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Old 24-06-2013, 19:36   #1
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Boat Insurance

Few months ago I was told that 3rd party insurance is compulsory to birth in a particular Mariner and this practice was becoming common in Aus. Not a problem would prefer to have full comprehensive anyway, at least for the first couple of years of boat ownership & before going OS.

I presume 3rd party protects Marina and other boat owners.

Now my question is, is such a insurance policy likely to be voided if you are deemed to be under manned, as I assume I will be at times.


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Old 24-06-2013, 20:52   #2
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Re: Boat Insurance

Not certain of the requirements in Australia, but almost all larger marinas that allow liveaboards require liability insurance in the US. As I recall, if there is a note against the boat, to aquire insurance you need to show the insurance company that you are capable of operating the vessel through sea time or licensing whether or not you plan to live aboard. I would imagine that Aussie marinas are just as sensitive to financial liability as those in the US.
By the way, there is a difference between birthing and berthing!
The question of manning falls under the licensure regulations in the US. There aren't any manning restrictions unless the vessel is under charter or has paying clients aboard. The concern in the US is more to ensure there is sufficient experience for the tonnage of the vessel. As a result, the certifying government agency, USCG, has minimal requirements for a 'six pack' license which allows you to take up to 6 paying passengers, through tonnages of 100, 500 tons etc.
Professional seamen normally attend a Maritime Academy which is the stepping stone to deck and engine room officers, third, second, first up to Captain or Chief Engineer.
I've left a lot of holes in the cetification ladder for insurance purposes but you get the general idea.
Third party insurance protects the marina where you might or might not be living aboard due to costs associated with damage you or your vessel might cause another vessel in the marina or to the marina facility itself whether you are aboard or not. This should include fire, collision, accidental or through misoperation of your boat causing damage to someone else and/or their vessel. In the US, a personal liabilty rider that covers medical costs to you or some who might be injured in the mishap is important because of the high costs of medical treatment in the US. Not as much an issue in Australia, I reckon... Phil
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Old 25-06-2013, 20:33   #3
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Re: Boat Insurance

Answering my own question, apparently not, only that you have a basic license is all.
Still to extend the question further, I was on a USA registered vessel crossing the Indian Ocean from the Maldives, a couple of years ago (2008), I recall the skipper saying he needed the 3rd crew member, me, as it was a requirement of his insurer. Beside us was a delivery skipper (“Reliance”, sorry for plug) had to press gang a 4th crew member for the same reason, this was in the early days of pirate problems in the area, but I didn't know if this was related.
This is what prompted my original question, about if insurance could be voided if sailing shorthanded.
Unless advised otherwise on this forum, I will assume it was a Pirate thing. And the English vessel had to be covered because it was a commercial delivery and Pirate thing.
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Old 25-06-2013, 21:05   #4
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Re: Boat Insurance

An insurance company may well require a certain level of manning to go offshore mainly for watch standing. There are certain prescribed geographic areas that insurance will be voided if the vessel enters them like the Gulf of Aden. i don't believe that insurance companies would require manning for defensive purposes, they would just say if you go there, you're not covered.
FYI, there is a difference between a US registered vessel and a US documented vessel. One is governed by state laws the other by Federal certification. Unless the vessel is under hire, I know of no manning requirement other than adequate watch standing under US laws. Perhaps someone with more experience in the insurance side would be more helpful to you. My background and licensing is in the delivery business where I would hire crew based on experience on various vessel tonnage, standing watch, mechanical background and ability to drive a boat and get along with other crew members on longer passages.
Competent watch standing by experienced crew, even unlicensed, could well be a requirement by insurance companies, particularly for offshore passages.
Hope this helps... cheers, Phil
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Old 25-06-2013, 22:12   #5
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Re: Boat Insurance

Right it doesn't make much sense for a insurance company insist on manning up for a pirate area, but just as a side thing whenever we were approached by suspicious boats, we all 3 ugly men became visible in the cockpit. Similar to some ships, sometimes I work as a Tug boat Engineer, we have seen vessels arrive with (real) dummies lined up around the main deck Beau Geste style.

Getting back to original question, I believe now this fear of litigation thing has spread into the Pacific, I have heard a Marina in Fiji knocked back a visiting yacht as they couldn’t afford. That’s a bit of a worry.
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Old 25-06-2013, 22:22   #6
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It is certainly common to this side of the pond for insurance companies to insist on minimum manning for certain journeys, ( three up for the Atlantic bring common) , furthermore most specifically ban single handing .

Lifting such restrictions can generally be done by application and the exchange of pieces of eight.

You should always inform your insurance at the outset , of the situations you envisage cover for , ie sea area, minimum manning , etc , ie if you can think of a concern then inform your insurers . Faulty insurance is no insurance , too many people pay a fee to receive a piece of paper that can be worthless.

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Old 25-06-2013, 22:32   #7
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Re: Boat Insurance

I'd just shop around for insurance companies. Let them know what your plans are for the boat and a bit about it. My insurance is good for the inside passage and near coastal waters of Alaska. If I were to go outside of this area, I would check with the insurance and make changes accordingly. My boat (only 34 feet LOA) is often single handed and easy to sail as such. With family and home in Juneau, I tend to be happy exploring the inside passage with only the occasional dreaming of going offshore (as with most, wanting a bigger boat, more money, more time, and less commitments). However, if I were to sail to Hawaii, I would check with them and they might require additional crew for safety and watchstanding reasons. So, when shopping for insurance, be honest about what your plans are with the boat and they'll help tailor/choose a plan that is as economical and suited to your needs. My primary focus is that if the boat becomes a total loss (within some reason-they actually have a disclaimer in my policy for nuclear war!), that the bank will get paid off, damage to others' boats will be compensated, any hospital bills/casualties will be covered, and some personal possessions will be replaced. Good luck.
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Old 25-06-2013, 22:41   #8
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Re: Boat Insurance

All policy's require you to notify or make the insurance provider aware of any and all 'things' likely to impact on the covered item.

Your question was :- Now my question is, is such a insurance policy likely to be voided if you are deemed to be under manned, as I assume I will be at times.

So you wouldn't be covered IF that undisclosed knowledge wasn't conveyed to the company prior and likely they would tell you, that once you informed them requiring you to act with regard to manning levels. Fair is fair...

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