. Rigging and Sails: Inspect and maintain your rigging, including shrouds, stays, and halyards. Check the condition of your sails and make any necessary repairs or replacements. Consider carrying spare sails for different wind conditions.  Depending on the age a professional rig inspection may be a sensible option.
  5. Mechanical and Electrical Systems: Ensure that your yacht’s engine, generator (if applicable), and other mechanical systems are in good working order. Carry essential spare parts and tools for repairs. Check the electrical system, including batteries, wiring, and charging equipment.
  6. Provisioning: Plan your food and water supplies meticulously. Stock up on non-perishable food items that provide adequate nutrition for the duration of the voyage. Calculate water consumption and carry enough fresh water or invest in a water maker for long trips.
  7. Fuel and Energy Management: Calculate your fuel requirements based on the engine’s fuel consumption and estimated voyage duration. Carry extra fuel for emergencies. Consider alternative energy sources like solar panels or wind generators to supplement your energy needs.
  8. Crew Competency: Ensure that all crew members have the necessary skills and experience for an ocean crossing. Conduct training sessions and drills to improve sailing, navigation, and safety skills. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each crew member.
  9. Maintenance and Repairs: Conduct a thorough inspection of your yacht to identify and address any maintenance or repair needs before setting sail. Check the hull, deck, rigging, plumbing, and electronics. Carry spare parts, tools, and repair materials.  Older boats may benefit from an inspection from a professional marine surveyor and will likely be a requirement of your insurance before you embark on a long trip.
  10. Legal and Administrative Considerations: Check the necessary paperwork and permits required for your voyage, including passports, visas, and boat documentation. Ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage.

Topsail Insurance would be delighted to help you arrange suitable insurance for trans-Atlantic crossings, transpacific crossing and indeed any long-distance sailing or blue water cruising that you may have planned.

Get in touch with our team here.

Top 10 Cruising Destinations in Norfolk Broads

May 26, 2023

The Norfolk Broads, located in the picturesque county of Norfolk, UK, is a renowned cruising destination that offers breath-taking natural beauty, charming villages, and a tranquil waterway network. If you’re planning to explore the Broads on a hired boat, you’re in for a delightful adventure.

Here are ten of the best places to visit during your cruise:

1. Wroxham: Known as the capital of the Broads, Wroxham is a vibrant village with a bustling riverside scene. Explore its quaint shops, visit the famous Roys of Wroxham department store, and enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the waterside pubs or restaurants.

2. Horning: Nestled on the River Bure, Horning is a postcard-perfect village with beautiful, thatched cottages and a charming village green. Take a stroll along the riverbank, hire a day boat to explore the surrounding waters, or visit the picturesque St. Benedict’s Church.

3. Hickling Broad: As the largest of the Norfolk Broads, Hickling Broad is a nature lover’s paradise. Cruise through its vast expanse of reed beds, spot rare bird species, and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of this unspoiled wilderness.

4. Ranworth Broad: Make a stop at Ranworth Broad to experience its outstanding natural beauty and visit St. Helen’s Church, often referred to as the “Cathedral of the Broads.” Climb the church tower for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

5. Beccles: Venture beyond the borders of the Broads to visit the charming town of Beccles, situated on the River Waveney. Explore the historic town centre, browse through local shops and boutiques, and discover the impressive medieval St. Michael’s Church.

6. Norwich: Just a short journey from the waterways, Norwich is a vibrant city with a rich history. Discover its magnificent cathedral, explore the cobbled streets of the Norwich Lanes, and indulge in some retail therapy at the bustling Norwich Market.

7. Reedham: Stop at Reedham and marvel at its iconic chain ferry, the only one of its kind in the Broads. Enjoy a riverside walk, visit the historic Reedham Swing Bridge, and relax at one of the traditional waterside pubs.

