Prior to the signing of any charter agreements, the charterer should be assured that the dive shop or vessel owner has in effect adequate maritime liability insurance. The vessel owner should be fully insured by a major insurance carrier to a limit not less than $1,000,000.00 for maritime general liability coverage.
The easiest and most convenient method of assuring that such insurance exists is to ask for the dive shop or vessel owner’s Certificate of Insurance. In reviewing the certificate, one should take note of the name of the insurer (“the insurance company”), the name of the insured (who is covered by the policy), the maritime limits of the policy, the effective dates of coverage, the names of the covered vessels and a designation that the insurance is maritime liability coverage or maritime protection and indemnity insurance. Obviously, the consumer must be cognizant of the serious implications of entering into a charter agreement with a company that does not have insurance or is under-insured. Under such circumstances, the consumer is in effect relying entirely on the vessel owner should any tragedy occur.
In circumstances where the charter is conducted in international or foreign waters, it is important to assure that the insurance covers events which occur outside of U.S. waters.