Blog April 2020


Posted On: April 27, 2020

A marina contract can contain various provisions that may affect your insurance coverage and ability to recover for losses suffered to your vessel. Recently, some marinas have begun including what is called "risk-shifting" language in their contracts. While this may sound innocuous, the contract may shift the responsibility for defense and payment of claims to you and your insurance company, even when the cause of the accident and responsibility for the resulting damages rests with the marina and/or its personnel. Other clauses prevent an insurance company from suing the marina to recoup its claims payments after a loss caused by the marina. By signing a marina contract with such provisions, you may find yourself responsible for costs not covered by your insurance policy. See the sidebar for some common risk-shifting clauses and what they mean.

While all this legalese may sound daunting, the reality is that marinas want to keep their customers, and reputable marinas will often pay when they damage a customer's boat; they have to take into consideration what impact their decisions have on their other customers. Even if the marina seems willing to help, though, you should immediately report any claim to your own insurance company. The marina may initially say that it will take care of it, but it may then change its mind. By then, it may be too late to get your insurance company involved, and you may not be covered. It's also essential that you immediately notify your insurance company if you or a guest is hurt at the marina.

It's important to remember that while marinas can try to protect themselves from negligence, such as gouging your gelcoat on haulout, for instance, they can't protect themselves from gross negligence, the conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care — such as if damage was caused by a marina employee driving the Travelift while drunk.

So what can a boat owner do when faced with contracts that have these clauses?

In many parts of the country, there are more slips than boats, and consumers can search for a marina with fewer risk-shifting clauses or even negotiate some of them out. Some marinas allow this for an added cost.

If your marina isn't flexible on its contract, and language exists that you think could cause issues with your insurance company, review these clauses with your insurance carrier to make sure you're not in danger of a breach of the insurance contract, which could result in no coverage.



Posted On: April 24, 2020

Things To Know About Boat Insurance

It's one of the most important things associated with owning a boat, but insurance policies can be confusing. Here's what you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.

1. What should a boat insurance policy include?

Coverage for the boat, engine, boating equipment, dinghies, and trailer. Medical payments coverage for onboard injuries and liability coverage for any property damage or bodily injury you are legally responsible for.

2. What does "Actual Cash Value" or "Agreed Value" mean?

Policies are written as either "Actual Cash Value" or "Agreed Value."

Actual cash value:

For total losses, your payout is based on the current market value of your boat. For partial losses, you receive the value of the loss less depreciation and the deductible.


You pay less up front.


You pay more to get back on the water after a loss.

Agreed value:

For a total loss, you are paid an agreed policy value, which means you know how much you'll get in the event you lose your boat. Partial losses are subject to the deductible and some items will also be adjusted for depreciation. All losses on boating equipment are replaced "new for old" after the deductible. For example, if your 5-year-old GPS is stolen, it will be replaced with a brand new one (of like kind and quality).


You pay less out of pocket in the event of a partial loss and you know exactly how much you would receive in the event of a total loss.

3. Is the trailer covered?

If your boat has a trailer, don't assume it will automatically be covered under your boat policy. The BoatUS Marine Insurance program offers coverage for boat trailers separately for a small additional premium. Physical damage to the trailer is covered under the policy; however, third-party property damage or bodily injury that happens while trailering is not. This is usually covered under your auto policy — check with your auto carrier.

4. What happens if the owner isn't driving and there's an accident?

If the boat is being operated by a family member or other person using the boat with your permission, and without compensation, they are covered under the conditions of the policy. If you "rent" or "lease" your boat to others, then coverage does not apply. Also, liability coverage is not provided for a paid captain or crew.

5. Additional options are available for a small extra charge

Personal effects coverage:

For non-boating equipment such as personal computers or clothing, and for boat-related items not considered boating equipment such as fishing or watersports equipment.

Depreciation waiver:

For boats less than 10 years old, you can eliminate any depreciation that otherwise would have been applied to a claim.