8. Potter Heigham: This quaint village is famous for its medieval bridge, which presents a thrilling challenge for boaters due to its low clearance. Explore the local shops and enjoy a picnic along the riverbank as you watch the boats navigate this narrow passage.

9. How Hill: Head to How Hill to visit the enchanting How Hill Nature Reserve and its famous Toad Hole Cottage. Take a stroll along the marked trails, enjoy the colourful gardens, and experience the beauty of this unique conservation area.

10. Great Yarmouth: As you approach the end of your Norfolk Broads adventure, visit the lively seaside town of Great Yarmouth. Enjoy traditional seaside attractions, such as amusement arcades and sandy beaches, or delve into the town’s rich maritime heritage at the Time and Tide Museum.

These ten destinations showcase the diversity and natural splendour of the Norfolk Broads, offering a memorable cruising experience. Whether you’re seeking peaceful serenity or vibrant attractions, the Broads have something for everyone. Embark on your journey, immerse yourself in the beauty of the waterways, and create lasting memories as you explore these remarkable places.

How to prevent Carbon Monoxide leaks on your boat

May 18, 2023

We all know that spending time on the water is one of the best ways to relax and have fun during the summer months. However, it’s important to remember that there are some hidden dangers that come with boating – one of them being Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Recently, there have been tragic reports of CO-related deaths in the Hamble area of the UK, where two people lost their lives from CO poisoning on board a boat. This serves as an important reminder to all boat owners, operators and passengers, of the importance of taking preventative safety measures. CO is a colourless, odourless gas that cannot be detected without monitors, and can be deadly in high concentrations.

To prevent CO poisoning, there are some simple steps that you can take.

Firstly, make sure that your boat’s exhaust system is properly installed and maintained. Exhaust manifolds, risers, and hoses should be regularly checked for leaks, corrosion, and damage. You should install a CO detector in the cabin and other enclosed spaces, and importantly, remember to test these regularly to ensure that all detectors are functioning correctly.

Secondly, it’s important to ensure that there is always proper ventilation on your boat. Make sure that hatches and windows can be opened to allow fresh air to circulate, and avoid running your boat’s engine or generator when the boat is stationary or idling. Always keep a close eye on your passengers and familiarise yourself with of the signs of CO poisoning, such as headaches, nausea, and confusion.

Remember, prevention is absolutely key when it comes to CO poisoning. By taking the necessary precautions and being aware of the risks, you can enjoy your time on the water without putting yourself or your passengers in danger. Stay safe and have fun on water!

Lithium Batteries. How safe are they on boats?

Apr 24, 2023

Use a professional when installing the batteries

The Installation of Lithium-ion batteries and battery systems should be carried out by competent persons, and to suitable industry standards.

Do you need specific batteries for marine use?

Specific marine Lithium-ion batteries and electrical system components should be used, they are designed for the change in risk associated with installation in a marine environment.

How should I store my Lithium-ion batteries?

Lithium-ion batteries should be installed and/or stored in a well-ventilated, dry area and should be away from direct sunlight, heat, and water. They must also be protected from vibration. All battery system design should be done in a way that ensures all installed lithium-ion batteries are kept within the battery manufacturers specified safe operating limits.

Don’t mix and match

Different battery chemistries should not be connected in parallel or in series.

Make sure you have the right fire protection system

Traditional firefighting systems may not work on Lithium-ion battery fires and so appropriate fire protection and firefighting systems must be installed.

Make sure you remove damaged batteries immediately

Any batteries showing any form of damage must be removed from the vessel once identified, be they vessel systems or toys and accessories. Damaged lithium-ion batteries have been known to combust.

Always disconnect when you have finished charging

Do not leave equipment chargers on and charging when away from vessel and once the equipment is charged, make sure you switch it off.

Do I need to tell my insurer?

If you install lithium-ion batteries and/or battery systems on your vessel you must tell your insurer, or risk being left uninsured in the event of an incident.

