Help! I Dropped My Phone In The Water

A Little Bit Stressful: iPhone Goes Splash

It was the eve before Salty Weekend, and I was preparing to drive to Lowestoft for Salty Weekend.

And if I wasn’t stressed enough about running our first ever event, I managed to drop my phone in the sea at 6pm the night before leaving.

Yeah. Who actually does that? In 10 years of living on boats I have never accidentally dropped my phone in from the pontoon/boat before.

And now. The night before Salty Weekend.

How I Managed To Drop My Phone In The Water

I’m spending the winter in Plymouth onboard Deirdre, my 1935 25ft gaff cutter. I was getting ready to tidy up and leave the next day.

I don’t have water tanks onboard so I went out onto the pontoon to fill up my plastic water container. It is heavy so I balance it on my foot whilst filling it up. And it slipped and went in the water. I went to get Deirdre’s boat-hook to fish it out. I leant down to hook it. Held onto the tap. The tap turned on and soaked me in water, I jumped, my phone slipped out of my jacket pocket into the water. I watched it glow as it sunk beneath the surface below. Nope I wasn’t jumping in after it. It was freezing cold.

I guess it was pretty comical in hindsight. Anyway so I tried to make a contraption to dredge it out, including a boat-hook, broom, and long fishing pole. And a bucket which I cut a hole in the bottom of. Anyway it didn’t work, obviously. It’s about 5 metres deep here, so my echo sounder tells me.

So what should I do? 

Was I Insured?

My phone is insured with Apple but only for damage, not loss. So if I could retrieve my phone, I could walk into the Apple store in Plymouth, and theoretically they should give me a working phone there and then. But how to retrieve the phone?

The Barbican turns out to be a handy place to moor if you are prone to dropping your phone in the water from your boat. Aquanauts dive shop is just on the corner by Sutton Harbour Marina.

Find Help

The marina couldn’t help me so I walked into the shop and they were so friendly and helpful. Within minutes they jumped into action and kitted up, and walked round with a risk assessment/dive plan to the harbour master’s office, in the rain. 

I had the task of being VHF operator for the dive which was quite fun. But it really was freezing cold standing there in the rain on the pontoons hoping the diver would emerge with my phone. And sure enough, shortly later, my iPhone was retrieved from the bottom of the marina exactly where I dropped it. 

Do Your Research

I walked straight into the Apple Store in Drake’s Circus, Plymouth, and was told to come back for an appointment in an hour. Within two hours I had been back for my appointment and was walking out of the Apple Store with a replacement iPhone. 

When I was buying my iPhone 7, I spent hours and hours doing research about the best way to buy it – outright, on contract, or with Apple’s finance program.

One of the key factors in this decision was what insurance I was going to go with. I’ve been caught out like this before. I claimed for a phone previously, but because I had to wait 4 weeks for the claim to be settled, I had to cover the cost of a new phone in the meantime. This doesn’t make cheap insurance an overall cheaper or stress-free option.

Instead, if insurance is to be of real use to me, I need to have my phone replaced immediately. There are a couple of options for this kind of cover. If you’re buying an iPhone through Apple, either up-front or on a contract, you can get Applecare+. This means you can effectively walk into an Apple store and walk out with a fixed/replacement handset. But there are limitations. It does not cover loss. Some network cover also includes 24hr replacement and loss cover, but it is pricey. In the end I opted for an iPhone 7 from Apple, on their Upgrade programme. Alongside benefits of the upgrade option, I also get Applecare+ included for free.

On A Budget?

It’s still an expensive purchase but my phone is essential to my work, and at least I know I’m covered.

If you can deal with no phone or have a backup phone for situations like this, you might be able to get away with cheaper insurance. Or no insurance.

Depending on your history with loss and damage, you might be able to ‘self-insure’. Set aside payments you would have made for insurance plans into your own separate ‘pot’. By paying yourself eg. £5/month for each gadget you own that you could otherwise be paying insurance for, and it will soon add up in a savings account that you can call upon to repair or replace yourself.

Learn From Your Mistakes

In hindsight and having learned from previous insurance policies not proving their worth, I made a good buying decision choosing an appropriate level of cover for me this time round. And because I understood my policy, I knew that if I could retrieve the iPhone, I was covered.

I just need to make sure I don’t lose my phone – which I’m not insured for – but knowing that makes me extra careful with it. I certainly won’t be dropping it off a pontoon again any time soon. 

I think I might be buying one of these though… £7.99 to save a whole lot of hassle, but that’s a lot of phone to put in your pocket!

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