Ice and freeze damage:

Where freezing is a common occurrence, this endorsement protects boats against damages that may occur if the boat is not properly winterized.

Guide coverage for boats under 27 feet:

For those operating a fishing guide service, make sure you are protecting your business and clients with the proper coverage

Call us to discuss your situation.



Posted On: April 20, 2020

Test your boating knowledge on the most commonly missed questions from boating safety courses.

Whether you've been boating for 20 days or 20 years, many boaters around the country are now required to take some form of boating education in their state.

1. Which of the following is required on federally controlled waters for boats less than 39.4 feet (12 meters)?

a) A VHF radio
b) Whistle
c) Paddle or oar
d) First-aid kit

2. According to the Navigation Rules, which of the following is true?

a) A boat under power is always a stand-on boat.
b) A personal watercraft is always a give-way boat.
c) An overtaking boat always gives way to the boat being overtaken.
d) A boat under sail is always a stand-on boat.

3. Which of the following must follow Navigation Rules for a powerboat?

a) Any sailboat equipped with an engine
b) All sailboats under sail alone
c) A sailboat with sails up but no engine
d) A sailboat with its engine engaged

4. A float plan should contain what information?

a) A date and time to contact the authorities
b) A national weather service storm advisory signal listing
c) Coast Guard emergency radio frequencies
d) A pre-departure checklist

5. Which of the following will increase the effects of alcohol and drugs when boating?

a) Food
b) Vibration
c) Spray
d) Temperature

6. What is the USCG-approved meaning of "serviceable condition" for life jackets?

a) The ability to turn a person face up
b) Proper size and fit
c) Straps and zippers work
d) Must be within easy reach

And The Winner is ...

Here are the answers to the questions above. See how you did.

1. It's always smart to carry a VHF, a first-aid kit, and even a secondary means of propulsion, such as an oar. But the regulations require that you carry a sound-making device, which will help you get attention from nearby boats if you need help. The correct answer is b.

2. When overtaking another boat, the rules are clear: The overtaking boat must give way to the boat it's passing, and that means it needs to keep its wake down, and mustn't force the slower boat into any uncompromising navigation position. Lots of folks get confused about right of way between sail and power vessels — even a sailboat under sail alone must give way to a powerboat when the sailboat is passing. The correct answer is c.

3. When a sailboat turns on its motor, and is using it to make way, it then essentially becomes a powerboat under the Navigation Rules. It can sometimes be challenging to tell when a boat with sails up is motor-sailing, so if you see a sailboat with sails up, treat them as if they're under sail alone and restricted in their ability to maneuver. But, if you're the sailboat with your sails up and you're operating under power as well, ACT as if you're a powerboat taking early and substantial action to make your maneuvers clear to other boaters. The correct answer is d.

4. The purpose of a float plan is to let others know the specifics of your trip so they will know when to alert the authorities if you haven't returned and to provide additional information that might be helpful should the unexpected occur. The correct answer is a.

5. Research has shown that the stressors of boating including sun, noise, vibration and the motion of the water all contribute to a type of fatigue called "boater's hypnosis," which, when combined with alcohol, can dramatically increase the effects of intoxication in both the operator and passengers While a designated driver is the safest bet on land, on the water everyone needs to play it safe and sober. The correct answer is b.

6. When we're talking about life jackets, it is important that they be the right size for the intended wearer and that they be easy to reach (if you're not already wearing it). But when the Coast Guard uses the term "serviceable condition," they really want to make sure the life jacket works.

An emergency situation is not the right time to find out that your life jackets won't fasten, or worse, won't float anymore. So check your life jackets frequently to make sure the straps aren't frayed, buckles and clips fasten, and zippers work. Sun and water exposure can also diminish their buoyancy over time, so periodically try them on and jump in the water to make sure they can still keep you afloat. The correct answer is c.



Posted On: April 17, 2020

I can't tell you how many times I hear about wet phones. 

