How do I insure a commercial fishing boat?

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In addition to tourism, fishing is a large industry in the Maritimes. This industry keeps commercial insurance advisors and marine experts at MCT Insurance busy.

“Our business revolves around the fisheries, we insure the fishers as well as the fish plants,” said Rose Wade, MCT commercial insurance manager. “Fish from the Maritimes are shipped all over the world. Insurance for these customers is unique; it’s whole different kettle of fish, so to speak.” 

To successfully set sail, it’s important to have the right insurance coverage. For soon-to-be and current fishing-boat captains, here are questions MCT’s marine experts and commercial insurance advisors commonly ask to find the right coverage.

Do you take passengers out on tours?

Some owners of commercial fishing vessels may choose to take passengers out on tours. Should this occur, passenger liability insurance is necessary. The requirements for passenger liability are outlined by the Government of Canada. To learn more, contact a MCT Insurance broker.

Where do you want to fish?

Just like a car, commercial fishing vessels are only allowed to fish in certain areas. These navigational limits are outlined in the captain’s commercial fishing license conditions.

Who is the captain?

As with the policyholder for car insurance, the captain for the fishing vessel has to be declared. Captains should have a clean sailing record and a Master Class license. The master class license determines the size of ship which can be captained. The lower the Master Class license number, the higher the gross tonnes and size of a ship which can be captained.

What type of fish do you catch?

Similar to business owners who need to state their business operations, commercial fishers need to state the type of fish they are catching for insurance purposes. The type of fish they catch will create specific risks. For example, lobster is fished in November. This is the winter season and fishers often face dangerous weather – these conditions cause risks, which is factored into finding the best commercial fishing insurance coverage.

What is the market value of your commercial fishing boat?

If a fishing vessel is over 15 gross tonnes, it must go through a Canadian Steamship Inspection. Depending on the insurance company, this assessment may be accepted in lieu of a survey of a fishing vessel (wear and tear of the vessel is assessed). Surveys are often required if a vessel is over 15 years old. If a fishing boat is over 15 years old, it will need a full survey.

What material(s) is your boat made of?

Commercial vessels are constructed from a variety of materials, including wood and fiberglass. These materials will determine what type of additional protection may be required for the vessel.

What safety features does your boat have?

Safety is a critical component of commercial fishing boat insurance. Providing details about what safety features may or may not be present is another aspect of determining the required coverage.

The next steps to setting sail

For more information about insurance for a commercial fishing vessel, contact MCT Insurance. The team has, and continues to help captains successfully set sail by finding the right insurance coverage.

“We have years of experience in this industry and our marine experts understand the issues and needs of our customers,” said Wade. “We go out to meet the fishers and fishing plant owners, which keeps us in touch with the industry and in contact with our valued customers.”