This is your final Fleet Update for the 2018-2019 Panama Posse Season

1) Thank you !

2) Vista Mar, Panama Posse Finale Celebration

3) Panama Posse Shop

4) Easy Sign-up for next season & keep all your benefits

5) Next season’s Dates

6) Take the Panama Posse survey 

7) Dealing with an insurance claim

8) Hurricane Season

9) Thanking all of our sponsors and partners

10) Good Bye – until we meet again !

1) Thank you for your participation , all the updates, information, pictures and camaraderie.
We hope that your vessel is in a safe place for the hurricane season.
Here is a link to watch the thank you video –
To download a version locally go to

Panama Posse Season FInale

2) Vista Mar Marina, Panama
held the fabled Panama Posse Season Finale Celebration with 11+ vessels in attendance.
Congratulations to all and thank you Vista Mar Marina for putting out such a fabulous spread.

Panama Posse Season FInale

Panama Posse Season FInale

A special thank you to Suzy ( Distant Drummer ) Jacqueline ( Vista Mar Marina) and Jaime Figueroa

Panama Posse Season FInale

Panama Posse Season FInale

Panama Posse Season FInale

3) The Panama Posse Shop to commemorate the 2018-2019 season is open until July 5th so please get your orders in for your custom gear

( all vessel names are on the back of most of the shirts )  visit

Panama Posse Season FInale

Panama Posse Season FInale

4) Sign up for next Panama Posse season

Simply reply to this email and we’ll take care of it – the 2019-2020 season already has 38 vessels on it’s roster.

The 2019-2020 Burgee will feature “3 fallen coconuts” to indicate season 3 😉

Panama Posse Season FInale

Panama Posse Season FInale

Attached is the next notice of a rally – please email it to your favorite marinas or yacht clubs for notification to all members

Please email the attached to your favorite marinas or yacht clubs.

If you do not wish to renew you don’t have to do anything as by July 6th all your benefits,
of being part of the Panama Posse will fade into the sunset by July 5th
(Line / Good Nautical / Fleet Updates / Discounts / Facebook Group / etc. )

5) Here are the 2019-2020 Kick off Dates!
Thu Dec 5th  Route planning & Navigation

Fri Dec 6th   Communications,  Weather, Safety

Sat Dec 7th  Satellite Charts / OpenCPN / Good Nautical

Sat Dec 7th Evening  – the official Panama Posse Kick off Party – with SHOOTING OFF SAFETY FLARES  !

Sun  Dec 8th  Provisioning & What to see and do – Recap & Q&A

Panama Posse Season FInale

6) We need your feedback so we have a survey for you to fill out.
Please help us improve the Panama Posse by answering this 5 minuteform
use the document password “posse2018” to access the survey !

Panama Posse Season FInale

7) Sugar Shack was struck by lightning in Herradura, Costa Rica in May 2018.
Below is a very helpful document from last season’s Sugar Shack on how to deal with boat insurance companies – if you have a major claim.

Preventing and mitigating claim issues

This document is based on hindsight and our experience with our insurance carrier.

Preventative Measures prior to a claim
Document, document, document everything.  With photos, receipts, affidavits, and anything that can support your future claim of repairs, maintenance, service, purchases, and upgrades.
Ask your insurance carrier to provide you with Underwriter contact information.  This will be challenging as they won’t want to provide it. But it will benefit you during a claim, if and, when you have problems.
Obtain information on how to file a complaint in the event your claim is not handled properly.  This might be on your policy, if not, ask your agent or insurance carrier.
Maintenance receipts should be provided for all professional work (even when it’s free).  Dated receipts should provide a detailed description of what work was completed.  Before & after photos are a bonus.
Our adjuster asked for proof of maintenance on our alternators.  The receipts said, “Alternator repair and replaced 3 diodes” which did not qualify as “bench testing or maintenance.”
Receipts – save all receipts (digital is best to easily prove online).  If it is not clear what item was purchased, note it on the receipt.
We bought a Deka 24M7 at Island Water World. Receipt read “Marine Dual Purpose A002401”.  We had to show “A002401” is the stated battery by linking back to the IWW website.
Inventory your boat and update every 6 months when possible.  It will be much easier to update an existing equipment list at the time of an incident than it will be to create a new one.
List should include: Item, Model & Manufacturer, Age, Cost at time of purchase, Location.
This list will help ensure that you check functionality on all parts, after an incident. You don’t want to miss something.  On a lightning strike you want to check everything with a circuit board/panel.
Every 6-12 months, photograph or video tape all electronics, mechanical equipment, anchor, chain, and high dollar or valuable items.  This provides proof of ownership and proof of state of gear.
You might need to provide before and after photos.  Lightning damaged our chain and anchor with severe ARC marks, pitting, and gauges.  Who thinks about photographing your anchor? Luckily, we had a photo, underway, of dolphins at the bow showing the anchor in foreground. 

