Operating a commercial fishing business requires significant boats, gear, and equipment investments. With the unpredictable oceans and weather, fishing crews regularly face risks that could damage these expensive assets.
Proper insurance coverage will protect your livelihood from the inherent hazards of commercial fishing.
This article overviews commercial fishing boat insurance and how it can safeguard your vessel, equipment, employees, and operations from potentially devastating losses.
Hull Insurance Safeguards Your Boat’s Physical Structure
The hull policy is the core of fishing boat insurance, covering physical damage to the vessel itself. This includes the hull, deck, cabin, railings, and permanently attached equipment like winches, booms, radar, fish-finders, and electronics. Hull insurance will repair or replace your boat if damaged by:
- Collisions with vessels or objects
- Grounding or hitting underwater objects
- Storms like hurricanes or lightning
Hull coverage protects you if your boat is vandalized or has catastrophic mechanical failures. Robust hull insurance is essential to fix and get your vessel back to generating income quickly.
Liability Insurance Covers Legal Claims From Other Parties
While the hull policy covers your boat’s damage, liability insurance protects you when your vessel harms others. This is vital as accidents can easily happen on the waterways.
Liability insurance will cover you if your fishing boat damages another vessel, pier, buoy, or underwater structure. It also covers injuries to crew, passengers, or others caused by your negligent operation.
Repairing other people’s property and boats or paying medical claims for injured parties can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Liability insurance removes the financial risk if you’re deemed responsible for these damages. It gives peace of mind that an accident won’t cost you everything.
Equipment Insurance Protects Your Fishing Gear
Insuring all the fishing equipment you rely on to operate is also important. Equipment coverage is designed to cover losses of:
- Nets, traps, pots, lines, and other gear
- On-board electronics such as GPS, radars, and fish finders
- Safety equipment such as life rafts, EPIRBs, and survival suits
- Packing materials and refrigeration
- Spare parts such as propellers, generators, and pumps
This specialized, expensive gear must often be replaced if damaged or lost. However, you can resume fishing quickly with minimal downtime if you have proper coverage. Some policies may even cover gear in storage that isn’t on the vessel.
Uninsured Boater Coverage For Accidents By Others
Sometimes, an accident may be another boater’s fault if they have no insurance. Uninsured boater coverage protects you here, covering damage to your fishing boat from an uninsured operator.
Without contingency coverage, you could pay huge sums out of pocket to fix your vessel. Coverage against uninsured boaters ensures that another party’s lack of insurance won’t sink your business.
Pollution Insurance Meets Regulatory Requirements
Owning a commercial fishing boat requires pollution liability coverage. This insurance covers costs if your boat leaks fuel, oil, or chemicals into the water. Expenses can include containment, cleanup, damages, and lawsuits over environmental impacts.
Federal and state laws require owners to have financial means to respond to spills. Having minimum pollution liability insurance meets regulations and avoids steep fines. It also shows authorities and the public your commitment to operating responsibly.
Key Benefits of Insuring Your Fishing Vessel
Beyond covering property, comprehensive insurance also provides many additional benefits:
Peace of Mind Knowing You Are Protected
Fishing the open seas always has risks from storms, waves, and collisions. Robust insurance coverage allows you to venture out with confidence, knowing you have financial protection no matter what. Rather than worrying, you can focus fully on catching fish.
Ability to Quickly Resume Operations After a Loss
Despite best efforts, accidents and gear failures occur. Insurance minimizes downtime by providing funds to repair/replace damaged boats, electronics, and gear.
Policies with replacement coverage allow you to purchase new equipment instead of covering only the depreciated value. Resuming operations quickly lets you start generating income again and avoid losing customers.
Meet All Legal Requirements
Commercial fishing has numerous regulations around liability, employees, and pollution. Having insurance isn’t just asset protection; it’s required by law.
Work with your agent to ensure your policy meets all mandates for commercial vessel owners. This includes Jones Act crew coverage. Proper insurance keeps you operating legally and avoids fines.
Safeguard Your Business Investment
You likely have invested hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars between vessels, electronics, and gear. Self-insuring requires massive cash reserves or credit.
Insurance provides affordable protection by pooling risk, so you pay a fraction of the coverage amount yearly. This is far more practical than tying up capital as self-funded contingency funds.
Protect Your Livelihood on the Open Sea with Commercial Fishing Boat Insurance from JMG Insurance Agency
Insuring your commercial fishing vessel allows you to head out with confidence. Robust policies cover potential damage to your boat, liability, fishing gear losses, and legal compliance. While no insurance eliminates all risk, proper coverage provides security and peace of mind for this hazardous work.
If you aren’t certain of the best commercial fishing boat insurance policy for your needs, JMG Insurance Agency is here to help. Our experts can answer your questions and help you create the ideal insurance package to protect your boat, livelihood, and employees.