Get paid to go Fishing

Posted on by David Graham

You are pretty successful at catching fish.  Looking to be your own boss and do what you love.
Your love of the water and spending time with many types of people has you believing you can make a life out of fishing.
Obviously, you understand the currents and how to catch a lot of fish.  How to get your tackle to do exactly what you need in order to catch fish.

1. FIRST YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR A US Coast Guard captain’s license.
This is a legal requirement to operate the boat and charge people for fishing trips.  Once you have your captain’s license you need to apply with your state for a business license.  This allows you to accept and pay sales tax where applicable and registers you with the state as a business, also for setting up your tax ID number.

2. Now you need a boat.  The line from Police Chief Brody in Jaws; “ You’re Gonna need a Bigger Boat”  Lease or own a Charter boat that will accommodate up to 6 passengers plus Captain and possible crew.  Your vessel should be in good condition and appropriate for the type of waters you will be fishing.  Remember you only have paying customers when the boat is operational.  You will also need: Life Jackets, first aid kit, tackle, and other safety gear required by ordinance.

3. More legal things… There are the other fishing licenses required by the fish and game department.  You want to have the proper licenses and ensure anyone fishing from your boat has their appropriate fishing license.

4. Now the part Charter Lakes Marine Insurance can help with, Boat Insurance.  Protect your assets; boat, equipment, gear.  As-well-as your liability.  With many different people all with varying levels of skills and familiarity with boats and fish.  They will be getting on and off the vessel as well as walking around the boat, increases your risk exposure.  Plus the pollution liability.

5. Marketing.  Creating a website and other media sources that create awareness of who you are, what you do and how well you fulfill people’s dreams of catching fish.  Joining a local or national charter association like NACO is another way to increase your brand awareness while often offering many discounts, including discounts on your insurance.  Plus the idea sharing that will help you build an even stronger business.

Hopefully, these tips will help get you started in your dream job.  May your seas be smooth and lines tight.

Insight for this article comes from many sites (NACO, USCG, over 30 years of experience and more)

Sun Protection While on the Water

Posted on by David Graham

Summer officially begins this week.  And Charter Lakes Marine Insurance wants you to have a safe and enjoyable experience while you are out on the boat.

Summer time means: boating, fishing, beach getaways, picnics, baseball games, golf and just getting outdoors.

Exposure to the UV rays can be very dangerous. Those dangers are magnified while on the water.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3.5 Million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year and on the rise.  90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s UV rays. If you love being on the water, you probably want to spend the entire day and into the evening out there.  Plus, the tan makes your smile just a little brighter.  However… at a risk.

Here are 6 tips that should help you reduce your risks.
1) Apply sunscreen every day, even those gray days or days you don’t expect to be out for very long.  When planning those days you will be out longer, the recommendation is 1-2 ounces of sunscreen every 2 hours.  More often if swimming or sweating.   Use minimum of SPF 15 for short exposures or at least SPF 30 if you are planning long periods of time outdoors.  Don’t forget, you need lip balm or lipstick with SPF as well.  Cover all areas of your skin and ask for help with the hard to reach areas.  We’ve all seen people with sunburned hands, fingers, tops of their feet and toes or areas that they just couldn’t quite reach.
2) Covering up is also a very good idea.  You can find clothing with fabric that has SPF protection.  This will also allow you to spend more time outdoors without having to reapply sunscreen.  Hats that cover your scalp, face, ears and neck, probably looking at needing a 3in. brim.  Your sunglasses need to block 99%-100% of the UV rays. 
3) Take advantage of shade and umbrellas, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 4PM when the sun is most intense.
4) Be aware of glare and reflection of the sun from water, sand and other areas this glare intensify the rays.  Avoid tanning oils as well as they add to the intensity of the exposure.
5) Take extra precautions; if you are taking medicine, supplements or using acne products as several of these are “photosensitive”, making your skin even more sensitive to the sunlight.
6) Avoid tanning beds; there is no such thing as a healthy tan the UVA rays from tanning equipment actually penetrate deeper into the skin than the UVB rays from the sun.

These 6 tips can help you enjoy your time outside without that nasty red sunburn.

Applying sunscreen and these simple tips may help reduce the cases of skin cancer diagnosed this year.
Information for this post came from the following sources: American Cancer Society, and

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance for Charter and Guide Fishing

Posted on by David Graham

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance for Charter and Guide Fishing

Just read an article of an illegal charter operation that was fined by the US Coast Guard over $14,000.  Probably not enough. They were not following inspection requirements and putting paying guests at risk.
As a Charter Captain or Fishing Guide, you rely on clients, your boat and your equipment.  Missing any one of the 3 easily affects your livelihood.

We see videos on YouTube or America’s Funniest Video’s… All time Epic Fails and Follies when fishing. Might be someone pulling the rod up and smacking themselves in the face, slipping down the bank into the water, leaning over a bank or boat side and falling in... stepping on-board when a wave rolls by the dock and miss the step.  Edward A Murphy, Jr, coined a phrase known as “Murphy’s law” Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”  He used this for engineering and creating measures that would account for some of the oddities that might happen.  This is also why we have insurance to protect others and ourselves for the oddities that may unexpectedly happen.  There are also those instances that are not as funny.  Rouge waves, sharp hooks, knives, edges, teeth and fins that our clients get too close to while excitedly reeling in a great catch or trying to get a picture, or god forbid, you may recall nearly 10 years ago when the Marlin jumped toward the boat and stabbed the young man in the mouth. 

Or, we face that event where the boat is damaged or inoperable.  Maybe, you hit a log, need a tow back to the docks, or something worse.  Where would you be without your boat or equipment?

Getting the right insurance, is as valuable as your boat is to your business.

At Charter Lakes, we are marine insurance specialists and we know boats and fishing.

Our Guided Sportfishing Insurance Policy for Charter Boats combine our experience in boat insurance and knowledge of working with each of you in the fishing industry to ensure you get the coverages you need to operate a safe and prosperous business.  If we could only guarantee smooth waters and maximum catch limits!

What are some of the coverages available?

Agreed Value policies, in the case of a total loss you get the amount paid, equal to the amount of your policy, less deductible.  You won’t be shocked with the depreciation.

Disappearing Deductible; for every year you are claim free your physical damage deductible will be reduced.  Year 5 deductible is $0

Pollution Liability, fines for gas and oil spillage can be from a few hundreds to over $1million

Shoreside Liability, Wading Liability for some of those trips

For the occasional tournaments you may fish we provide Professional Angler Liability or tournament fee reimbursement, if you can’t fish that tournament due to a covered loss.

Emergency towing, Electronics, Fishing Gear, Equipment stored on shore and personal use

Charter Lakes also has Claims Specialist available 24/7 should you have a claim to report.

We wish you all a safe trip with a bountiful catch.

Contact Charter Lakes for a quote (800) 879-2248 or online and request a quote
Follow us on twitter @charterlakes or on facebook @charterlakesmarineinsurance
#drift boats #riversleds #charterboats #centerconsole #fishing #NACO

12 Tips for Recreational Boaters

Posted on by David Graham

As the weather warms up, many of us head to lakes, rivers, or the ocean to fish, waterski, cruise, and relax onboard a boat, yacht or other personal watercraft. With nearly 12 million registered recreational boats in the U.S.*, it’s no wonder the waterways are a popular place to go. But, before you head out with friends and family, take note of a few important safety tips.
1. Make sure everyone wears a life jacket.
Victims drowned in approximately 80% of fatal boating accidents. Of those, 83% were not wearing a life jacket. Insist that your crew and guests all wear a life jacket that fits them well. This can help them stay afloat in rough waters, protect them against hypothermia, and in some cases, can keep their head above water.
2. Use the right kind of life jackets for the situation.
Boats 16 feet and longer must be equipped with one Type I, II, III, or V personal floatation device (PFD) plus one Type IV throwable device. Boats that are 16 feet or less must have one Type I, II, III or V PFD for each person aboard. All boats must be equipped with one Type I, II, III, or V personal floatation device for each person aboard.  Boats 16 feet and longer must also be equipped with a Type IV throwable device. All PFDs should be in good condition and have a Coast Guard Approval Number.
o Type I PFDs are often called off-shore life jackets. They provide the most buoyancy and are effective in all waters, especially open, rough, or remote waters where rescue may be delayed. They are designed to turn most unconscious wearers to a face-up position in the water.
o Type II PFDs are near-shore buoyancy vests. They are intended for calm, inland water or waters where there is a good chance of quick rescue.
o Type III PFDs are also called floatation aids. They are good for calm, inland water, similar to Type II.
o Type IV PFDs are designed to be thrown to a person in the water and grasped and held by the user until rescued.
o Type V PFDs are special use devices. They may be carried instead of other PFDs if used in accordance with the approved conditions designated on the label. They may be inflatable vests, deck suits, work vests, board sailing vests or hybrid PFDs.
3. Never drink alcohol and go boating.
Alcohol use is a leading contributor to fatal boating accidents, causing approximately 15% of the deaths each year. Stay sharp when you’re on the water by leaving the alcohol on dry land.
4. Take a boating safety course.
Only 13% of the boating deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally approved boating safety education certificate. You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate if you complete a safety course. Contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron chapter or visit for details.
5. Put down the cell phone, while driving.
One of the top five contributing factors to boating accidents is inattention. Just like distracted driving on our highways, talking, texting, and other use of cell phones while boating is a growing problem on the water. Don’t contribute to this problem. Keep your eyes on the water ahead and around you.
6. Drive at a safe speed and follow all boating safety and navigational rules.
Excessive speed and improper lookout are two of the top contributing factors to boating accidents. Make sure you understand the local rules and laws of the waterway (navigation buoys or counter clockwise) and follow them closely. Take note of visibility, traffic density, and proximity to navigational hazards such as shoals, rocks, or floating objects.

