Are you planning to take passengers out on your charter vessel? Before you promise a memorable voyage, collect payment and leave the dock, check with your insurance provider to make sure your policy is sound. Don’t guess at the number of passengers your policy dictates as being admissible. The Coast Guard has a laser focus on ensuring vessel compliance, and even those that are partially insured are being pulled over and their captains fined.
Adhere to the following tips, charter owners. The viability of your business depends on it.
Obtain the proper Coast Guard credentials and charter insurance
Have a charter policy in force? -That’s great! Make sure you abide by it. Recently fined vessels actually did have some coverage, but they had more passengers on board than the coverage stipulated. Exceed the maximum passenger count shown in the policy terms and conditions, and you are likely to be held liable.
We saw an example of this in the Tampa Bay area recently when a Coast Guard small law enforcement crew terminated the voyage of a 21-foot uninspected passenger vessel with 9 passengers for this very reason: https://iontb.com/coast-guard-terminated-an-illegal-charter-saturday-near-demens-landing-park/
Illegal activity of any kind, as well as fines and penalties, are not covered by your insurance policy.
In this case, a little bit of protection is not better than none at all. You will not have your fines cut in half because you opted for ‘some’ insurance coverage. What’s more, your captain’s license and the welfare of your passengers are at risk if you have more souls on board than recommended. We repeat: If you have a charter policy and still exceed the maximum passenger count allowed by the insurance company, no coverage is in effect. None. You receive absolutely no ‘brownie points’ for having partial coverage for your dealings.
What happens when a captain is cited for improper charter procedures is likely to be dire. Your boat – the actual means of your livelihood – can be seized. Fines and penalties may be imposed. And that dream of making what you love your income stream can be jeopardized. Check out this recent article which details what happened to an illegal Tampa Bay Charter.
When charter coverage is insufficient and you’re cited, it’s too late.
Your W3 Marine advisor will work with you to make sure the following does not happen: https://bit.ly/2wfsW10.
Contact the W3 Marine team to make sure you’re in compliance at 727-522-7777 or submit a quote request.
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