Watercraft Legal Protection

This is a separate insurance which runs in conjunction with a Nautical Insurance boat policy but is provided by an alternative Insurer. The provider is Legal Protection Group Limited.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Watercraft Legal Protection cover for?

Watercraft Legal Protection insurance gives you access to marine law experts for practical and financial support to help protect your legal rights. It is an additional cover for your uninsured losses. An uninsured loss is a loss that is not covered under your hull policy.

What do you mean?

As a boat owner you have certain rights and responsibilities regarding the ownership and use of your vessel. If your rights and responsibilities are disputed, Watercraft Legal Protection is designed to provide practical and financial support for your defence, but you must have a reasonable prospect of achieving a successful defence to receive this support.

Can you give me an example?

You are planning a 14-day family holiday away on your boat in France. You have booked several marina berths in advance, a couple of nights in a hotel and a day at a water park. Two days before setting off you stock the boat with all you will need including food for the first weekend. The next day you receive a call from your moorings operator to tell you that another vessel whilst manoeuvring has collided with yours causing considerable damage. The other boat owner has let his insurance lapse. Repairs to your boat must be undertaken before she is seaworthy (fit for purpose) again. You can’t consider a claim under the policy of the other boat owner as he has no insurance, but you can claim for the damage to your boat under your own policy. Unfortunately, works cannot be undertaken immediately; this may be because the approved repairer already has other commitments or perhaps parts may take a few weeks to be delivered. Either way works will take 7-10 days to complete once started and so you have no choice but to cancel your holiday.

I don't understand why I might need Watercraft Legal Protection for this.

1) Your boat insurance does not provide cover for consumables or loss of use of the vessel, so you must cover the cost of the provisions on board and your holiday expenses. Because you have had to cancel your holiday at such a late stage you are unlikely to be entitled to a refund against any of your advance bookings. In short, this incident which was not your fault has caused you a lot of expense that you cannot claim for under your boat insurance.

These are examples of what could be your uninsured losses:

  • The policy excess of £200 to claim for the damage to your boat
  • 6 weeks loss of use of your boat whilst the vessel has been awaiting repair or undergoing repairs
  • Out of pocket expenses involved in obtaining estimates for repair and the like
  • Your usual mooring fees that you have still had to pay whilst the vessel has been ashore
  • Loss of family holiday including pre-booked marinas, hotels, etc. that are not refundable

(Uninsured Loss Recovery) The above uninsured losses would be considered under Watercraft Legal Protection.

Could there also be other issues?

Whilst your boat has been away from its usual mooring, the mooring operator has taken the opportunity to rent it out to someone else. When your boat is ready to be returned to its usual mooring there is no space, and the mooring operator offers you an alternative that is not acceptable to you. Your agreement with the mooring operator is between you both and does not involve your boat insurer. However, Watercraft Legal Protection also aids with Contract Disputes.

2) Whilst you were on board your boat carrying out maintenance below deck your boat is hit hard by the boat in the next berth attempting to moor up. The unexpected thump from the third-party boat caused you to fall and injure yourself and throw gloss paint over yourself and or the boats interior?

You may submit a claim for paint damage to personal possessions that are not covered under your boat policy such as the wristwatch that you were wearing or the fixtures that are now sprayed with yellow paint. You can also claim back your uninsured losses related to Personal Injury. As self-employed you may not be able to work whilst a broken arm heals, and so a claim for loss of earnings would be considered.

Criminal Prosecution Defence

If you become involved in an incident relating to the navigation of the craft and are charged with an offence, Watercraft Legal Protection is there to assist and contribute to the legal costs involved in your defence.

Water-based leisure activities should be an enjoyable and relaxing past time. However, like the public highway, there are rules of the waterways, whether inland or the sea. If you become involved in an incident relating to the navigation of the craft and are charged with an offence, Watercraft Legal Protection will help to defend you. Criminal proceedings relating to the navigation of craft are brought under the UK Merchant Shipping Regulations, which includes pleasure craft.

So, what's the difference between this and the legal cover in my boat policy?