7. Check the weather forecast and be prepared for it to change.
A calm day can quickly turn ugly on the water. There were 41 deaths in 2016 attributed to weather conditions. Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions and stay on top of the forecast while boating.
8. Take action before a storm hits.
Storm and hurricane forecasts and warnings are issued by the National Hurricane Center. Boaters can get information from VHF marine radios, commercial radios and television stations and newspapers. As a boater, you need to be aware of the types of advisories and take action before a storm hits. Warnings range from small craft advisories, with winds of 18 knots or less, up to hurricane warnings with winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) or greater.
9. Register for a free Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number and have a VHF radio equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) installed and connected to your GPS.
When in coastal and inshore waters, these preparations can help take the search out of search and rescue. DSC allows the VHF radio to transfer information digitally, and to instantly send a digital distress alert, which includes your exact position, to the Coast Guard upon activation of the emergency button. Part of the alert is the MMSI number, which will identify your vessel automatically.
10. Use a carbon monoxide detector.
All internal combustion engines emit carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can make you sick in seconds and kill in minutes. Remember, you cannot see, smell, or taste CO, so know the symptoms (similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication).
11. File a float plan.
The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you always tell a friend or family member where you plan to go and when you’ll be back. That way, the proper officials can be notified if you don’t return when expected.
12. Get a free Vessel Safety Check.
Boats are complex machines and need regular maintenance to stay running smoothly and safely. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer Vessel Safety Checks at no cost, so let their certified vessel examiners check your boat’s equipment and provide you with safety information before you go out on the water. Check with your marina or yacht club to find one in your area.

Source of stats: 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics, U.S Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety
Thanks to CHUBB for sharing

2018 Hurricane Season - Prepare your plan

Posted on by David Graham

2018 Hurricane Season begins June 1st.  What is your Plan?
We hope everyone takes the best precautions they can to protect their property, and then best to just head away from the storm path if you can to protect yourselves and your family.  If you don’t have a plan, now is the time to put one together.  If you have a plan, now is a good time to review the plan.

This is also a good time for us to remind everyone and provide you with the best information we can with regards to protecting your boat from damage.

As boaters, there is nothing we can do to change severe weather predictions. But we can be prepared. Planning for the safety of your boat and where it will survive best is a lot like the real estate business - Location, Location, Location!

If you have doubts, it is probably best to haul it out. The first major decision, one that affects all subsequent action, is finding a safe location where you can keep your boat during a storm.

•The official hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30

•At full strength, hurricane winds can gust to more than 200 miles per hour as far out as 20-30 miles from the eye.

•The greatest danger of the hurricane, however, is from the storm surge. As the storm approaches from the sea and moves across a coastline, a storm surge of water may rise 10 feet or more above normal high tide and usually is accompanied by battering waves that will overcome coastal lowlands.

•Key factors to protecting your boat from hurricanes or any severe weather include planning, preparation and timely action…
Prior to Hurricane season

1. Develop a detailed plan of action to secure your vessel in the marina. Remove your boat from the threatened area or take your boat to a previously identified storm refuge.  Check with your marina regarding their plan.

2. Arrange for a friend to carry out your plans if you are out of town during the hurricane season.

3. Consolidate all records including insurance policies, recent photos of your vessel, boat registration, and equipment inventory.

Trailerable Boats

1. Determine the requirements to load and haul your boat to a safer area. Be sure your tow vehicle is capable of properly and adequately moving the boat.

2. Lash your boat to the trailer once you arrive at a “safe” place.

3. Secure your boat with heavy lines to fixed objects, trees are not typically a good idea.

Non-Trailerable Boats

1. Determine the safest and most realistic haven for your boat and make arrangements to move it there. Be sure to consider whether storm surge could rise into the area.

2. Never leave a boat in davits or on a hydro-lift during a major storm.

3. Secure the boat in the marina berth, moor the boat in a previously identified safe area, or haul the boat to a secure location and strap it down if possible.

Boats Remaining in Marina Berth

1. Double all lines and use lines that have protective coverings that reduce marring of the boats surface whenever possible. Attach lines high on pilings to allow for tidal rise or surge.

2. Install fenders to protect the boat from rubbing against the pier, pilings and other boats.

3. Fully charge the batteries and check to ensure their capability to run automatic bilge pumps for the duration of the storm. Consider backup batteries. Shut off all devices consuming electricity except bilge pumps, and disconnect shore power cables.

Prior to Landfall

1. If your plan calls for moving your vessel, and you have sufficient notice, do it at least 48 to 72 hours (or earlier) before the hurricane is estimated to strike the area.

2. Make sure that:
(a) fuel tanks are full;
(b) fuel filters are clean;
(c) batteries are charged;
(d) bilges are clean;
(e) seacocks are closed;
(f) cockpit drains are free and clear;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (g) all loose items are stored, things like: canvas, bimini tops, cushions are typically excluded from coverage during a named storm;

During the hurricane

1. Do not stay aboard any vessel during a hurricane.

2. Stay in a protected and safe place. Attend to the safety of family, home and other personal property.

After the hurricane

1. A check of the vessel should be made as soon as practical to determine its condition and security.

2. If you find damage to your boat, take such action that is necessary to save and preserve property, photograph any damage, and report any loss or claim to us immediately. We are here to help!

3. If the vessel appears to be repairable (constructive total loss), arrangements will still have to be made to remove the hull from any navigable waterway as this will probably be required by government authorities. The vessel should be moved to a yard or salvage facility storage area.

These suggestions have been compiled from multiple sources including marine insurance underwriters and claims adjusters, past and present clients who live in the hurricane prone South Atlantic and Gulf states, as well as from our own experience's boat insurance and yacht insurance in these areas for over 25 years.

You may have a better plan that works for your particular location than any of these suggestions, but the key thing is to at least have a plan (and a back-up plan) and follow your plan well ahead of the storm.

Should you have damage to your vessel from the storm, please contact your agency or your insurance company as soon you can to report your damage.

Be Safe and Be Prepared


Charter Lakes


Memorial Day… Remembering all servicemen and servicewomen

Posted on by David Graham

This Memorial Day we at Gallagher Charter Lakes honor the memory of those brave Americans who have stepped forward, put on the uniform of our nation, heroically fought to defend our freedoms, and made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can breathe as free people. 

Let us never forget their service, sacrifice, and dedication to liberty. 

God Bless these heros!


Do I really need boat insurance

Posted on by David Graham

With the unofficial kick-off to summer arriving this weekend, many are planning long days on the boat.

It’s surprising that in some states as much as 50% of boats for pleasure use are not insured.  (#uninsured #underinsured)

So today, we are going to discuss some points to ponder.
Boat insurance is more than covering your $2,000 - $10Million dollar vessel in case of a total loss.  There are agreed value policies and actual cash value policies.  Ask your agent the difference.

What happens if you injure someone? I’ve seen it twice, another boat doesn’t see the skier in the water. Or, someone isn’t paying attention and cuts off another boater.

Hopefully, your boat never sinks.  But if it should, you need to pay to have the wreck removed.  Or, maybe you end up stranded and need to get a tow.

Often times, if the boat sinks, the engine has a problem or during fueling, gas or oil leak.  There are pollution fines and cleanup that can run from a few hundred to over a million dollars, depending on the state or waterway.

Your boat insurance policy should include liability protection in the event you are responsible for injuries, wreck removal, or pollution.

You might be surprised at how low cost insurance coverage to protect you and your boat/PWC for physical damage as well as covering electronic equipment, fishing equipment, and some personal property you may use with your boat plus the emergency assistance.

With summer arriving soon you should review your current policy or contact us for a quote on your boat policy.

To get a quote contact us at:
(800) 879-2248     -Or-

Be an informed insurance comsumer; Ask your agent

Posted on by David Graham

10 things to review in your boat / yacht policy with your agent
Know your policy and work with a licensed insurance agent that knows and understands the nuisances of a boat policy. Be an informed policy holder and know what's in the policy... you are paying for the coverage.
There are obviously more than 10 things involved when evaluating a boat policy.  Spend time with your agent to become knowledgeable of your coverage.  This list comes from insureds while speaking with claims adjusters and while speaking with agents at the time of acquiring insurance.

Agreed Value:  An agreed value policy may also be known as stated value policy.  A true agreed value policy is where the insured and the carrier assign a value to the vessel.  In case of a total loss from a covered occurrence, the amount of insurance paid would be the amount stated on the declaration page of the policy.  This is different than an Actual Cash Value policy, which factors in depreciation.
Pollution Liability:  Pollution liability is becoming a more and or important over the years.  You may be seeing more marinas having the customers pump their own fuel.  There can be fines for spilling fuel or oil in the water.  This could result from losing a lower unit or any other mechanical failure or a sinking.  Fines vary by state and waterway, from a few hundred dollars to millions.
Liability:  This can be the cost of raising and removing your wrecked vessel.  Or, things like bodily injury, loss of life or damage to property. 
Underinsured or Uninsured:  This will cover you for losses when the other boater creates damages and either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have adequate limits.  Your policy will then cover up to the limit of your policy.
Towing:  This is an option you hope you never need.  Being stranded is no fun and paying for a water tow is even less fun.
Water Sports Liability:  If you plan on using the boat for waterskiing, wakeboarding or other like activities, be sure to speak with your agent; if you need this and the boat policy doesn’t have this coverage, are you covered elsewhere?  This coverage would be for those participating in the activity while associated with your boat.
Electronics:  Radios, fish graphs, GPS, depth finders, etc.  You may have damage from a covered loss or theft.  Read your policy.  Electronics could have a separate deductible.
Fishing Equipment:  If you are an amateur fishermen you may own rods, reels and tackle in the hundreds of dollars to a few thousand dollars.  If you are a guide or charter captain it could be several thousands of dollars.  Know your limits and whether the gear is covered while stored on shore as well.
Named Storms:  Primarily for those along our coast line.  What is your responsibility for securing your craft during a pending storm?  Be sure you understand your policy.
Work with an expert:  Does the carrier and agent have expertise with boats?  Are the claim adjusters specialists when it comes to boats?

