Boating season is in full swing! And we want you to be prepared in case you are stopped by law enforcement or an accident occurs.
I recall one year, when our family was on the Current River. Game wardens and state troopers literally had a “river-block” set up. They were pulling all boats aside and going through their safety checklist. That list included things like proof of insurance, valid registration, life jackets, fire extinguisher, whistle, and quite a few more things that we had no idea we were required by law to have in our boat. They let us go with a list of things that we needed to purchase and said “you’ll need these things in here next time or you will get a ticket.”
When it comes to proper insurance coverage, the AR Game and Fish handbook states liability insurance is required. It reads:
- All motor boats powered by engines of more than 50 horsepower, and all personal watercraft, must be covered by a liability insurance policy.
- The policy must provide at least $50,000 of liability coverage per occurrence.
- It is illegal for the owner of such a vessel to operate it, or allow others to operate it, unless the vessel has the required insurance.
- Proof of insurance must be carried on board the vessel and be available for inspection by law enforcement.
- Registration applications for vessels requiring liability insurance must be accompanied by proof of insurance policy.
Please note, this minimum liability requirement only covers the other person’s watercraft. It doesn’t cover your boat, motor or accessories. Like your vehicle, you may want full coverage in the event you accidentally hit an object underwater or another vehicle.
And what about boat insurance in the off season? Wherever you’re located, the length of the boating season should already be factored into your rate. Your premium is based on typical annual use for your geographical area, however long or short the period might be. Plus weather damage or theft can still happen in the off season.
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