Enjoying the end of a holiday week with a day on the water?
The weather is beautiful, the family is excited, and you’re off for a day on the water.
At the local marina, you sign up for a day’s rental, fill out the rental agreement, waiver forms, and they copy your valid driver’s license and credit card. You take the necessary safety training course and, about an hour after you arrive at the marina, you are on the open water. Your family is excited, the wind is in your hair and everyone having a great time.
But all that is about to change. You weren’t the only one out there with the idea of spending the day on the water. Dozens of boats—some faster, some pulling people on water toys, some operated by real rookies and some weekend warriors—all make for a crowded and sometimes very confusing waterway. One small driving error or right of way error, or even the slightest hesitation or wrongful anticipation and WHAM-O!
You’ve gotten yourself into a property damage claim, or worse, an at-fault bodily injury claim.
Now, the waiver you signed makes you responsible for the first $2500 of property damage to the boat you are driving, because after that, the marina’s policy will kick in. But how about the other boat? And God forbid any bodily injuries!
You’re lucky, the 25’ recreational boat you rented with a 40Hp outboard engine are within the guidelines of your homeowner’s policy. You should be covered for property damage you caused, as well as any injuries to family or to others, and any lawsuits that may follow. However, here’s who isn’t so lucky …
• Anyone who rents an apartment and does not carry renter’s insurance
• Anyone who owns a condo/townhouse or home and does not carry liability insurance
• Anyone who does have insurance for the above, BUT rents a boat greater than 26’ in length
• Anyone who does have insurance for the above, BUT rents a boat with an engine greater than 50Hp
• And forget about wave runners, jet skis, or airboats
That’s right, your personal liability policy does not extend to you renting watercraft over 26’ in length nor boats with engines over 50Hp – regardless of the type of boat or size of the propeller the marina puts on to govern your speed on the water.
Four of the top five marina insurance carriers will not step in to protect you, the boat operator, if something happens with your rental boat. The marina and their insurance carrier will be looking to you for coverage for damaged property as well as defense costs and legal expenses lawsuits.