Bottom line is; when you are out boating none of these things should be worrying you.  Knowledge is power.  Be an informed consumer and enjoy your time on the water
At Charter Lakes all we do are marine products.  Should you want to evaluate your current policy, reach out to us.
Ph: 800-879-2248 or

We always appreciate your referrals

Hiring a Marine Surveyor

Posted on by David Graham

Hiring the right marine surveyor

There are a lot of boats for sale right now and it seems there are a lot of folks out looking to get into boating this year.
Anyone who has owned or purchased an older boat probably knows the pains of survey requirements. It’s one of the catch 22’s of owning an older vessel, and it’s often a tough pill to swallow in an all but otherwise enjoyable process.  You know the boat is in good condition so why should you have to pay somebody to tell the insurance company what you already know?

The reason is simple - Most insurance companies require it. They want a non-biased third party opinion on the overall condition and value of the boat to make sure it’s a good risk to insure.  So any third party person can do it right?  Just hire the cheapest company to come out and take a look and be done with it?  Well, not so fast…
Depending on the type of vessel it is, most carriers will not accept just any old survey.  Most insurance companies require that the surveyor be properly accredited and trained before they will accept his/her report.  So how do you know which surveyor is properly accredited?  Well there are two certifications that are universally accepted within the marine insurance industry.  Those are the NAMS and SAMS accreditations which stand for “National Association of Marine Surveyors” and the “Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors”.  Either of these stamps on a survey report carries the most weight within the industry and should be accepted by any marine carrier.  Also, you’ll likely receive a thorough and detailed report including a true market value.  In order to find a surveyor in your area belonging to either of these groups, you can search by zip code at both of their websites. &
There are great surveyors that are not NAMS or SAMS accredited of course as well, and they certainly may be accepted, but be sure to ask your insurance agent first to verify that they would be accepted.  Paying for a survey that the insurance company does not accept is not fun. 
We hope this information helps in your next survey endeavor.

Don’t forget to call us when you get that new boat!

New Addition at Charter Lakes-Dave Graham

Posted on by David Graham

Gallagher Charter Charter Lakes announces their Sales and Marketing Director

David Graham


David joins Gallaher Charter Lakes in the Grand Rapids, Michigan office.

He brings with him over 20 years of sales and marketing experience.

Including many years with Foremost Insurance.  David has worked in the field

selling, leading sales teams and as a small business owner training companies on

sales and leadership.

He is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University.

And a long time boat owner that loves fishing with his sons.

Start the boating season out right

Posted on by David Graham

Spring has finally sprung.  Many seasonal “Skippers” are itching to get their boats in the water.  That means all the preseason checks on land.  Oil, fuel, battery, cleaning, put the plug in…

Verify your license, registration and insurance are all current.

Memorial Day is just around and the corner and for those in the North, that kicks off the unofficial summer boating season.  We all are hoping for warm sunny weather.  What can go wrong?
As you load the SUV/Truck/Car;  the cooler full of deliciousness.  Hitch up the boat.
Did you inspect the trailer:
Inspect the tires!  Look for cracks in the side walls.  Replace these.   Blown tires are the number one claim. Take it from someone that has learned from experience.  Picture this:  Driving down a busy interstate at 65MPH on an 80 degree day only to experience the frustration associated with the treads splitting away and damaging the trailer and fiberglass hull.  Check the inflation while the tire is cool.  If not properly inflated, you run the risk of the tire overheating and blowing.  Check the spare and most car jacks won’t work.

Lubricate/Grease the bearings if necessary.  If you need to clean the bearings kerosene works and repack them with wheel bearing grease then replace the seals.  Check these while traveling to see if either hub is abnormally hot.  This will indicate a potential need to replace.

Check the winch, whether it is electric or manual.  Hate to get to the launch and the winch not work.

Test the Lights all the way around. I’ve found many drivers like to get up real close.  Not sure if it’s to read the name on the back of the boat, but having working lights is very important.
If you’ve changed vehicles, inspect that the trailer and vehicle are horizontal or is the tongue weight too heavy or too light causing the back of the vehicle to be sagging down or riding higher than horizontal.

These are a few of the areas that will help you and your family enjoy a wonderful time this season.

Making a difference in the communities in which we live and work

Posted on by Dan Longman

Recently the Gallagher Charter Lakes office put together a volunteer committee to start making a difference in the communities we live and work in. The entire office recently came together to donate items to make Easter a little more special for two local families. We were able to provide food for Easter dinner for both families, and we put together Easter Baskets for five children. We are looking forward to more opportunities to work together to make a difference.

Boating under the influence guide

Posted on by Dan Longman

Guide Courtesy of the Olive Law Firm.

Do you hear something Jim?

Posted on by Dan Longman

A mechanical breakdown can cost you a whole season, not to mention a lot of money. In addition, depending on the cause of loss, your boat insurance policy may or may not cover it.

Just like your vehicle. Keeping up on the maintenance of your engine(s) is key to its longevity. Paying attention to new noises, vibrations, smells, etc. that you did not notice before and having a good mechanic take a look at it can also save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

Many boaters in the North East, North West and Midwest are starting to get "geared up" for spring boating season. Now is a great time to go through your checklist and have your engine(s) serviced for the season. As they say, prevention is the best medicine!

Oh, and don't forget to make sure your boat insurance policy is up to date as well!

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance

Boat Winterization

Posted on by Dan Longman

Hey guys and gals

We just wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Year and big Thank You for your business! If you are not a current customer, give us a try! We have many specialty marine insurance carriers we work with and can typically find you a boat insurance policy with better coverage and a lower premium.

Thanks again!
Team Charter Lakes


Posted on by Dan Longman

Claims service should be one of your primary concerns when purchasing any boat or yacht insurance policy. After all, isn’t that the reason you’re buying the policy in the first place? 

Here at Charter Lakes we believe claims service is the value behind any marine insurance agency and the policies they sell.  Not to toot our own ‘ships whistle’, but proof is in the pudding as they say, so we thought we would share a few recent email comments from our clients who had to make a boat insurance claim….

“I can’t thank Charter Lakes enough for everything they have done. The compassion exemplified by them is somewhat prehistoric in these days and time. They could not have been more understanding and without a doubt, had my back the whole way through this claim.”
-William Recca, Kentucky

“Thanks Jim. I have been more than impressed with the customer service I have received from Charter Lakes over the years. It is actually head and shoulders above every other agency I have ever dealt with. In fact, I just referred Charter Lakes to my assistant who is shopping for marine insurance, and have always referred anyone who asks.  It’s nice to feel confident that your insurance company is in your corner when bad things happen.”
-Gale Porter, Florida

When informed that he would receive a claims settlement check sooner and easier than he expected, Paul replied: “WOW!  That's it?  That's incredible. I love you guys!!!!!  Thank You so much.”
-Paul Abolafia, Florida

If you’re not already a Charter Lakes client, isn’t it about time?

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance




Posted on by Dan Longman


Charter Lakes Marine Insurance  is pleased to announce a NEW Guided Sport Fishing Insurance Program that provides  the broadest insurance protection we have ever offered at the most affordable price.  For the past 32 years Charter Lakes has insured Fishing Guides throughout the United States.  Our New Guided Sport Fishing policy is a culmination of all we have learned over that period of time.  Each Fishing Guide operation is a unique business with unique insurance needs.  Much depends on the location of the guide, the type of guided activities offered and the boat and equipment used.  We designed this insurance program with the flexibility to cover any fishing guide, anywhere in the country.  The Charter Lakes policy covers the guide for professional activities both on and off the boat. The policy also provides a high level of protection for your passengers with increased Medical Payments and Liability limits. We also provide broad insurance coverage for the boat, motor(s), trailer and fishing tackle. Better yet, Charter Lakes is able to provide this high level of protection at the most affordable price in the country.  The following are some of the prominent features of the new Guided Sport Fishing Insurance Policy;

• All Risk Policy that packages the physical damage and liability coverage in one policy
• Agreed Value on total loss and Replacement Cost Coverage on Partial Loss
• Disappearing  Hull Deductible
• $ 2,500 limits of Fishing Tackle Coverage (higher limits available)
• Protection & Indemnity (P&I) is the broadest form of marine liability insurance
• Professional Angler Liability
• Pollution Liability and Dockside Liability
• Defense costs are covered in addition to the P&I limit
• Shoreside/Wade Fishing Liability (offered as optional Coverage)
• Non Owned “Borrowed”  Boat Liability
• $ 25,000 limits of Passenger Medical Payments
• Up to $ 2,000,000 limits of Liability Coverage
• Blanket Additional Insured
• $ 2,500 limits of Towing and Emergency Assistance Coverage
• Financial Security, this policy is underwritten by A+ Rated Domestic Insurance Company

Professional Fishing Guides are serious about catching fish. Their boat is their office and their tackle is their tools, so they don’t skimp on either. Fishing Guides are also licensed to transport the public over water and as such take on legal responsibilities for the well being of their passengers. We designed our “NEW” Guided Sport Fishing Policy so our clients can focus on what they do best, and have peace of mind they are fully protected for whatever takes place.

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance is a Marine Specialty Insurance Agency that focuses 100% of its energy on Recreational and Commercial Marine Insurance. Charter Lakes operates on a national basis and has branch offices in Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Texas and California.  They can be reached at 800-879-2248 or on line at



Congratulations, Bob Paulsen of San Pedro, CA!

Posted on by Dan Longman

Congratulations!! Bob Paulsen of San Pedro, CA was the lucky winner of the Gallagher Charter Lakes Insurance and Gallagher Fraser Insurance handheld VHF/GPS raffle held at the Fred Hall Sport Show in Long Beach, CA earlier this month.

Bob is a lifelong boater and built his first boat at the age of 10. He is an avid fisherman and hunter.

We enjoyed meeting many current and potential new clients at this show and hope to see you all again next year!