It can be a very frustrating moment to see your phone drenched with water, but panicking and rushing to dry it with anything that you find is not the solution and may actually cause more harm.

According to Apple, in most cases, you can still save your iPhone after it has been exposed to water, but it’s important that you take the necessary precautions to limit the damage and avoid causing extra harm.

Here’s the process they recommend to deal with an iPhone that has been damaged by water.

Precautions to Take When an iPhone Is Exposed to Water

  • If your iPhone is plugged in to a power source, unplug it immediately as it can cause short circuits. Also, disconnect USB cables, headphones, or any other accessories connected to it by a wire.
  • Completely dry the external surface of the iPhone with a piece of cloth. Avoid using electronic devices for drying, such as a hair dryer.
  • Hold your iPhone upside down and gently shake it to get liquid out of the ports and sockets.
  • If the iPhone is still turned on, power it off by holding down the power button.
  • If your iPhone is in a case, take it off to avoid any liquid being trapped inside.

Now that you’ve taken the necessary precautions to limit the water damage to your iPhone, you’re ready to dry the internals.

How to Dry a Wet iPhone

It’s a popular concept to stuff a wet device into a bag full of rice to dry the internals. Based on experience, this actually works and helps to absorb the moisture within the iPhone.

  1. To get started, grab a plastic zipper-lock bag or anything else that can be filled with rice.
  2. Now fill it with rice and place the iPhone in it so that its entire body is covered by rice.
  3. Leave it there for about 36 hours or more until all the moisture is absorbed by the rice. Be warned that some dust or rice grains may get into the ports.
  4. An alternative option is to use silica gel which is more effective in drying a wet device, but you’ll need lots of them to cover the iPhone.

Once you’ve waited for at least 36 hours and feel confident that the iPhone has dried completely, take it out and try switching on. In most cases, the iPhone will turn on successfully.

If your iPhone doesn’t turn on, then you should take it to a nearby Apple Store and have it inspected. Keep in mind that iOS devices have a liquid contact indicator that shows whether the device was damaged by water, so make sure that you don’t claim that the iPhone stopped working without any apparent reason.

Protect Your iPhone from Water

Not all iPhones will survive a bath, so it’s best to play it safe from now on. You already use a case to protect your iPhone from accidental drops, but why not from water damage? To protect your iPhone from an early demise caused by water, use a waterproof case.



Posted On: April 13, 2020

Because losses related to COVID-19 come in many forms, this is not an easy topic to address.

This is especially true since the terms of many insurance policies vary by insurance carrier, and even the lines of coverage with "standardized" terms often have key terms changed by endorsement that are available only to certain clients or certain industries. As such, there is no hard and fast rule as to whether any particular type of claim will be covered.

The only way to know if a policy will cover a claim is to review the terms and conditions of the particular policy with a knowledgeable insurance professional.

The following should not be relied upon as legal advice regarding how any specific insurance policy would respond in a specific situation.

Comprehensive General Liability Insurance (CGL)

Policies generally cover bodily injury and property damage caused to third parties on the insured premises. Allegations that an insured caused a guest, customer or third party harm by failing to exercise reasonable care in implementing, enforcing or warning of the risk of potential exposure to the corona virus could be covered by a CGL policy. To the extent that a guest, customer or third party alleged bodily injury as a result of an insured's negligence, we would expect to see coverage absent a specific exclusion.

Contingent Business Interruption Insurance (CBI)

CBI insurance generally provides coverage for an insured that suffers lost profits because a critical (and scheduled) supplier is unable to provide necessary supplies due to a covered peril. For those insureds that have purchased CBI insurance and have losses caused by a supplier being unable to provide necessary supplies, it may be easier to recover under a CBI policy than a BI policy. Again, the actual terms of the policy and the circumstances of the claim will be critical to understanding whether coverage is available.