Nautical boat policies include cover under Section B for your Legal Liabilities. This means if the accident or incident was your fault because you have caused damage to someone else’s property or caused injury to another person, that person can claim against you for the costs of rectifying the damage to property or compensation for injury and other costs such as loss of use of their boat and claim back legal costs associated with claiming from you. If your vessel sinks, you are covered for the costs of removal of wreck and salvage unless this has been specifically excluded by our underwriters. Section B will also cover the costs of defending any claim bought against you by a third party. As standard, Nautical boat Insurance policies include liability cover up to a maximum liability of £5,000,000.

Examples of your legal liabilities:

a) The owner of the boat is responsible for the welfare and safety of his guests or passengers on board. He should keep the boat in a seaworthy condition (fit for purpose) and operate the vessel correctly and in line with Maritime Laws. Where this is not the case the passenger can hold you liable and claim compensation from the owners’ boat policy under Section B Legal Liabilities for damage to personal possessions or personal injury or death whilst on board.

b) Whilst out on the water you and your boat are involved in a collision with another boat owned by Mr Smith (third party). You receive a letter from Mr Smith holding you liable for the incident and claiming the costs of repairs to his boat from you. You have also written a similar letter to Mr Smith holding him liable for the damage to your boat and asking him to pay for the cost of repairs. Both parties stand firm in their belief as to who is responsible and to resolve the issue of liability the case ends up in court. The Legal Liabilities section of your Nautical Insurance boat policy provides cover to meet your legal costs incurred in contesting liability or claiming against the third party (Mr Smith).

Are the 'Territorial Limits' defined in the Watercraft Legal Protection Policy the same as the Cruising Area stated within the Nautical boat insurance policy?

No, these are different things.

The 'Territorial Limits' referred to within the Watercraft Legal Protection are geographic areas and legal jurisdictions.

The Agreed Cruising Area shown in the Nautical boat insurance policy is the inland waterways or coastal waters in which the underwriters agree the vessel may cruise. Coastal waters are limited to within 12 nautical miles from the shore.

Is the Watercraft Legal Protection valid if I’m outside of the Agreed Cruising Area shown on my Nautical boat insurance schedule?

Where the agreed cruising area noted within your boat insurance schedule are, say Inland and Coastal Waters of the United Kingdom extended to include Brest to the River Elbe, this means you should not venture outside this area without your boat insurer's prior agreement. Where you have cruised beyond the limits, noted within your boat insurance, for example into the Balearics (Coastal Waters of Majorca) and you or your vessel are involved in an incident, that was not your fault, any damage sustained to your vessel caused by a Third Party would not be paid under the terms of the Nautical boat insurance policy as it was being operated outside the cruising range. However, because Majorca is an area included within the territorial limits of Uninsured Loss Recovery, subject otherwise terms and conditions, it would be a claim considered under the uninsured loss recovery section of the Watercraft Legal Protection policy.

How do I make a claim for Watercraft Legal Protection?

Call the number in the Watercraft Legal Protection policy booklet that was emailed to you and quote them your Nautical Insurance boat policy number. You will be asked for some information and a member of the claims team will refer the details to an appropriately qualified solicitor for opinion on whether there is a reasonable prospect of successfully pursuing or defending the case. A reasonable prospect is at the very least, a 51% chance of a favourable outcome for you. Please do not delay in notifying the legal protection claims team, as a late notification may adversely affect their chances of the reasonable prospects of a claim.

Legal Helpline

Provides you with confidential telephone legal advice on personal legal matters subject to the laws of England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, each of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Personal Tax and Legal Helpline

Provides you with confidential telephone tax advice on personal tax matters subject to the laws of England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, each of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Counselling Helpline

Calls to the Counselling Helpline are not recorded.

Provides an insured person with a confidential telephone counselling service on matters causing distress and anxiety. This includes onward referral to relevant voluntary or professional services who may be able to provide further support.

Access to the telephone Counselling Helpline is covered by the Watercraft Legal Protection insurance. However, any costs incurred in using these onward referral services are not covered.