Be clear what is and isn’t covered in your policy (housing while boat is on the hard, haul out, storage, marina, survey, surveyor, rig check).  Good to know this before you file your report.
We couldn’t stay on the boat while it was on the hard. Housing for 5 months was over $4k and insurance only covered a small portion ($1000).
Be aware of your deductibles and when they are due.
Are they due up front or deducted from amount paid to you?
Ask how claim payments are handled.  Are you responsible for all upfront expenses, then receive reimbursement from insurance company?  Or do they provide you with lump sum good faith payments based on estimates, and settle balance at the end?
Our adjuster originally wanted us to cover all expenses, then submit receipts.  Our claim was several hundred thousand dollars which would have been a huge financial hardship.  With lots of negotiating, we secured several small payments to cover the cost of equipment.
We paid the final lump sum and waited for reimbursement once invoices are balanced.
Read the fine print on your coverage.  Some companies double the deductible due to a lightning strike.

Immediately after the incident
Do whatever you need to do to minimize and mitigate additional damage to your vessel.
Document everything you do to mitigate the damage (provide photos if possible)
Temporary fixes included some navigation lights, head, water
Photograph and document all damaged items.
We ascended the mast, photographed VHF antennae where lightning struck. 
Swam on bottom of boat to ensure no holes or exit points were found, checked all bilges, etc…
Photographed and collected all smoking and burnt items.
Do not discard any damaged items.  Save everything including fuses, shards of damaged equipment. 
You (or a vendor) be required to hold on to all damaged equipment for a year.
Reporting the incident, report all pertinent information: name, boat name, policy number, date, time and location of incident, witnesses, type of damage, extent of damage, weather, parties involved, etc…
Request boat/rig survey, haul and whatever it takes to determine the full extent of damage to your boat.
Adjuster denied our request for a boat, rig survey, & haul out, for 10 days before finally agreeing.
If you are in a holding pattern (waiting for approval: move boat, haul out, survey, whatever), be proactive.
Research haul out facilities near you (rates, availability, distance from you, possible routes).
Document damaged items.  Try to do an initial damage assessment including make, model, age, type, damage incurred).  Your equipment list will come in handy if you have been maintaining it.
Again, another useful way to ensure you check and double check all components.
Research local electronic and/or mechanical vendors whom you might hire.
If you can, ask them to come out to the boat to assess damage (if at no charge).
Constantly check and recheck equipment as it may work one day and not another.
Constantly check and recheck all safety protocols.
Be proactive get estimates/quotes for any perceived costs or expenses ahead of time and get the insurance company or adjuster to approve them prior to commencing work.
Remember to include everything you can think related to the claim.  Related costs could include visa extensions, boat permit extensions, yard fees, delivery fees, duty, shipping, tax, etc…
Costa Rica does not recognize “Yacht in Transit” and therefore charged us duty on all equipment.
If your claim requires a surveyor (all lightning strikes should be surveyed), they will be provided by the insurance company.  Which means they work for the insurance company and not you.
Prior to scheduling the surveyor for the insurance company, hire your own surveyor who will work for you.  Then tell your insurance company that your surveyor will meet their surveyor at the boat at same time to ensure there are no discrepancies. Keeps everyone honest.  Yes, you will have to pay for your surveyor, but it will be well worth it in the end to ensure an honest damage assessment report.
Ensure that both surveyors see the boat for the first time at the same time.

Surveyor and damage assessment

All surveys (whether related to a claim or not) should always mention all expensive parts, components, electronics – listed out, photographed, with model and/or serial numbers.  Ask the surveyor to ensure that he includes everything possible.
Insurance denied items because they were not noted on our required standard policy renewal survey taken 2 years prior.  Our Wet Sounds Tower speakers were installed, and we provided photos and receipts on top of surveyor witnessing them on board.  But because they were not listed on the survey from a few years prior they wanted to deny them as part of the claim.
In between surveys, document maintenance, upgrades and purchases with detailed receipts and photos.
During a claim, you may need to provide a list of upgrades, maintenance, & purchases that have occurred since last survey.
If your insurance carrier sends a surveyor, do your homework and find out what you can about this surveyor and their company. (Google, LinkedIn, BBB, cruiser forums)

