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Who Needs Commercial Marine Insurance?

While commercial boat insurance specifically protects vessels, commercial marine insurance offers broader coverage for a range of maritime businesses. A commercial marine insurance policy often includes coverage for boats and other vessels, though this is not always the case.

Businesses That Rely On Overseas Shipping

Many businesses rely on overseas shipping for the transportation and distribution of goods. However, these businesses do not necessarily own the boats that are used for transportation, necessitating commercial marine insurance over boat insurance to protect the transported products. Businesses in this group may include:

  • Manufacturers
  • Importers
  • Exporters
  • Freight forwarding companies
  • Commodities traders

Marine Service Providers

Some businesses play essential roles in the maritime industry without owning water vessels themselves. Because these businesses work with boats and other vessels, it is important that they obtain sufficient commercial marine insurance so that they can safely and confidently perform their duties. Marine service providers consist of a range of professions and businesses, such as:

  • Ship builders
  • Vessel manning services
  • Ship dealers
  • Terminal operators
  • Freight hauling or forwarding services
  • Maintenance and repair workers
  • Stevedores
  • Marine storage facilities
  • Shipyards

Marine Transportation Providers

Businesses that operate any water vessel for commercial purposes should obtain commercial marine and boat insurance to protect their business, vessels, employees, and passengers.

Vessels Covered By Commercial Boat Insurance

Commercial boat insurance can apply to any watercraft used for commercial purposes. For clarification on marine business insurance qualifications and requirements, you can speak to a dedicated boat insurance agent before committing to a policy.

A yellow and black fishing vessel traverses rough waves in the ocean.

Commercial Fishing Vessels

Protect your livelihood with insurance for fishing boat businesses. Whether you’re fishing for cod, trapping crabs, or harvesting everything in between, commercial boat insurance can provide security for your vessel, your employees, any passengers you have, and your precious cargo.

couples on a charter boat

Charter Boats

When transporting passengers on a chartered boat, it is critical that you have the right insurance to protect them as well as your vessel, employees, and business. If a passenger gets injured on a fishing tour or your boat is damaged by a guest, a commercial boat insurance policy can help you cover the cost.

boat from a boat rental business

Boat Rental Businesses

Boat rental business insurance can help you protect your vessels and your business in the event of any collisions, injuries, or legal action.

two scuba divers


Vessels that venture underwater can also be covered by commercial marine insurance, provided they are used for commercial purposes. Such submersibles include:

  • Tourist submarines
  • Underwater observatories
  • Expedition and sport diving businesses
  • Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs)
  • Marine and undersea energy businesses
red and white commercial boat on the water

Other Water Vessels

Commercial boat insurance can also apply to a number of other water vessels, including:

  • Sightseeing and tour boats
  • Ferries
  • Tugboats
  • Inshore/offshore fishing vessels
  • Cruise liners
  • Oil barges
  • Tankers

Commercial Marine Insurance Coverage Options

There are many options for commercial marine coverage. What your policy includes may vary depending on the specific needs and features of your business. Maritime companies should consider the following coverages to protect their businesses.

two people signing a general liability policy document

General Liability

Every maritime business should obtain marine liability insurance. A marine general liability policy offers coverage for claims involving:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Advertising injury
  • Reputational harm
people signing a bumbershoot insurance document

Bumbershoot Insurance

Specific to the marine industry, bumbershoot insurance is a form of excess liability for situations that exceed the limits of a general liability policy.

an ocean cargo boat loaded with shipping containers

Ocean Cargo

Damaged, lost, or stolen cargo can be costly and detrimental to your business’ reputation. Getting ocean cargo insurance can help you cover any costs relating to missing or damaged cargo as a result of incidents including

  • Improper loading
  • Rough handling
  • Inclement weather
  • Adverse atmospheric conditions
A hulling machinery

Hull and Machinery

With hull and machinery coverage, you can ensure that any damage done to the hull or machinery of your boats will be insured. In addition to the specified machinery and hull, this type of insurance also usually covers:

  • Personal property
  • Propulsion equipment
  • Permanently attached equipment
  • Unattached equipment
A hospital sign directing visitors to either the emergency department or the south entrance.

Protection and Indemnity

An essential component of commercial boat insurance is a protection and indemnity policy. With this type of coverage, you can get coverage for bodily injury claims from passengers, crew members, and anyone else on your vessel. This policy also offers coverage for vessel operation liability and property damage.

sail on a commercial vessel

Equipment Rental and Sales

If you rent, sell, or charter boats and related equipment, you should have an equipment rental and sales policy in place. With this policy, you will have coverage for repairs, replacements, equipment breakdown, and accident cleanup.

two boats sinking in the water

Uninsured Watercraft Coverage

In the event that one of your insured vessels collides with an uninsured boat, having uninsured watercraft coverage will help you cover any costs or losses that result from the collision.

person holding money for workers compensation

Workers’ Compensation

Maritime workers operate in a high-risk environment, so a workers’ compensation policy is essential for protecting your employees and ensuring they are cared for in the event of injury or illness.

person holding money for workers compensation

Maritime Employers Liability Coverage

If you do not own every vessel used for your business, a maritime employers liability (MEL) policy is important to have. This type of coverage offers protection for your employees whenever they need to work on or from a non-owned vessel. MEL policies are also common among vessel owners whose protection and indemnity policies do not include all employees.

boat wreckage in need of removal

Wreckage Removal

In the unfortunate event that your vessel is badly damaged or sunken, wreckage removal insurance can help you cover the costs of removal and disposal. Insurance for wreckage removal can also help maritime business owners cover clean-up and containment expenses regarding pollution or contamination resulting from the wreckage of their boat.

Commercial Marine Insurance for Other Maritime Businesses

While commercial boat insurance specifically applies to maritime businesses that own or utilize water vessels, other marine businesses can still acquire specialized commercial insurance through World Insurance to protect their assets and operations.

A marina pictured from above. Dozens of small boats are docked in the marina, as well as a larger boat docked along the outer edge.


Marina owners often face numerous hazards to their property that can cause damage to their docks, piers, bulkheads, and buildings. Commercial marine insurance for marinas often includes coverages such as:

  • Commercial property
  • General liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Protection & indemnity
  • Longshore and harbor workers liability
  • Pollution coverage

Marinas may also require coverage for boat sale and building operations.

A boatyard atop still waters with a crane centered in the image.


Boatyards offer safe harboring to water vessel owners, and as such, they should have sufficient commercial marine insurance to keep stored property and their premises safe. Marine general liability coverage is essential for boatyards, but other coverage options may include:

  • Premises liability
  • Building and property coverage
  • Tools and equipment insurance
  • Docks and pie coverage
  • Protection and indemnity
a marine laborer working on a commercial boat

Marine Laborers

Marine laborers who do not necessarily work on boats or water vessels can also be covered under commercial marine insurance. Examples of marine laborers include:

  • Artisans
  • Repairers
  • Mechanics
  • Electricians

How much is commercial boat insurance?

At World Insurance, we strive to provide an insurance policy that addresses your needs and accommodates your budget. Your commercial boat insurance cost will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The vessel’s value, age, and type
  • Your boat’s engine type and maximum speed
  • The anticipated area of navigation and travel distance
  • Your vessel’s claim history
  • The intended use of your vessel

If you want to get a better idea of how much your commercial marine insurance will cost, please connect with one of our agents who will be happy to discuss your policy needs and options.

World Insurance also offers personal boat insurance if you are looking to protect a non-commercial water vessel.

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