Do you incidentally hire a captain or crew for a trip? Do you ever hire a captain or crew to help assist your vessel in the event of a storm or a special occasion?
If you answered yes to either one of these questions, you need to be sure your policy provides crew coverage. Most yacht insurance policies do not automatically provide crew liability in relation to the Jones Act, Death on the High Seas Act and General Maritime Law.
As the owner of a yacht you are considered to be responsible for the care and safety of the crew that you hire. Medical costs, sick wages, the costs of repatriating an injured crew member, hiring a replacement as well as compensation costs arising from illness, permanent injury and death are not covered automatically under most yacht insurance policies.
The Federal Jones Act defines the legal rights of crew who are injured or killed in the course of maritime service. It entitles them, or their survivors, to sue their employer in the event that the yacht owner was negligent.
Here is one example of negligence on the yacht owner’s part:
Let’s say that a hatch cover gets rusty and becomes very difficult to open. If a crew member injures his back trying to lift the hatch cover, the yacht owner will be liable for failing to have properly inspected and repaired the hatch cover.
By endorsing crew coverage on your marine insurance policy you have coverage for losses including, but not limited to, loss of life of, or injury to, or illness of any crewman, medical payments or lost wages (Maintenance & Cure), costs and/or expenses incurred for the investigating or defending any claim or suit arising of a liability or alleged liability to a crewman due to the operation/maintenance/working in the service of your vessel.
Does your yacht insurance policy have crew liability coverage? Please contact us to review your exposure to a crew claim and having the appropriate crew coverage in place. Providing crew coverage is the yacht owners responsibility and not to be overlooked.