Gallagher Charter Lakes Marine Insurance specializes in Boat Insurance, Yacht Insurance, Fishing Guide Insurance, Passenger Charter Vessel Insurance. Thank you for your business!

Press Release

Posted on by Dan Longman

Gallagher Charter Lakes (a division of Arthur J Gallagher and Co.) is pleased to announce the addition of Roy de Lis to our Gallagher Charter Lakes family.  Roy joins us after a life time of work in the marine industry from building boats right out of college to working at a marine surveying company.   For the past (8) years Roy has focused his career on marine insurance primarily in the West Coast market.  Roy’s in depth knowledge of boats and marine insurance are prerequisites to working effectively in this industry, says Dan Longman, President of Gallagher Charter Lakes.  Translating that knowledge to the benefit of our customers is how we add value and establish long term relationships at Gallagher Charter Lakes.

Roy joins Gallagher Charter Lakes as an Account Executive focused exclusively on Recreation Marine Insurance as well as Commercial Marine Insurance.  Roy joins Marty Reichman as account executives in our Newport Beach California office. Roy will now have access to proprietary Gallagher Charter Lakes wet marine insurance products for Yacht Insurance and Boat Insurance. He will also be marketing and selling our proprietary Guided Sport Fishing Insurance and the Passenger Vessel Insurance as well as Mono Line Commercial Hull and P&I Insurance products.

Boat owners are unique individuals who prefer working with people who understand boats and believe in the value of relationships, says Longman;  “ If they ever need something or have a problem they want to know they have someone to go to who understands their situation and will work hard for them.  That is what our clients want from us and it’s what they get from Gallagher Charter Lakes”.  That is why it is so important for our staff to have boating backgrounds which is a big reason we are so happy to have Roy on our team.  Most of our staff have been on the water all their lives and love talking about boats and water.

Roy de Lis will be working  from of our Newport Beach office located at 3471 Via Lido, Suite 207, Newport Beach, CA 92663. His phone number is 800-228-6779 or 714-595-8887 and his email is  Our complete suite of Recreational Marine Insurance and Commercial Marine Insurance products will be offered through Roy from that office.

Roy de Lis grew up in Huntington Beach and went to primary school there. He  graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in Industrial Arts. He started sailing when he was 10 and started racing sailboats when he was in college. Today Roy still sails with his sons. Another hobby is  GoKart racing which led into driving Formula cars. Today both if his sons race G Karts and Roy is their pit crew, mechanic and driving coach.

Gallagher Charter Lakes is a Marine Specialty Insurance Agency that focusses 100% of its energy on Boat Insurance, Yacht Insurance, Guided Sport Fishing Insurance, Passenger Vessel Insurance and Commercial Hull and P&I insurance.  We market our products on a national basis with our home office in Grand Rapids, Michigan and branch offices in Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Texas and California.

Gallagher Charter Lakes home office is located at 3455 East Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512 and our web site address is


Posted on by Dan Longman

04/01/2013 - Charter Lakes Marine Insurance, in partnership with Travelers Insurance Company is proud to announce a NEW Guided Sport Fishing Insurance Program that provides  the broadest insurance protection we have ever offered at the most affordable price.  For the past 30 years Charter Lakes has insured Fishing Guides throughout the United States.  Our New Guided Sport Fishing policy is a culmination of all we have learned over that period of time.  Each Fishing Guide operation is a unique business with unique insurance needs.  Much depends on the location of the guide, the type of guided activities offered and the boat and equipment used.  We designed this insurance program with the flexibility to cover any fishing guide, anywhere in the country.  The Charter Lakes policy covers the guide for professional activities both on and off the boat. The policy also provides a high level of protection for your passengers with increased Medical Payments and Liability limits. We also provide broad insurance coverage for the boat, motor(s), trailer and fishing tackle. Better yet, Charter Lakes is able to provide this high level of protection at the most affordable price in the country.  The following are some of the prominent features of the new Guided Sport Fishing Insurance Policy;

  • All Risk Policy that packages the physical damage and liability coverage in one policy
  • Agreed Value on total loss and Replacement Cost Coverage on Partial Loss
  • Disappearing  Hull Deductible
  • $ 2,500 limits of Fishing Tackle Coverage (higher limits available)
  • Professional Angler Liability
  • Pollution Liability
  • Dockside Liability
  • Shoreside/Wade Fishing Liability (offered as optional Coverage)
  • Non Owned “Borrowed”  Boat Liability
  • $ 25,000 limits of Passenger Medical Payments
  • Up to $ 2,000,000 limits of Liability Coverage
  • Blanket Additional Insured
  • $ 1,000 limits of Towing and Emergency Assistance Coverage
  • Financial Security, this policy is underwritten by A+ Rated Travelers Insurance Company

Professional Fishing Guides are serious about catching fish. Their boat is their office and their tackle is their tools, so they don’t skimp on either. Fishing Guides are also licensed to transport the public over water and as such take on legal responsibilities for the well being of their passengers. We designed our “NEW” Guided Sport Fishing Policy so our clients can focus on what they do best, and have the peace of mind that if the unforeseen occurs, they have the best insurance protection, the best agent in Charter Lakes and the best underwriter in Travelers Insurance Company.

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance is a marine specialty insurance agency that is 100% focused on recreational and commercial marine insurance. They operate on a national basis and have offices in five states. They can be reached at 800-879-2248 or online at

A Recent Claims Experience Testimonial

Posted on by Dan Longman

“I received notice today that (the fishing guide policy I purchased though) Charter Lakes Marine Insurance is going to pay the claim on my 2008 Yamaha 150 four stroke under the Latent Defect coverage of my policy after my power head failure. The claims department was great to work with and kept me in the loop throughout the process. They sure saved my butt…..Thanks for providing a great product.”

Capt. Dave Pecci
Obsession Sportfishing Charters
Charlotte Harbor, FL ~ Kennebec River, ME

Thanks Dave, we appreciate your business.

This is just one example of why having the right policy in place with the right agent can make or break a season.  The professionals at Charter Lakes understand marine insurance and provide the best policies tailored to our clients individual needs.  After all, isn’t that why you bought the policy?

Experience the Charter Lakes difference

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance is pleased to announce that Ryan Johnson has joined our Team

Posted on by Dan Longman

Wilmington, NC – Charter Lakes Marine Insurance is pleased to announce that Ryan Johnson has joined our Team to manage our Charter Lakes Outer Banks Branch office located at 1430 Commonwealth Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403.

Ryan has lived in Wilmington with his wife and two children for the past 7 years. He brings with him many years of boating experience having worked as a mate and a captain on large yachts throughout the Atlantic Region.  For the past 12 years Ryan has focused his career exclusively on marine insurance where he has become a specialist insuring recreational and commercial watercraft.

Ryan will manage the Charter Lakes Outer Banks office and provide the same high level of product knowledge and customer service our customers expect and deserve. Ryan will have access to all of our current products including;

  • Anglers Choice Boat Insurance Policy – developed for Outboard Powered  Boats
  • Guided Sport Fishing Policy- developed for Coastal and Inshore Fishing Guides
  • Charter Boat Owners Policy – developed for Coastal and Offshore Sport Fishing Charters
  • Passenger Vessel Policy – developed for Coast Guard Inspected vessels that carry more than 6 passengers
  • Voyager Yacht Insurance  - developed for Yachts of all sizes, values and age and Coastal Navigation 
  • Commercial Watercraft Owners Policy – developed for watercraft used in Commercial Trade

Please take a look at our web site for more information on each policy.

These marine insurance policies were developed to insure watercraft used for specific maritime activities.  The policies are written to provide the broadest and most comprehensive insurance coverage for how these vessels are used.  What’s even better is we are able to provide this broad coverage at the most competitive price.

We are able to provide these special products because Charter Lakes is a Managing Underwriting Agent for our insurance carriers. This means we underwrite the policy, rate the policy, bind coverage and issue the policy. For over 30 years our customers have benefited from these capabilities which are unique to Charter Lakes.

Ryan can be reached at 866-629-2248 or 910-256-4148 or  For service needs you can also call Charter Lakes at 800-879-2248

USCG Reduces Testing Rate For Charter Companies

Posted on by Dan Longman

The USCG has reduced the testing rate from 50% to 25% of covered crew members due to the reduction of positive testing results.  The Federal Register notice was published today.  This will reduce the burden to vessels owners as the number of random tests will decrease.  NACO applauds this action by the USCG as it shows the continued effort of the Charter Boat Industry to provide safe vessel operations for the multiple thousands of passengers who use our services.

NACO, through the efforts of our continued partnership with the USCG and the work of Capt. Ed O’Brien, USCG Liaison, Tom Becker, and other Executive Committee members, has continually worked on this issue.  Our communications with members, the marine insurance program, and the Charterboat Consortium has encouraged compliance by all vessel owners and stressed the importance of a drug free work place.  Our efforts have been successful and this reduction of the testing rate will ease the burden of vessel owners.

NACO continues to be the leader in the Charter Boat Industry in providing benefits that reduce the financial and regulatory burdens for our industry.

NACO Press Release

Posted on by Dan Longman

NACO is pleased to announce another success in our continued efforts to reduce regulatory burdens and financial costs for our members. NACO worked with Congress on the recently adopted HR2838 USCG Reauthorization Bill, which includes a provision to extend the current exemption for vessels less than 79’ from having to obtain the EPA Clean Water Act NPDES Permit from December 2013 to December 2014. This provides another year to continue working with Congress on a permanent exemption.

NACO President, Captain Bob Zales, II stated, “the NACO Board is comprised of hard working concerned individuals who work diligently to seek legislative regulatory relief on issues that affect our members. Our Coast Guard Committee, chaired by Captain Ed O’Brien, had many discussions with key Congressional Representatives and worked with several commercial organizations to have this provision included.” NACO has been working on the NPDES Permit issue for over 6 years.