All you need to know about The Cruising Association

Apr 17, 2023

The Cruising Association (CA) is acknowledged as the leading organisation for sailors and motor cruisers with over 6,400 members around the world. Founded in 1908, specifically to meet the needs of the cruising community, the CA has become a haven for many great personalities in sailing and is dedicated to those who enjoy cruising on sailing and motorboats.

Whether you are just starting out and cruising in UK waters or are planning to journey under power along Europe’s Inland Waterways or a seasoned boat owner heading for more distant shores and blue water sailing, the benefits of CA membership are many and varied. The CA is your most valuable, knowledgeable and practical cruising asset, providing a support network, wherever you are.

Well-known names associated with the CA include HRH The Princess Royal and the CA’s Patron, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Supporters also include Mike Golding, Tom Cunliffe, Jeanne Socrates and Don Street, amongst others.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston:

“Sharing of information has been the lifeblood of the CA since its inception in 1908 and with thousands of members reporting on their experiences, the CA is an invaluable cruising resource and network.”

The CA is at the heart of the world’s cruising community as a leading provider of trustworthy knowledge and information. You will find comprehensive cruising information on the CA website, in CA publications and through the CA community. Fitting out, where to cruise, laying-up, staying in touch, national and international regulations, Cruising Almanac, cruising guides, maintenance, how-to, top tips, crewing service, marine discount partners, London Club House, socials, rallies, events programme and much, much more. The CA’s Regulatory & Technical Services group (RATS) work on behalf of the cruising community to represent their interests and address the regulatory and technical aspects of cruising, both nationally and internationally.

Winner of the ‘British Yachting Awards Equipment Innovation of the Year 2022’, Captain’s Mate is the CA’s exclusive to members cruising app, providing an unrivalled breadth of information and cruising reports covering 7,500+ locations in 100+ countries around the world.

Non-members can discover more about the benefits of membership, read the latest news, sign up for a bite-sized edition of our quarterly ‘Cruising’ magazine and take part in our Autumn/Winter event programme.

Find out more:


Topsail Insurance are proud to support the Cruising Association. Details of the benefits we offer can be found here.

Jubilee Sailing Trust is supported by Topsail Insurance

Apr 3, 2023

The Jubilee Sailing Trust are a UK based charity, who work hard to provide sailing opportunities and experiences to everyone, regardless of their ability levels. Their Tall Ships vessel, Tenacious is designed to be 100% accessible for everyone; the ship can accommodate people with a wide range of abilities and health conditions. For example, the ship wheelchair lifts enable everyone the chance to ‘go aloft’, speaking compasses, and adapted equipment at the helm. 

As you know, everyone will face a huge challenge at some stage of their life – be it medical, family related or otherwise. For some people, things can build up and can be particularly hard to cope with, which can lead to feelings of isolation, inability to cope or stress. The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) enables people to be liberated from these feelings by ensuring that the playing field is even for all, and that all sailors on board discover the similarities and strengths that they share with others. It is a wonderful environment for people to find out how much they are truly capable of, and how strong they really are.

The trips that the JST provide can be truly life changing for the crew members who can sail with them; they also offer bursaries, and will support you in your journey towards completing a voyage.

We are so proud at Topsail to support the Jubilee Sailing Trust with our Tall Ships Travel Insurance policies and welcome you to contact us to find out more, if you have an upcoming trip planned. Starting from 1 April, Tenacious will be heading back across the Atlantic, back to the UK from Bermuda! Will you be on board? We’d love to hear all about your trip!

To find out more about the JST, you can read about Kate’s experience sailing here; Kate has sailed many voyages with JST and has truly developed her love and passion for sailing!

What is Third Party Only Insurance on boats?

Mar 2, 2023

Third Party Only Boat Insurance is a type of boat insurance that solely protects against potential liabilities that could arise as a result of you owning a boat. Sometimes this type of cover is also known as Basic Boat Liability or Marine Liability Insurance.

