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What is Marine Liability Insurance?

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Do you operate a commercial fishing boat? Or perhaps you own a catamaran and take giddy tourists out for snorkeling trips. Whatever you do, owning and operating a boat can be risky. You need to protect yourself with the appropriate insurance coverage. 

Marine liability insurance—also referred to as ocean marine liability insurance and protection and indemnity coverage—protects you against claims of third-party bodily injury, third-party property damage, and personal advertising injury. Marine legal liability applies specifically to anyone who works on or near the water. 

Who needs marine liability coverage?

  • Boat business owners
  • Marina operators/owners
  • Boat dealers
  • Boat manufacturers 
  • Ship repairers
  • Terminal operators 
  • Stevedores
  • Wharfingers
  • Port Authorities
  • Charter vessels

Some insurance companies will extend liability protection to traveling workmen. For example, coverage extends to anyone (such as a ship repairer) employed by the boat owner that is on board the watercraft. 

What Does Marine Liability Insurance Cover?

This liability coverage includes protection for illness, injury, or the death of the crew, clients, and passengers. It can also cover liability claims arising from collisions, cleanup and removal of a wreck, and oil spills or pollution. It's similar to a general liability policy for business owners.

  • General Liability Coverage: This portion of the policy protects your business if a customer or other third-party alleges that you damaged their property or they were harmed by your boat or business operations. 
  • Personal & Advertising Injury: This protects you from claims of libel, slander, and copyright infringement.
  • Product/Completed Operations: This protects you if someone claims anything you sold them caused property damage or bodily injury. You can be sued if you manufactured, handled, distributed, or sold the product in question. 

Legal liability is often determined by the courts, which is why your business needs solutions like marine liability

The Jones Act

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (more widely known as the Jones Act) granted seamen the right to sue their employers if negligence caused them illness or injury. It can extend to the captain and crew. That’s why it’s advisable to consider offering your crew members workers’ compensation insurance. One option—designated by the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Compensation Act—is a federal workers compensation program designed for dockside workers

These policies reimburse a crew member for their medical bills and lost wages if injured on the job.

Other Commercial Marine Insurance Policies to Consider

What other marine insurance policies should you consider?

  • Hull Insurance (including collision liability): This protects your boat like commercial auto insurance.
  • Towers Liability: This protects you from legal liability for damage to vessels you are towing or pushing.
  • Bumbershoot (excess liability coverage): This is an umbrella policy designed for marine contractors.
  • Vessel pollution insurance: This policy can help compensate you for accidental pollution cleanup and paying fines.
  • Ocean Marine Insurance: This is an all-encompassing policy that an insurance company can offer that includes marine general liability, hull coverage, and marine cargo insurance.

Get a Free Commercial Marine General Liability Insurance Quote

The right commercial marine insurance package can provide solutions for you to mitigate the risks that your business faces. If you'd like more information or want a free quote, complete the form at the top of the page and an agent will connect with you. Or, give us a call at 877-907-5267.

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