While we have not yet been able to gain a permanent exemption, our efforts in DC and cooperative work with other organizations has resulted in language contained in two introduced Senate Bills, S3570 (Senator Rubio) and S3332 (Senator Begich), that will provide a permanent exemption to the NPDES. Action is not expected on these bills this year, but they should be reintroduced in the next Congress.

President Zales said, “a key provision that NACO pushed for and ultimately was included identifies commercial service as per section 2101 (5) Title 46, which essentially states that commercial service is any type of trade or business that involves the transportation of goods or individuals. This means, if the legislation is passed, that all vessels less than 79’, uninspected or USCG COI, will have a permanent exemption.” NACO will continue our efforts to ensure passage of these bills, or a combined bill that includes this key provision.

Merger partnership between Charter Lakes Marine Insurance and Arthur J Gallagher & Co. (AJG)

Posted on by Dan Longman

To all of our Customers, Stakeholders and Friends;

It is with great pride and much excitement that we announce the merger partnership between Charter Lakes Marine Insurance and Arthur J Gallagher & Co. (AJG). This partnership has been forged over many years of working together. We finally took the plunge and made it formal this month.

The first thing we want you to know is that nothing will change with our business practices at Charter Lakes. Charter Lakes will continue to specialize exclusively in Commercial and Recreational Marine Insurance. Dan Longman and Mark Van Epps will continue to be in charge of the day to day operations and the agents and support staff you have worked with will remain in place doing the same great job they have done for many years.  Also, nothing will change with your insurance policy or the insurance protection and coverage benefits you currently have with Charter Lakes.
The only changes you will see is a name change to Gallagher Charter Lakes,  a change to the Gallagher logo and changes to our email addresses.  Nothing else will change.

Charter Lakes did this to expand our product offerings and reach new markets with our products. Charter lakes will be the Practice Leader within AJG for the wet marine programs we administer. This union also gives us the financial strength and market clout to enhance our ability to provide our clients with the broadest insurance protection at the most affordable price.  We will also be equipped with more tools to increase the level of customer service in all aspects of our business.

Charter Lakes will continue to offer special group rate insurance programs for Guided Sport fisherman, Fishing Guides, Coast Guard Inspected Passenger Vessels, Commercial Watercraft Owners and Tournament Anglers. On the Recreational side our clients will continue to be advantaged by our expertise in Yacht Insurance and Boat Insurance with the broadest product offerings in the country. 

Another reason we did this is because Arthur J Gallagher shares our culture and values. We are both client–first focused and dedicated to the highest level of customer service. AJG shares our dedication to integrity in everything we do. They also share our commitment to giving back to the communities we work in.  AJG is among the top insurance brokers in the country. Founded in 1927, they are over 12,000 employees in 250 offices throughout the United States. They are a Greenwich Excellence Award Winner and received the 2012 Ethiosphere’s Most Ethical Company award. 

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact Gallagher Charter Lakes at 800-879-2248.

NEW Guided Sport Fishing Insurance Program

Posted on by Dan Longman

11/13/2012 - Charter Lakes Marine Insurance, in partnership with Travelers Insurance Company is proud to announce a NEW Guided Sport Fishing Insurance Program that provides the broadest insurance protection we have ever offered at the most affordable price.  For the past 30 years Charter Lakes has insured Fishing Guides throughout the United States. “Our New Guided Sport Fishing policy is a culmination of all we have learned over that period of time” says Dan Longman, President of Charter Lakes Marine Insurance Agency. 

Each Fishing Guide operation is a unique business with unique insurance needs.  Much depends on the location of the guide, the type of guided activities offered and the boat and equipment used.  We designed this insurance program with the flexibility to cover any fishing guide, anywhere in the country.  The Charter Lakes policy covers the guide for professional activities both on and off the boat. The policy also provides a high level of protection for your passengers with increased Medical Payments and Liability limits.

We also provide broad insurance coverage for the boat, motor(s), trailer and fishing tackle. Better yet, Charter Lakes is able to deliver this high level of protection at the most affordable price in the country.  The following are some of the prominent features of the new Guided Sport Fishing Insurance Policy;

  • All Risk Policy that packages the physical damage and liability coverage in one policy
  • Agreed Value on total loss and Replacement Cost Coverage on Partial Loss
  • Disappearing  Hull Deductible
  • $ 2,500 limits of Fishing Tackle Coverage (higher limits available)
  • Professional Angler Liability
  • Pollution Liability
  • Dockside Liability
  • Shoreside/Wade Fishing Liability (offered as optional Coverage)
  • Non Owned “Borrowed”  Boat Liability
  • $ 25,000 limits of Passenger Medical Payments
  • Up to $ 2,000,000 limits of Liability Coverage
  • Blanket Additional Insured
  • $ 1,000 limits of Towing and Emergency Assistance Coverage
  • Financial Security, this policy is underwritten by A+ Rated Travelers Insurance Company

Professional Fishing Guides are serious about catching fish. Their boat is their office and their tackle  their tools, so they don’t skimp on either. Fishing Guides are also licensed to transport the public over water and as such take on legal responsibilities for the well being of their passengers. We designed our “NEW” Guided Sport Fishing Policy so our clients can focus on what they do best,  and have the peace of mind that if the unforeseen occurs, they have the best insurance protection, the best agent in Charter Lakes and the best underwriter in Travelers Insurance Company.

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance is a marine specialty insurance agency that is 100% focused on recreational and commercial marine insurance. We operate on a national basis and have offices in five states. We can be reached at 800-879-2248.

Boat Insurance Companies

Posted on by Dan Longman

All Boat Insurance Companies vary in their commitment to the business. Commitment translates into dedicating the resources necessary to attract expertise, to provide the best overall value to their customers and provide the best customer service.

Boat Insurance is unique from all other types of insurance in that boats operate on water and are exposed to different risks than land based property. Furthermore, liability is often governed by maritime law instead of state law depending on where the boat is navigated.  Hence the need for expertise in the underwriting as well as the claims adjusting functions of boat insurance.

Many insurers offer boat insurance as an accommodation to their personal lines customers. They treat boat insurance like automobile or any other type of personal insurance. They use the same underwriters and claims personnel and do not allocate additional resources to their boat insurance business. They typically offer substandard policy terms and very poor claims service.

At Charter Lakes all we do is Boat Insurance and our commitment to this business is unmatched in the industry. We are 35 associates that focus 100% of our efforts on boat insurance and have done so since 1983. Our commitment is to provide our customers with the best overall value on their boat insurance. This includes providing them with the broadest insurance protection at the most affordable price. It also means providing our customers with knowledgeable customer service and the best claims service in the industry.

The bottom line is that boat insurance varies significantly between insurers. Future blog posts will concentrate on these differences, and the important things to look for when choosing a boat insurance company.

Hurricane Sandy

Posted on by Mark Van Epps

Our thoughts today are with those affected by Hurricane Sandy - we hope you all made it through the storm safely.  If your vessel has been damaged however and you need to make a claim, please know that as your agent we are here to help you through the process.  As soon as you are able to safely access your vessels location to assess damage, please contact our office at 800-879-2248 and we will help you on the road to recovery.

Thank you
Customer Service
Charter Lakes Marine Insurance

Boat Insurance Premium Credits

Posted on by Dan Longman

Mercury Marine has a great new feature now available on certain models called the TDS (Theft Deterrent System) that is not only a GPS tracking system to locate the vessel if it is stolen, but can also diagnoses engine problems, monitors battery strength, has the "geo-fence" feature to notify the vessel owner if it moves outside a designated area, and can also lock down the engines from full use if the key fob is missing (idle only).  Very cool - Check out the link.  Many boat insurance companies are now offering premium discounts for approved GPS tracking device systems like the Mercury TDS system.  Hopefully other manufactures will also follow suit.  Please contact your agent at Charter Lakes Marine Insurance for more details on available insurance discounts.

Constructive Total Loss - When Lightning Strikes

Posted on by Dan Longman

Constructive Total LossThe words “total loss” probably bring a few situations to mind: convincing your wife it’s logical to spend your entire savings on an around-the-world fishing adventure, or your efforts at becoming a decent golfer. Sometime near the tenth round of golf lessons, you realized that your slice is never going to correct itself and maybe there is a hobby out there much better suited for you, with much less frustration involved. Unfortunately, in the watercraft insurance industry, the conclusion is not always so cut and dry, since many factors can have an effect on the determination whether your boat accident is a total loss or one that is repairable.

Simply put, a constructive total loss occurs when the cost of repairs exceeds the insured value of the boat.

Causes of damage to a boat like fire, water damage from sinking, and even lightning can cause a boat to qualify as a total loss. For instance, we recently saw a claim where lightning punched a hole in the bottom of the boat causing major flooding. It also took out the entire electrical system. Since the insured value of the boat was relatively low, repair costs totaled more than the amount the boat was insured for and resulted in a constructive total loss.

Due to its corrosive nature, salt water is extremely destructive to boats. We have seen boats that were partially flooded with saltwater deemed a constructive total loss because the engines were submerged. Saltwater destroys everything, whereas a boat that sinks in freshwater has a chance of being repaired. When a boat burns to the waterline, it is typically deemed a constructive total loss.

Unlike automobile insurance, where the amount of money you are paid after your car is totaled is based on the “actual cash value” of the vehicle at the time of loss, quality Boat and Yacht insurance policies are based on “agreed value.” If we agree to insure your boat for $100,000, that’s what you are paid in the event of a total loss with no deduction for depreciation. That’s right, there is no depreciation with an “Agreed Value” policy.  Charter Lakes policies are Agreed Value and are underwritten by underwriters that specialize in this type of insurance. Charter Lakes policies also include coverage for personal property including your fishing tackle. If your boat were deemed a total loss, your personal property would be paid in addition to the boat itself.

While you may not be the next Jack Nicklaus, at least you might be on the right track to convincing your wife that the boat you just purchased was well worth the investment thanks to your agreed value insurance policy. See, all that charm and flattery for her benefit wasn’t a total loss.