Our 1st surveyor had never surveyed a catamaran, nor had he surveyed any boat that was struck by lightning.  He did not provide much guidance or feedback.
The 2nd surveyor, David Morris at Morris Marine had a really bad Yelp review.  Previous insureds stated he lied about equipment state and said one thing at the survey and reported something completely different to insurance carrier.  Unfortunately, he did the same thing to us as well.
Surveyor will reach out to you to schedule the survey.  Be sure to ask them, if they have surveyed a boat like yours, in incident like yours, and what their general experience is with damage assessments.  Be aware of their experience and their limitations so you can prepare accordingly.
If you select not to hire your own surveyor, ask the insurance company’s surveyor if you can record (audio) the survey to ensure there are no discrepancies.
Our surveyor would not let us record audio (which is fishy in itself) and he said one thing at the survey and reported things differently on the report.
If they won’t let you record, document the conversation in a notebook and read it back to surveyor to ensure he/she is aware of what you understand and wrote.
The damage assessment report (or survey) will belong to the insurance company, but you can request a copy, which is highly recommended.  This will allow you to know what is covered as part of the claim.
Have surveyor photograph everything, especially if you can show damage or non-functionality.
Follow surveyor around and note what he notes.  What’s functioning or not, what meter readings are…
During damage assessment, tell surveyor everything you can think of including all repairs, maintenance upgrades, purchases. Especially if they’re not noted on last survey.
This is easier if you have a running log of repairs, upgrades, and maintenance. We did not.
We failed to mention the alternator maintenance (even though we had receipts of maintenance), they used the fact that we did not mention it during the assessment as an “issue.”
If your adjuster or surveyor states a piece of equipment is not damaged due to the claim, and you truly believe it was damaged because of your incident – take it to an expert.  Yes, you may have to pay for the test or analysis, but it will be worth it to support your claim.  Back your claim with technical expertise.
Our stainless-steel chain was damaged from the lightning strike.  The adjuster sent a sample to a “lab” to have it analyzed and the results showed a “304 composition.”  Our receipt showed 316 grade, so we sent it to a metallurgic analysis lab to prove that it was in deed 316 composition.
Our house batteries, alternators, and windlass were all damaged due to the strike.  The surveyor said they stopped working due to maintenance (yes all at once).  We had to bench test all equipment with a third-party vendor and provide a written root cause analysis.

General Notes:

Be up front, honest, and transparent.
Be proactive, professional, and persistent.
Fight your claim with technical points, written affidavits, documentation, photos, videos, and receipts.
Remove all emotion from your correspondence.  It is very easy to get frustrated and angry when you are dealing with delays and denials.  But, don’t express your feelings, fight with facts and hard evidence.
Don’t blog or post on social Media updates or information on your claim, while the claim is active – ever!
Never make legal threats against any insurers unless you are fully prepared to go to court.  Especially, with the Lloyd’s Market. Attorneys told us that they will stop payments, close your claim and force you to litigate in London (per policy).
Ensure all invoices match estimates.  Do not give them any reason to deny your claim.
Provide a spreadsheet (they will probably provide a format) with item, damage, model, manufacturer, age, repair or replace, estimate to repair or replace, cost to repair or replace, final cost to be paid. 
Our insurer also asked for links to repair parts to ensure vendor did not have too big of a markup.
Fight hard for what is right.  Being honest and don’t commit insurance fraud.
Insurance companies count on you getting tired of the fight and/or backing down.  Some insureds just settle for whatever they are willing to get despite true damage by a claim – fight for what is right.  You paid for a policy of coverage and deserve that coverage.

Matthew & Christine

Panama Posse Season FInale

Panama Posse Season FInale


8) Hurricane Season

It’s time to batten down the hatches and find your safe port to wait for the hurricane season to pass.

Keep a close eye on NOAA’S National Hurrican Center website

Panama Posse Season FInale

9) Thank you to the Sponsors and Partners !
We want to officially thank all of our generous sponsors and partners  for their dedication to us and the Panama Posse

  • Marina Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta – Mexico 
  • Marina Puerto de La Navidad – Barra de Navidad – Mexico 
  • Marina Ixtapa, Ixtapa – Mexico 
  • La Marina Acapulco, Acapulco – Mexico 
  • Marina Chiapas – Mexico 
  • Marina Bahia del Sol – El Salvador 
  • La Palma Moorings – Bahia del Sol, El Salvador 
  • Marina Puesta del Sol – Nicaragua 
  • Marina Papagayo – Costa Rica 
  • Marina Pez Vela – Costa Rica 
  • Banana Bay Marina – Costa Rica 
  • Golfito Marina Village – Costa Rica 
  • Vista Mar Marina – Panama 
  • Shelter Bay Marina – Panama 
  • Red Frog Marina – Panama 

Official Panama Canal Agent

Official Panama Posse Ambassadors

Panama Posse Partners

10)  Thank you all – see you next season !!
And a special thank you to Chris on Seaglub for the Weather updates and Line calls a.m.o.

Panama Posse Season FInale

Panama Posse Season FInale

Dietmar & Suzanne


Panama Posse Season FInale

11 ) no need to opt-out unless you sing up for next season this is your last FLEET UPDATE


Panama Posse Season FInale