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Old 05-01-2015, 17:33   #1
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Cruising without Insurance.

Hello, I am a professional yachtsmen of 7 years, about to take my first full-time captain's position (I've done many deliveries and project manager stuff, as well as served in various positions in realm of white boats).
There are a couple of things bothering me about the boat I am joining, but the principal is that the owner has elected not to carry insurance...liability or otherwise. He justifies it by keeping 100k in the boat safe, and saying this will be enough to cover anything that happens.
I am an American, so I might be thinking too litigiously, but I wanted to throw this out there to any professionals in the industry. Would you take this position under these terms? I'm not saying we need to carry hull insurance, but no liability?
I have drafted a contract (something I've done many times before), but this time it has many provisions in the "What If" category, essentially CYA should anything happen. Its grammatically bullet-proof, but I'm wondering if this is enough to remove my personal liability, and to protect my license in the case of an incident.
Also, in my experience, many marinas/customs/canal operators require to carry liability. Is this a valid experience, or am I misinformed? We will be circumnavigating, so this is quite important.
The boat is definitely designed as an owner/operator long-distance cruiser.
Many thanks in advance...and bonus points if the person who chose "fairweather" responds.
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Old 05-01-2015, 17:38   #2
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Re: Cruising without insurance.

Would that $100K be accessible at the bottom of the ocean after an emergency? A law firm I worked for some years back set up trust accounts and escrows for some folks who were self-insured for one yacht and some real estate. A bunch of bucks in a box doesn't sound very prudent to me. IMHO.
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Old 05-01-2015, 17:42   #3
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Re: Cruising without insurance.

I work for a big mega corp, my work vehicle is not insured as the company has cash on hand for claims. $100k of walking around money, well I usually do not carry more than I am willing to loose..

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Old 05-01-2015, 17:51   #4
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Re: Cruising without insurance.

Crazy.

As example, in Mexico if in a boating accident you will need to show proof of liability insurance. If not, you would need to be able to post a bond in cash for the maximum possible liability value of the incident with the court. If a boat was sunk, or someone was hurt or killed $100,000 cash is likely not going to cover you. As a foreigner you will be held in jail until everything is settled, or until you can come up with the cash. Kind of hard handling things from inside a jail cell. Very hard getting cash out of a safe in a boat that has sunk, while you are in a jail cell.

Don't go there.
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Old 05-01-2015, 18:04   #5
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Re: Cruising without insurance.

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Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
Crazy.

As example, in Mexico if in a boating accident you will need to show proof of liability insurance. If not, you would need to be able to post a bond in cash for the maximum possible liability value of the incident with the court. If a boat was sunk, or someone was hurt or killed $100,000 cash is likely not going to cover you. As a foreigner you will be held in jail until everything is settled, or until you can come up with the cash. Kind of hard handling things from inside a jail cell. Very hard getting cash out of a safe in a boat that has sunk, while you are in a jail cell.

Don't go there.
Thanks Dennis...although Mexico is kind of a nightmare to take a boat to in many regards. The main thing that gets me is the second point...in the case of a personal injury or death, 100k isnt even close to enough, and I as the captain would be held liable unless someone else stepped up to the plate. While that was happening, I would likely be held in jail, and it is unlikely that the owner will step up to the plate in any time frame, regardless of the contract we have.
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Old 05-01-2015, 18:05   #6
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Re: Cruising without insurance.

By the way, in Mexico at least, I had to show a proof of liability insurance coverage when I checking into the country, and also have been asked to show proof of insurance at any marina in the country.

I would consider not having hull insurance, but I will not be without liability insurance.

Also, in my example from my last post, I heard of guy that was in jail for this very reason. And that was as a result of a Mexican fishing boat that drifted on anchor hitting this guy's boat and putting both boats on the beach. In the end he will likely prevail in court as it was clearly the fishing boats fault, but with no liability insurance he is in jail until things are decided. Wouldn't that be fun?
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Old 05-01-2015, 18:12   #7
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Re: Cruising without insurance.

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...although Mexico is kind of a nightmare to take a boat to in many regards. ....
At least for latin american countries I think that I would prefer dealing with Mexican courts above just about any of the others. These actions seem very harsh to a USA citizen, but pretty much expected in lots of countries. And remember as a foreigner you are considered the ultimate flight risk by the legal system.
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Old 05-01-2015, 18:34   #8
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Re: Cruising without insurance.

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The main thing that gets me is the second point...in the case of a personal injury or death, 100k isnt even close to enough, and I as the captain would be held liable unless someone else stepped up to the plate. While that was happening, I would likely be held in jail, and it is unlikely that the owner will step up to the plate in any time frame, regardless of the contract we have.
Don't know about an incident in another country, but USUALLY, in the US, attorneys for the plaintiff go after those with money. You may be named but that could be in the hopes your deposition will benefit the plaintiff because you don't want to be held liable (if in fact the incident isn't your fault).

I certainly couldn't sleep well knowing that. If I needed the job, I might inquire about personal liability insurance, if something like that is available. But to me this would be a job I'd walk away from.

The idea that 100K in the safe is a good insurance is full of holes. I've seen 100K gobbled up in attorney fees so fast it makes your head spin. If you're insured, your insurance company usually foots that bill. Then there's the fact some harbors want to see proof of insurance before letting you dock there. Now maybe your new boss is "connected". Then Vito can approach the "aggrieved" with a brown bag and make an offer that can't be refused.
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Old 05-01-2015, 18:45   #9
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Re: Cruising without Insurance.

Considering you are being hired to captain the boat, I'd be concerned about your personal liability.

I wonder if it possible for you personally to be insured as a captain?
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Old 05-01-2015, 18:55   #10
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Re: Cruising without Insurance.

Dont take the job.
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Old 05-01-2015, 18:55   #11
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Re: Cruising without Insurance.

Adding to the info: Australian boatyards, slipways and marinas nearly universally require 3d party insurance before allowing use of facilities. A few demand hull insurance as well, though I suspect this can be avoided without much difficulty. New Caledonia is the same. Both require that the insurance be locally valid, of course. I believe that New Zealand is the same, but don't have personal knowledge supporting that belief.

In short, your owner is living in a dream world. I would worry about his grasp of other things as well if he refuses to go the insurance route, and I would not accept the job under those circumstances. To be clear, I am not a professional mariner.

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Old 05-01-2015, 18:56   #12
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Re: Cruising without Insurance.

As a cruiser I would not worry about the insurance. As a professional skipper, I would.
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Old 05-01-2015, 19:33   #13
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Re: Cruising without Insurance.

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Dont take the job.
Strangely appropriate quote at the bottom of your message. Thanks for the no bs answer.
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Old 05-01-2015, 20:08   #14
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Re: Cruising without Insurance.

And each time you are asked for insurance, I presume you would have to show them the money and perhaps place it on deposit. And everyone in the 3rd world now knows what is in the boat.

This just smells funny. I bet the cash wouldn't actually be there, it would have up and evaporated. Liability coverage or you personal risk is unacceptable.
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Old 05-01-2015, 20:26   #15
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Re: Cruising without Insurance.

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
As a cruiser I would not worry about the insurance. As a professional skipper, I would.

Bingo.....
Many Cruisers comfortably cruise without hull insurance...but being a Hired Captain without Liability insurance is, as Forest Gump Says....Stupid Is as Stupid does.
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