At Charter Lakes, we take the worry off your shoulders with insurance policies tailored to meet your specific needs.  We sell many kinds of marine policies, all of which are written on an “Agreed Value” basis. They include Yacht Insurance, Boat Insurance, Anglers Choice Insurance, Charter Boat Insurance, Guided Sport Fishing Insurance, Passenger Vessel Insurance, Air Boat Insurance and our Commercial Watercraft Owners Policy.

Fishing for a Better Economy!

Posted on by Dan Longman

Insurance for Charter and Guide Operators“I want to do that!” is the cry we hear from people who see Dan Hernandez on television. These folks are doing more than adding sportfishing to their bucket lists, they are heading to the internet in droves to book charter boats for their family vacations.

I recently read an article about the economic impact of fishing in Sport Fishing Magazine. I was struck by the magnitude of the numbers and the immense buying power of anglers:

  • One million jobs are supported by sportfishing, mostly in the travel service industries and in the production of gear and boats – That the number of Americans employed by the United Parcel Service, times three.
  • Sportfishing pumps $125 billion into the economy annually – Apple Inc. reported a mere $108 billion in its last fiscal year.
  • Some key statistics (reprinted with permission from Southwick Associates):

Just how important to the US economy is the Sport Fishing Industry? Consider the following economic-impact figures from several U.S. industries, according to Southwick.

  • $ 125 billion—Sport Fishing
  • $ 121 billion – Universities, colleges, tech schools
  • $  81 billion – Motion Pictures and video
  • $  67 billion Railroads

As you might expect, Florida ranks as the most significant state in terms of economic impact derived from recreational sport fishing.  Florida recreational sport fishing generates $ 5.7 billion in economic  activity, $ 3.3 billion of which is attributed to retail sales alone (or 12 times more than the value of Florida’s citrus crop).

The best news of all is that the sportfishing industry continues to grow as Americans embrace the beauty of what we have right here in our own country. We are immeasurably fortunate to have and enjoy so many pristine national parks and over twelve thousand miles of coastline. As Americans simplify their vacations and travel closer to home, they are rewarded with fresh air and the fishing experience of a lifetime. And, of course, there is the tremendous reward of a big fish story to take to their next barbecue. You’ve seen that guy on Facebook with the photo of a fish 4 feet long…

Parents are discovering that sportfishing offers a unique vacation experience that brings families a lot closer together than other vacation options. It is impossible for dad to land a nine-pound steelhead on Michigan’s Muskegon River while simultaneously texting on his Android. As a result, families live in the moment and connect with one another. This is where families make memories; they then become hooked (please pardon the pun!) and come back the next year for more.

Charter boats are much more cost effective than renting or owning your own boat – seriously, would you really use your own boat enough to make it cost effective? And what about maintenance? Patrons appreciate the worry free experience charter boats provide. There is the glorious boat ride through magnificent waters that even a client’s sixteen-year-old daughter will enjoy, even if she can’t turn the Lady Gaga off on her iPod. Boat captains are all teachers, so patrons know they will learn anything they need to hook and reel a thirty-pound dolphinfish (and they will learn that we are indeed talking about a fish, not Flipper).

The wind is in our sails now, and sportfishing is quickly becoming America’s pastime!


At Charter Lakes, we take the worry off the shoulders of yacht owners with customized package policies that cover physical property as well as liability for you and your clients. You owe it to your clients to have the best coverage you can afford, and we owe it to you to offer the best and most comprehensive specialized charter boat insurance products and services possible.

Good News! TWIC cards no longer required for some mariners

Posted on by Dan Longman

NACO (National Association of Charterboat Operators) has worked diligently on the TWIC card issue from the very beginning explaining this was an unnecessary financial burden and would not provide additional security. We can proudly announce some good news for many captains.

The Coast Guard has released a Policy Letter which modified the requirement that all mariners obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) in order to be issued a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC).

The Coast Guard is allowing mariners without a valid TWIC who operate on board vessels that do not have a security plan to acquire and renew a MMC.  Specifically this policy will apply to mariners who are inactive or not operating under the authority of their credential, as well as those who serve on vessels that are not required to have a vessel security plan. These vessels include:

  1. Uninspected passenger vessels of less than 100 gross register tons
  2. Vessels inspected under subchapter T of Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations, except those on international voyages
  3. Towing vessels not involved in towing barges inspected under 46 CFR subchapters D, I or O
  4. Towing vessels involved in fleeting, docking, or ship assist

Mariners on the vessels described above will be permitted to renew an existing credential without submitting proof of hold a valid TWIC. The coast guard will implement policies, which will enable these mariners to acquire a MMC without having to make two trips to a TWIC enrollment center.

Should you require additional information or assistance, please contact the USCG National Martitime Center (NMC) by email at or by phone at 1-888-IASKNMC (1-888-427-5662).

source – NACO and the Alaska Charter Association

Catch Shares Clarification

Posted on by Dan Longman

We would like to make a clarification concerning the cover article written in our Holiday Newsletter as it relates to a reference to Catch Shares regulation. For the past 30 years, the Guided Sport Fishing Industry has been supportive of Charter Lakes Marine Insurance.  We take that support seriously and are committed to supporting our clients and the industry as a whole in their pursuit of their business interests.  Whether the issue is related to the Coast Guard, the DOT or fishery management regulation, our only concern is that the Guided Sport Fishing Industry is treated fairly.  That was the sole motivation behind the newsletter article.

We understand that all Guided Sport Fisherman have unique challenges and that the fishery management program that works well in one part of the country may be a disadvantage to the industry in another part of the country.  We support all of our clients regardless of the regulatory framework they fish under as long as it is a system they feel is fair.

At Charter Lakes, we are blessed with a large clientele and we understand that inevitably there will be different opinions regarding fishery management. It is our hope that regardless of all the ideas and opinions we end up with a better fishery in the end for the Guided Sport Fishing Industry.

In conclusion, Charter Lakes stands in support of fishery management programs that benefit the long term business interests of the Guided Sport Fishing Industry.

Happy Holidays, Captain!

Posted on by Dan Longman

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance NewsletterFrom all of us at Charter Lakes, we would like to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday Season. We also want to thank you for being a valued Charter Lakes customer.

While speaking at a marine insurance conference in October about “underwriting charter boat insurance”, I was asked if I saw an increase in my customer’s charter businesses due to weak boat sales. It made sense to the questioner that if people could not afford to buy a boat the next best thing was to charter a boat. I agreed, but could not report I had heard that business was better this year than it was last year. The problem as I see it is that tourism  has not returned to its pre 9/11 levels. This is especially true of the
charter industry in many parts of the country.

I went on to explain to the audience how affordable it was to charter a boat as opposed to owning a boat. And if you like to fish, the best way to do so was on a charter boat. Fortunately, thousands of people across this country understand this and support the charter industry. I also explained some of the challenges facing the industry.

The Guided Sportfishing Industry faces new challenges to fishery access from the Federal Government in the form of catch shares regulation. This regulation is being promoted and administered by NOAA whose director is a Presidential appointee. This is another example of bureaucrats picking winners and losers at the expense of the recreational angler. This is job and commerce killin regulation that is a direct challenge to our industry and our way of life. While organizations like NACO and the RFA are working hard to fight catch shares, it will take all of us united against this misguided resource grab to stop it. Some of that is grass roots support; some is at the ballot box.

For the past 20 years Charter Lakes has administered the group insurance program for NACO. We support the Charter Industry in part through our support of NACO which has done much for this industry. Much of what we do is behind the scenes, but rest assured, we eat our own cooking, and are staunch advocates of this industry.

At Charter Lakes we focus 100% of our business on marine insurance with a special focus on passenger vessel insurance. We understand the challenges of operating a charter business. We also understand the need for charter insurance that is broad in coverage and affordable in price. Charter Lakes remains the low cost provider of passenger vessel insurance in the country.

Wishing You Peace, Prosperity and Happiness, from all of us at
Charter Lakes!

Tracking system alerts boat owner it was being stolen

Posted on by Dan Longman

Another one for the good guys! A Charter Lakes client in Jacksonville Florida was alerted by his GPS tracking system when his boat was stolen this week. He called authorities who responded and caught the thieves red handed with the $300,000 boat and the truck they had stolen as they were headed to Miami. Call Charter Lakes today for recommendations on GPS tracking systems and about any available discounts for having one installed. They definitely work! See the video here.

Benefits of the Fishing Guide Insurance Policy Offered Through the FGA

Posted on by Dan Longman

Florida Guides Association - Airboat Boat InsuranceAccidents can happen to even the most experienced captain. Protecting yourself and your customers through proper insurance coverage is the responsibility of every professional fishing guide. The Florida Guides Association has teamed with Charter Lakes Marine Insurance to provide FGA members with an insurance policy that offers very broad protection at a low group rate.

Charter Lakes has developed a Fishing Guide Insurance Policy specifically for members of the Florida Guides Association. The policy combines Physical Damage coverage for your boat, motor and boat equipment with Passenger Liability coverage in one very comprehensive and affordable policy. The following is an explanation of the coverage benefits:

Physical Damage coverage for your boat, motor(s) and boat equipment is written on an Agreed Value Basis. Partial losses are adjusted on a Replacement Cost Basis.

Protection & Indemnity (liability) protects you from bodily injury and property damage liabilities. P&I is the broadest form of passenger vessel liability coverage available. This is a combined single limit policy written on an occurrence basis. The policy includes Pollution Liability, USL&HC and Replacement Vessel liability Coverage. Various limits are available from $ 50,000 to $ 1,000,000 and higher.

Passenger Medical Payments are included at a $ 10,000 limit. Coverage is written on a per Person, per occurrence basis.

Uninsured Boater coverage is included at a $ 10,000 per occurrence limit.

