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Challenges with uninsured boats

There has been much talk recently about the increased difficulty of getting boat insurance.  More often than not, the prolems lies with a new boat owner who is not familiar with the guidelines of boat insurers.

Typically, an older boat will require an ‘Out of Water’ report, and with this, gone are the days where the report only had to be less than 3 years old.  Insurers are now asking for the current or new boat owner to organise an ‘Out of Water’ Survey, otherwise no insurance will be offered.

Unfortunately, it can become challenging.  How can a boat be lifted for survey if there is no insurance in place?

There is no quick and easy resolution, and may slipways, surveyors and shipwrights will hear the frustrations from boat owners.  Longer term, the solution is a little easier and the wider marine industry can guide new and inexperienced boat owners on the importance of regular maintenance and haul out.  But what do we do now?

If an insurer will not provide cover until an ‘Out of Water’ is accepted and at the same time, the boat owner needs insurance to have the boat slipped.  It is possible that some insurers may provide cover specifically for the haul out and hardstand by providing third party liability.  BUT IT IS NOT THAT EASY.  Not all insurers provide third party liability insurance and some insurers have the same requirements for third party insurance as they do for comprehensive insurance.

It is possible that insurers will consider cover by including clauses or warranties (endorsements) to a policy that will limit their liability specially while the boat is being lifted or on the hardstand.  It is also possible that they may consider increasing an excess and reduce it when a survey is reviewed and accepted.

A boat with a good maintenance history, with that history that can be provided to an insurer, are in a better position to those vessels that have no maintenance history.  Industry members should encourage boat owners to discuss their situation with insurers, and seek options based on their situation.

Ultimately there are no guarantees that insurers will offer insurance even when they presented with a good case, but by encouraging boat owners to discuss their situation with insurers may help some boat owners secure cover for their prized asset.

By Corey Yeung

Corey is with AEI Marine Insurance Brokers, a division of the AEI Insurance Broker Group. He has over 25 years insurance experience, including 10 specialising in the Australian Marine Industry.  He is also an active recreational boater and fisherman.

Corey can be contacted on 0416 278 967 or email him at