What does Third Party Only Insurance cover?

When you own a boat, you still have a responsibility to other people. They can be friends or family on board, others that you may cause injury to, or property owned by other people – including other boats that are on the water.
Third Party Only Insurance usually provides a limit of £5,000,000 cover in the UK, to protect you. Always check your policy to confirm the limit of cover.

£5,000,000 Third Party Liability seems a lot?

We never like to think of the worst happening. Whilst we hope it never happens, people have suffered life changing injuries on boats. If it’s found that you’re legally liable, the £5,000,000 Third Party Liability would help cover any claim against you.

Is Third Party Only Insurance a legal requirement?

In many countries, Third Party Only Insurance is not mandatory, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need it. Sometimes it can be a requirement of a boat license, mooring authority, or required as a mooring condition in individual marinas.

At Topsail we’d recommend that you look to purchase Third Party Only Insurance as a minimum to protect your interests.

What types of boats qualify for Third Party Only Boat Insurance?

Our team can help you arrange boat insurance for a huge amount of various vessel types. If your passion is a vessel with a sail, we can cover anything from a small sailing dinghy up to an ocean cruising yacht. If you prefer the gentle chug of an engine, we can cover anything from a little river cruiser on the canals up to a powerful motor cruiser in the Mediterranean.

Is Third Party Only Boat Insurance easier to obtain that Comprehensive Cover?

The simple answer is yes. One of the main reasons that people purchase Third Party Only insurance is that it is normally available without the requirement to have an existing or new boat survey carried out on your vessel. Some people regard this as an unnecessary and needless expense especially when they’re boating on a budget or own an older vessel.

Is Third Party Only Boat Insurance cheap?
We’d be delighted to offer you a quotation for your boat insurance. At Topsail, we try hard to get the cost of any of the policies that we sell as competitive as possible. If you’d like a quotation, you’ll find our online form quick and easy.

Topsail Insurance and the Jeanneau Owners Network

Feb 27, 2023

Did you know that we at Topsail work closely with the Jeanneau Owners Network to provide insurance solutions and discounts to their customers?

We can offer up to 10% off all our products for JON members, as well as free Legal Expenses cover!

Find out more about the network below:

Established in 2001, the Jeanneau Owners Network has grown to be one of the largest yacht owner groups in the world. Currently having a membership of around 10,000 sailors, our members live and sail in all parts of the globe, particularly the UK, Scandanavia, North America and Oceania.

Whilst the majority of our members have sailboats, we also welcome a fast growing number of powerboat owners.

Whilst independent of the Jeanneau company, we have built strong links with them which can assist in owners of older Jeanneau’s obtaining documentation and sometime parts.

Our website has information on every Jeanneau built to date, including the very first wooden powerboats built in 1957 by Henry Jeanneau, the brands founder. A book on the history of Jeanneau has recently been written which is also available.

There is a comprehensive Hints and Tips section, together with Owner manuals for many models.

We have a very active dedicated Forum as well as a Facebook group, where owners exchange help and information.

New members are most welcome from either existing Jeanneau owners or anyone simply interested in the brand.

Full information is available on the website here.

Narrowboat Insurance Cover – what you need to know

Feb 14, 2023

Are you looking to buy a new Narrowboat or maybe looking for insurance on your existing canal craft? We are confident that you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you choose to insure your Narrowboat or canal boat with us at Topsail.

We have options for all types of Narrowboats and inland vessels including:

• Traditional Stern Narrowboat
• Cruiser Stern Narrowboat
• Semi Traditional Stern Narrowboat
• Dutch Barges
• Inland Cruisers
• River Cruisers
• Canal Boats

Do I need to insure my Narrowboat?

There are two main issues to consider when looking at Narrowboat insurance, the first being legality and the second being your own peace of mind.

From a legal perspective Narrowboat insurance isn’t a requirement in the UK, but there is a requirement for a minimum of £2m public liability cover prior to buying your boat licence for use on UK inland waterways.