Personal Property is included at a $ 2,500.00 per occurrence limit. This includes clothing, fishing tackle and personal property that belongs to you, your clients or crew. Our policy covers your fishing tackle when it on your boat, in your vehicle or stored at your home or storage facility. Higher limits are available.

Trailer Coverage provides physical damage coverage for your trailer. The policy also provides liability coverage when launching and hauling from the water.

Towing and Emergency Assistance included at a $ 500.00 per occurrence limit. This includes towing your boat to the nearest repair facility, delivery of gas, oil or battery and Trailer Road repair service.

Preferred Risk Premium Discounts and coverage benefits for FGA members that result in substantial savings.

Superior Customer Service. When you have a service request, a boat change or addition or a claim, the customer service your receive from Charter Lakes is second to none. Additional insureds are added to an FGA member policy at no charge.

Unlimited Charter Use. When your boat is not being chartered, the policy covers your personal use of the boat.

Financial Security. This policy is underwritten by the St Paul Travelers insurance company who is rated A+Superior by A.M.Best.


Crew Coverage protects you from liabilities that could arise from your employment of a mate or additional captain.

Shoreside Liability will extend liability coverage for you to guide customers to fish from shore or wade fish.

Charterers Legal Liability provide liability coverage for you when you book your customers on other non-owned charter vessels.

Additional Interests. Many guides book trips through referral sources and are asked to name that referral source as an additional insured on their liability policy.  Charter Lakes does not charge a policy fee to FGA members for this service.

Replacement Vessel Liability if your boat is laid up due to a covered loss, our policy can extend passenger liability coverage to a replacement boat to keep you in business.

Exhibitors Liability Coverage the liability coverage under our policy can be extended to cover your participation in boat or sport shows where you are required to show liability coverage.

Second Boat Discounts, you can only operate one boat at a time. If you own two boats, and are the sole operator of both boats, we only charge you once for passenger liability.

Peace of mind comes from knowing you and your customers are protected properly. The Fishing Guide Insurance policy endorsed by the FGA provides that high level of protection at a very affordable price.

To receive an insurance quote for your business, contact us at 800-879-2248. Or complete a quote request form online.

Charter Lakes Marine Insurance initiates the Disappearing Deductible for NACO Group Insurance

Posted on by Dan Longman

Grand Rapids, MI – Charter Lakes Marine Insurance announces the introduction of the Disappearing Deductible for the NACO Group Insurance Plan. NACO member policyholders will see their hull deductible disappear with our new Disappearing Deductible policy feature.

  • Beginning in 2011, at your first renewal, your original elected deductible will drop by 25%.
  • Each subsequent year you remain claims-free, your hull deductible will drop another 25% until it reaches zero.
  • Once it reaches zero – it stays that way as long as you remain claims-free and insure with Charter Lakes and the NACO Group Insurance Plan.
  • Current policyholders of the NACO Group Insurance Plan automatically receive this benefit beginning in 2011.

“Rewarding clients who do not have claims is the right thing to do “says Dan Longman, president and CEO of Charter Lakes Marine Insurance”.

Charter Lakes adds value for its clients through continual improvement to the NACO Charter Policy while remaining the low cost provider.  Please visit for a full explanation of the Disappearing Deductible as well as the other benefits of the NACO Group Insurance Plan.

NACO Continues Exclusive Partnership with Charter Lakes Marine Insurance

Posted on by Dan Longman

Press Release 02/10/2011

Orange Beach, AL – The National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) will continue its exclusive relationship with Charter Lakes Marine Insurance to administer the NACO Group Insurance Program. Charter Lakes and NACO teamed up back in 1991 to develop a Hull and Liability policy for NACO members. Twenty years later the NACO Group Insurance Program is still going strong.

“We are proud to continue our long standing support of NACO and its sponsoring associations” said Dan Longman CEO of Charter Lakes Marine Insurance.  “Our commitment remains to provide NACO members with the best overall value on their Charterboat Insurance. Over the past 20 years we have worked hard to continually improve the NACO Charter Policy while remaining the low cost provider.  We want to thank NACO and the NACO members who insure with us.”

Please contact Charter Lakes Marine Insurance at 800-879-2248 or at for more information.

NACO Insurance Program Update

Posted on by Dan Longman

2011 marks the 20 year anniversary for the NACO Group Insurance Program. For the past 20 years Charter Lakes has administered the program and the St Paul Travelers has underwritten the insurance coverage. In the insurance industry this longevity is rare and is testimony to mutually beneficial relationships that have been forged by all stakeholders. We are grateful to NACO and the membership for their trust and support.

Over the past 20 years our mission at Charter Lakes has been to deliver the best overall value to our clients on their charter boat insurance. We have done this by keeping premiums low, improving our service and continual improvements to the policy. Our hull and liability premiums are actually lower today than they were in 1991. Today the NACO Charter policy is the industry standard for insuring any type of small passenger vessels on a countrywide basis.


New for 2011 is the introduction of the Disappearing Deductible for NACO Member policies. This new coverage feature will reduce your Physical Damage Deductible after one year of loss free operation by 25% each year until the fifth year when your deductible will be zero. You have to continually insure your boat with the NACO Charter Policy during this time. If we pay a physical damage claim during this 5 year period of time, the Physical Damage Deductible will return to 100% of the initial deductible until consecutive loss free terms are accumulated.

Current clients will receive information regarding the Disappearing Deductible with their renewal policy. We want to reward loss free operation and believe this the best way to do so. This new coverage feature begins in the 2011/12 policy period for all NACO member policies insured through Charter Lakes.


We have clients who for one reason or another are not concerned about physical damage to their boat. They perform all their own repairs or may have an older boat that is not worth a great deal. For these captains their primary concern is from catastrophic hull loss and liability coverage for their passengers and crew. Or they may want liability only.

We want all NACO members to know that we have options available to you that can satisfy any insurance need. We can customize a charter policy to meet any coverage need. Please contact Charter Lakes to discuss the best solution for you.

Putting Lipstick on a Pig

Posted on by Dan Longman

NACO Insurance ProgramIn the marine insurance business this phrase relates to dressing up a cheap policy to make it look more attractive than it really is.

When you purchase a marine insurance policy you are transferring the risk of charter boat ownership to an insurance company who agrees to bear the risk in exchange for a premium. However, the insurance company writes the insurance policy. You have very little input into the terms and conditions of coverage. That is why it is so important to work with a marine insurance specialist who represents many marine insurers and understands the differences in policy terms and conditions, ie,“the fine print”.

Charter Lakes is your Marine Insurance Specialist. We not only understand the NACO Charter Policy, we helped write it. As your agent, our mission is to provide you with the best overall value on your marine insurance. On the 20th anniversary of the NACO Group Insurance program we continue to live by this goal with continual improvement to our policy and to our service while remaining the low cost provider.

In these difficult financial times we understand the desire to cut costs. However, it does not pay to purchase a policy that leaves much of your boat uncovered. We have recently seen an insurance company peddling a policy that excludes any loss caused directly or indirectly by mechanical breakdown and overheating. This means your engine(s) are not covered if they breakdown for any reason. Engines are typically the most valuable component of any charter boat.

The NACO Charter Policy does not exclude mechanical breakdown and overheating. Before you consider changing insurance policies please contact Charter Lakes to discuss the difference in policy language. This is just one example of a policy difference that could cost an unsuspecting charter captain thousands of dollars in unpaid insurance claims.

The NACO Charter Policy is one of the broadest small passenger vessel policies in the industry. For you to understand the difference between policies you need to understand what is covered and what is excluded. On the next page is a brief comparison between the NACO Charter Policy and charter policies offered by other underwriters.

Operating Your Charter Business as a Corporation

Posted on by Dan Longman

Charter Boat InsuranceMany captains operate their business as a corporation but fail to inform us they are incorporated. It can be confusing if you own your boat personally and run your business as a corporation. Who should you insure? The answer is both you and your corporation should be listed as named insureds on your policy.

Operating your charter boat business as a corporation is done primarily to transfer the liability of that business to the corporation and shield you from personal liability. To make this transfer complete, the corporation should be listed as a named insured on your charter insurance policy.

If you own your boat personally and lease it to your corporation the same rule applies.
In that case the corporation would be the named insured and you would be listed as an additional insured and loss payee on the policy. If you captain your own vessel we typically name you along with the corporation as named insureds on the policy.

If a passenger is injured serious enough to sue you, the attorneys will name you and your corporation in the suit. However, insurance can only defend the person(s) or entities listed on the policy as a named insured. If the corporation is not listed, it may not be protected.

The same reasoning is true for Assumed Names or DBAs. Many captains use an assumed name for marketing purposes. An example would be Captain John Doe doing business as JD’s Fishing Adventures. JD’s Fishing Adventures is an assumed name. Assumed names are typically registered with your state of residence so no one else can use that name. An assumed name can be used by sole proprietors, partnerships or corporations. If you use an assumed name in your business, that name should be listed on your policy so you are protected properly.

There is no additional premium charge for naming your corporation or DBA as a named insured on your policy.

Please let us know if you operate your business as a corporation or if you operate with an assumed name or both, so we can protect you properly.

From the Claims Desk

Posted on by Dan Longman

The most common problem we see with physical damage claims is late reporting or repairing damage before reporting the claim. This is a serious issue because it violates policy requirements and does not allow the insurance company the opportunity to adjust your claim.

When you have a claim or think that you may have a claim it is imperative that certain requirements are followed so the claims process is not jeopardized. They are spelled out in the Duties after an Accident or Loss section of the policy. In this article we review two important requirements of that clause.

1. Notify Charter lakes as soon as possible when you have a claim or think you might have a claim.

2. Allow the insurance company to inspect the damage before repairs are made.

This 1st requirement is extremely important and is the area where we tend to have the most problems when it comes to settling claims. If at anytime you have an incident that has the potential to turn into a claim, a five minute phone call to our claims office can alleviate this reporting requirement. Our claims office can determine in short order if we need to pursue the matter or if we can just make note of the incident and not submit a formal claim. Many time incidents that happen today do not show up for several months. We have to know about incidents when they happen to protect you properly.

