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When you own a charter boat, your insurance requirements are even more stringent than those of other commercial maritime operations. The master of a vessel is liable for any death or injuries to crew or passengers due to “neglect.” Whether you agree with this or not, the courts have, for better or worse, defined that word “neglect” very loosely. As a matter of fact, virtually anything that could happen on your boat, short of someone injuring themselves on purpose, is going to be viewed by the courts as your fault. As a result, you need to be well protected against lawsuits. Of course, you don’t want to just protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit. You also want to be assured against the replacement or repair costs you will incur in the event of any physical damage to your boat. That’s called “Hull and Machinery” coverage. There are two basic types of hull and machinery coverage, and they are referred to as “all risk” and “named hazards” coverage. The former type of coverage is generally preferred, because it covers almost any type of damage other than acts of war or use in criminal activity. You should also look for hull and machinery coverage that’s based on “agreed value,” which is determined at the time a policy is purchased. Before we conclude this discussion, it would also be appropriate to devote another word or two to the subject of liability coverage for charter boat owners. The basic rule of thumb you should follow in determining the amount of liability coverage you need is to first determine the value of your business and personal property which would be vulnerable in the event of a lawsuit. A typical amount of coverage is five hundred thousand dollars per incident, but cruise ships require charter boats which service their passengers to carry a minimum of one millions dollars’ worth of liability coverage. If you want to serve that market, you’ll have no choice but to buy that much. One option you may choose to take advantage of is shore excursions coverage. If your service features accompanied drop-offs, then you certainly should opt for this additional coverage, because your P & I coverage is only in effect while your passengers are on board your vessel. Unaccompanied drop-offs are not coverable by marine underwriters, so before you allow them, participating passenger should be required to sign liability release forms. Ww12.3