Secondly, the purchase of a Narrowboat is probably one of the most significant personal investments you’ll make in your lifetime. For the sake of a few pounds a month, having Narrowboat insurance will protect you if that horrible unforeseen situation occurs and your investment is completely lost.

Securing your Narrowboat Insurance from us means that we will help get your Narrowboat repaired and back on the water or replaced if your vessel is unable to be fixed.

How much is Narrowboat Insurance?

The cost of Narrowboat Insurance depends on a number of factors, but primarily your insurance will be based on the value of your Narrowboat and its age.

The team here at Topsail Insurance would love to give you a comparison quote for your vessel, irrespective of what type of inland craft it is. Having your vessel suitably insured buys you peace of mind should the worst happen.

Why should I insure my Narrowboat with Topsail?

Since Topsail started arranging insurance over 25 years ago we have arranged boat insurance for tens of thousands of customers who all love our comprehensive policies and dedication to giving a great customer service.

Don’t just take our word for it, see what our customers say. Our Google Review score is 4.8 out of 5. If you want to read the reviews for yourself, you can here; Topsail Google Reviews.

Alternatively, if you would like to speak to our team to discuss your specific requirements when it comes to Narrowboat insurance, get in touch today for a no obligation quote.

Insurance for boats flagged or registered in the US

Feb 2, 2023

Do you need to insurance US flagged boats?

At Topsail Insurance we are able to arrange insurance for US flagged boats. Whilst there are many US insurance providers that are happy to cover boats in US waters the situation can become trickier should you wish to travel further afield.

Our team would be delighted to offer a bespoke insurance quotation for your US flagged sailing or motor vessel.

Can you go from America to Europe on a Yacht?

Absolutely! Crossing the Atlantic Ocean by Yacht opens the way for those aspiring to reach Europe and looking to explore the beautiful Mediterranean waters, or go exploring further North into the Baltic or Nordic countries. Some US clients love it so much they end up leaving there boats in Europe for years on end.

If it’s your first Atlantic crossing, you’ll need a few weeks of planning and getting the boat ready for the journey ahead.

Do Topsail only insure US flagged boats in Europe?

No, although our main office is in the UK we can offer insurance to cover you in most cruising areas worldwide. We currently have US flagged boats that are in the middle of circumnavigations, transiting the Pacific Ocean or visiting many of the islands in and around Asia. We also have an office in Australia that specialises in providing cover for local waters in Australia and New Zealand if needed.

Whatever your cruising plans, use our easy online quote form to see how we can help.

Can I pay for my boat insurance in the local currency?

Yes, we are able to take payment in the currency that your policy is taken out in, so if you insure your boat in US Dollars we’re able to take payment from you in US Dollars. Equally if you would prefer a GBP policy, that is absolutely fine too.

What sort of information do I need to provide when insuring my US flagged boat?

Our team will need to know the same sort of information for the insurance of US flagged boats that you’re used to supplying to your US providers of insurance.

Typically, we will need the following information about your Yacht:

  • Age of vessel
  • Make and Model
  • Value
  • Your information as Skipper / Owner
  • Previous experience
  • Claims history
  • Cruising itinerary for the coming 12 months

Is Topsail Insurance for US flagged boats cheap?

Why not try us for a comparison quote, as we think you will find our prices both reasonable and competitive.

Why should I use Topsail Insurance for my US flagged vessel and not another UK company?

Topsail have been specialist insurers for US flagged vessels outside of the United States for over 25 years and have provided insurance for tens of thousands of boat owners during this time.

Don’t just take our word for it see what our customers say. Our Google Review score is 4.8 out of 5 (as of January 2023). If you want to read the reviews for yourself, you can here; Topsail Google Reviews.

Alternatively, if you would like to speak to our team to discuss your specific requirements when it comes to US flagged boat insurance, get in touch today for a no obligation quote.