With regard to requirement #2, the key here is “before” repairs are made. The reasons for this include the following:

a. The insurance company cannot adjust your claim properly without inspecting the damage before it is repaired. The insurance company has to determine the cause of loss to adjust any claim. If you repair the damage before it can be inspected, you impair their ability to determine the cause of the loss.

b. You remove the insurance companies’ ability to recover from an “at fault” 3rd party that would normally be responsible for the damage to your boat.

Collision with submerged objects account for approximately 60% of all claims we see. We recently changed the policy to expedite the adjustment of submerged object (SSO) claims. This allows us to adjust an SSO loss without prior inspection, thereby speeding up the process by days. The key is to contact Charter Lakes as soon as possible, provide the information we need allowing us to expedite the settlement, getting you back on the water as quickly as possible. One quick phone call can make all the difference.

Your policy has several other requirements under the “Duties after an Accident or Loss” section of you policy.  We encourage you to  familiarize yourself with them and call Jim Hacker at 800-879-2248 with any questions regarding claims.

Boat Winterization Strategies

Posted on by Dan Longman

Boat Winterization - InsuranceFor those insureds that live in colder climates and are not taking their vessel south for the winter its time to start the decommissioning process.

When it comes to storing your vessel in the winter you should ensure that your vessel is adequately decommissioned for storage throughout the offseason.  Depending on your location you may want to consider indoor, covered and secured storage versus leaving the vessel outdoors.  Proper winterization means more than cleaning out the vessel from the year’s use.  It requires some time and thought to properly get the vessel ready for the winter months.  If you choose to winterize your vessel yourself you should ensure that you have obtained all of the necessary information regarding winterizing your boat to cover yourself from making any type of errors or mistakes.  Proper winterization comes down to these three things:

  1. If it moves, grease it.  Lubricate all moving parts to ensure they remain that way until spring.
  2. If it could freeze, protect it either with antifreeze or by aerating the whole system.
  3. Be sure any fuel stabilizer or treatment makes it all the way through the fuel system to the engine.

In the spring you want to ensure that your vessel has been properly inspected to cover items sometimes overlooked such as drain plugs in the transom.  It is recommended that you make a list of items you find from your winterization, so that your readiness in the spring goes smoothly.  REMEMBER, manufacturers often have their own recommendations for winterization.

Typically the marina or yacht club you choose to store your boat will have the ability, at a cost, to ensure that a vessel has been correctly prepared for winter and spring commissioning.  You can speak to your marina or local boat dealer/broker to learn about boat storage.  Finally, the internet has thousands of different websites and sources of information on boating and boat storage.

Electrical System Tips

Posted on by Dan Longman

Boat Fire - Boat InsuranceOver the past 25 years we have seen many boats catch fire and burn for one reason or another, in many cases the reason for the fire is unknown.

We recently had a claim where a boat burned to the waterline; the reason for the fire was attributed to electrical failure.

During the claim investigation, it was discovered that a fuse had blown in the automatic battery charger and instead of replacing the fuse with the proper replacement, the owner wrapped the blown fuse in aluminum foil and placed it back into the fuse holder.

This rendered the fuse (overcurrent safety device) worthless which created all kinds of problems.  One of the batteries had a bad cell which caused the automatic battery charger to sense low charge, and run continuously, which cooked the other batteries.  The continual running of the charger on full drew too much amperage over an extended period of time through the supply wire leading to the charger, causing it to overheat and fail.

We are not sure which of these problems actually started the fire, but the combination leads us to believe that the improper fusing was ultimately responsible for the fire.

This is an extreme example, but the fact remains that overcurrent devices are intended to provide protection for the supply wire and the electrical equipment they are designed to protect.  Exceeding the equipment manufacturer’s recommended fuse rating, or maximum amperage rating of the supply wire, will result in failure of the fuse to protect your electrical equipment properly and could result in fire aboard your vessel.

Along the same line, in surveyor reports we often see the presence of overrated fuses or fuses marked “SFE” which are intended for automotive usage, installed in a marine fuse panel or electrical equipment fuse holders.

Fuses marked “AGC” are intended for marine use.

The amperage rating of an SFE fuse is in direct relationship to the physical length of the fuse, the longer the SFE fuse the higher the amperage rating.

A fuse marked AGC has a specific (unchanging) physical length.  The amperage of the AGC fuse is determined by the size of the fusible metal strip inside the glass, not the physical size of the fuse itself.

Because the size (length between contacts) of the fuse holders in marine 12vdc electrical fuse panels, fuse blocks or in line fuse holders are maintained at a constant, it is important to use AGC fuses.  Use of AGC fuses allows you to complete the circuit and provide protection at the recommended amperage.

Note: Your primary automatic bilge pump (the pump located where sea water typically gathers) should be wired directly to a 12vdc power source.  Secondary automatic bilge pumps should be wired and fused independently of each other to avoid multiple failure.

Note: Amps = watts divided by volts.

Fuse size should not exceed 125% of the total load or the current carrying capacity of the conductor (ampacity).

Recommended reference: “Your Boat’s Electrical System” by Conrad Miller

Tips for Protecting Your Vessel

Posted on by Dan Longman

Insurance, Hurricane ProgramsAs mariners, there is nothing we can do to change severe weather predictions. But we can be prepared. Planning for the safety of your boat and where it will survive best is a lot like the real estate business, Location, Location, Location. The first major decision, one that affects all subsequent action, is finding a safe location where you can keep your boat during a storm.

If trailer-able, your boat should be removed from the water at least 48 hours prior to projected landfall and stored in a location that is inland from the coast and safe from high winds and tidal surge. We found that boats stored on trailers at protected locations inland from the coast,  faired very well in prior hurricane seasons.

If you are unable to trailer your boat, develop a Hurricane Plan that includes moving your boat to a safe location where the boat can be secured and protected. This may include a marina where the dockmaster has an established hurricane plan in place. Canals, rivers and waterways are usually better alternatives to marinas, and the farther inland the better.  Here you can find a “Hurricane Hole” that is protected from wind and surge. This may require using pre-built line and chain assemblies designed specifically for your mooring location. Another good option is to haul your boat at a marina that offers hurricane storage where your vessel can be strapped down to the ground. Vessels should never be left in davits or on a hydrolift.

After a storm, a check of your vessel should be done as soon as safely possible.  If you find damage to your boat, take such action that is necessary to save and preserve property, photograph any damage, and report any loss or claim to us immediately.  We are here to help!

It’s important to keep your lay up warranty updated

Posted on by Dan Longman

Boat Insurance, LayupEach marine insurance policy written in northern climates (where the potential for freezing exists), has a Lay Up Warranty that indicates the period of time the insured boat is required to be laid up and out of commission.

Many policies also specify whether the boat is to be laid up ASHORE or AFLOAT.

Making sure your policy accurately reflects the period of time your boat will be Laid Up and whether the boat is laid up ashore or afloat is your responsibility and is as important as winterizing an engine if a loss occurs to your boat during the Lay Up period.

Example:  A couple years ago one of our Minnesota charter clients decided to bubble his boat for the winter, laying the boat up afloat.  His policy was set up with Lay Up ashore according to the insurance application he originally submitted.

He failed to contact us to let us know of the change in Lay Up status and in February of that policy period his boat took on water and sunk in its slip.  The insurance company denied coverage and did not pay the claim due to the breach of the Lay Up Warranty specified in his policy.

In retrospect, all the captain had to do was to notify us letting us know of the change in lay up status and we would have changed his policy to cover his boat properly.

Conversely, many insurance companies give a premium credit for each consecutive month a boat is Laid Up during a policy period.

The credit is usually higher if the boat is Laid Up ashore rather than afloat because the exposures are greater when the boat is afloat, but if you have a long Lay Up period it can lower your annual premium significantly.

It makes good sense to review your charter policy at this time of year to be sure your policy accurately reflects the time frame and manner in which your boat is laid up.  It may even save you money.

If you have any questions concerning winter Lay Up or decide to change the manner in which you lay your boat up this winter please notify us so we can change your policy and protect your boat properly.

Preparing Your Passengers

Posted on by Dan Longman

Taking the public for hire is serious business. The captain needs to be aware of who he/she is taking out. For many passenger’s, this is their first time on a boat and they most likely do not have any idea how to operate it or what to do in an emergency situation. If you or your captain fall overboard or have a serious medical condition, will your passengers know what to do?

The following are some of what should be covered with your passengers before leaving port on each trip:

• Show them where the life jackets are located so that if the captain gives the order for everyone to don them, people aren’t wasting precious time tripping over each and tearing things apart trying to find them. It’s amazing how many boats have them tucked away somewhere out of sight, and the majority of guests/crew has no idea where to find them.

• Point out the fire extinguisher and flare locations and instruct passengers/crew how to use them.

• Conduct a short demonstration on how to use the VHF radio. Discuss which channel is the emergency channel, and have a laminated instruction card attached to it or near it clearly explaining how to use it in case of emergency. A quick learn on how to pinpoint the current vessel location on the GPS (if you have one) to give to the emergency personnel is also a good idea. If you do not have a GPS, teaching guests to spot and relay back any landmarks is the next best thing.

• Simple boat operation instruction – Learning to properly operate a boat takes many years and a passenger will most likely never attain the same knowledge a seasoned captain has, but taking 60 seconds to show passengers where the throttle and gears are located, and that the gears must be in neutral to start the engines is something that could potentially save their lives.

• It is also a good idea to just show people where some basic equipment is located – life ring, boat hooks, gaffs, lines, first aid kit, etc., just in case they are asked to retrieve them in a hurry. Also, always tell people where a sharp knife on board is located in case it’s needed in a hurry to cut a line.

A brief 5 minute passenger orientation to go over the basics of boating safety, operation, and the emergency equipment on board like this one, could mean the difference between life and death for passengers, captain, and crew.