Marine Cargo Insurance

Coverage for goods carried by sea is usually provided by a marine "open cargo" policy. Such coverage is typically for "all risks" of damage to or loss of the goods, i.e., physical damage to the cargo. Other non-physical risks, such as loss of market where the delivery of the cargo is delayed, are usually excluded. Thus, if a cargo of perishable goods were damaged because of a delay in delivery arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, then the typical open cargo policy would respond to the physical damage claim.

With the many novel issues raised by COVID-19 and so many variables in the potentially applicable insurance policies, insureds and insurers are well advised to consult with their insurance brokers and a knowledgeable insurance professional about their coverages.




Posted On: April 10, 2020

This year, Good Friday falls on Friday 10 April on the Gregorian calendar.

Its date coincides with the middle of the Jewish festival of Passover.

According to the Julian calendar, which is still used in parts of the eastern Orthodox church, Good Friday will take place this year on Friday 17 April.

Good Friday is the day on which Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, prior to when he was believed to have been resurrected.

Due to the events commemorated on the holy day, some might question why it’s known as “Good” Friday.

Rather than indicating that the day is a joyous occasion, the “good” in Good Friday actually comes from the old definition of the word, meaning “pious” or “holy”.

While it’s widely believed that Christ was crucified on a Friday, the day of the week of the crucifixion is not mentioned in the Bible.

Some speculate that the crucifixion may have taken place on a Wednesday or Thursday, due to a line in the Gospel of Matthew in which Christ states that he would be dead for “three days and three nights”.

While the name Good Friday isn’t mentioned in the Bible, the religious text tells the story of how Christ was beaten and mocked by Roman soldiers before being made to carry a cross to the site of his subsequent crucifixion.



Posted On: April 06, 2020

In this excerpt of an interview with BoatUS, Dr. Wallace Nichols explains the term blue space and its benefits.

You've likely heard of green space — areas in cities or residences that are full of plants that bring us a little closer to nature.

Author and marine biologist Dr. Wallace Nichols uses a new phrase — blue space — that those of us familiar with water will all understand.

Lakes, rivers, oceans, bays, even creeks and swimming pools are all blue space. Dr. Nichols, author of Blue Mind, a New York Times national best-seller, has been researching how blue spaces affect us. He calls it "the blue mind."

The blue mind, he says, separates us from the pressures and distractions of life, which he refers to as "red mind." Having a blue mind lessens the stresses of the day and gives us a break from our overstimulated lives. Nichols says that the relationship of a boat to our emotional health has been largely overlooked, until recently.

A 2017 study conducted by Wakefield Research found 4 in 5 Americans say being around water relaxes them, and 72 percent say they feel healthier after spending time on the water. Why do we feel good when we're on the water?

Nichols: When stress overload and attention fatigue are sustained over long periods of time, the "always-on" lifestyle can eventually result in memory problems, poor judgment, anxiety attacks, nervous habits, and even depression. Chronic stress damages the cardiovascular, immune, digestive, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems. It lowers levels of dopamine and serotonin, causing us to feel exhausted and depressed.

According to the "2018 State of American Vacation Study," we're working longer hours, dealing with more stress, and are constantly connected to technology, with only 46 percent of us taking full vacation time. Time on the water lets us unplug; there is less noise, fewer voices, less stimulation. The minutia of life is decreased. We get back our brain bandwidth that we can use for other things. Water takes away distractions; that's what blue mind is. And boats are one of the best ways to experience water. A boat is in fact medicine in our lives.



Posted On: April 03, 2020

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Know how to use a fire extinguisher before you are in a situation where you have to use it.

Fire extinguishers are labeled according to the type of fire on which they may be used. Fires involving wood or cloth, flammable liquids, electrical current or a combination of those will each react differently to extinguishers. Using the wrong type of extinguisher on a particular type of fire could be dangerous and make matters even worse. In the heat of the moment reading the directions on the extinguisher is an after-thought.

Remember the P-A-S-S word!

  • Pull the pin at the top of the cylinder
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
  • Squeeze or press the handle
  • Sweep the contents from side to side at the base of the fire until it goes out