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Specialist boats in a boat yard

New to boating? Specialist boat insurance for private clients

Spending time on the water can be truly rejuvenating, whether you enjoy exploring inland waterways or the thrill of open water, and it seems more of us have come to this realisation, taking time to discover the beauty of our island nation. Despite a pandemic, new and used boat sales grew 9% in 2020, a reversal of the 8% decline seen in 2019.1 Increased demand was seen across virtually all vessel types from RIBs to yachts, and in particular boats worth over £100,000, where sales were up 18% compared to 2019.1

The increase in boat sales resulted from the ‘staycation’ effect, a consequence of restrictions on international travel, caused by COVID-19. This saw families seeking new ways to replicate the adventure and escape of travelling abroad, resulting in a surge in demand for yachts and boats2, with sales 50% higher from June to December compared to the same period in 2019.1 Whether you helped contribute to the statistics or if you’ve been a boat owner for years, you’ll want to make sure your vessel and your time away from land is protected.

When is specialist boat insurance required?

Whilst it’s not a legal requirement to have boat insurance in the UK, like your home or your car, anything you invest time and money in, is worth protecting. Especially if your boat has become your place to unwind and escape the rigours of daily life, or even turned into your floating holiday home.

If you want to keep your boat in a marina, harbour, regulated lake or travel abroad, you will need insurance. Some household policies do have an extension to include cover for dinghies and small yachts, but there can be restrictions on size, value, and engine power. There can also be limited policy features, often excluding racing liabilities and marine specific risks, such as salvage work.

Do I need boat insurance during the winter?

With the arrival of less daylight hours, colder temperatures and more unpredictable weather, many boat owners will lay up their vessel over the winter, to minimise the risk of damage. Despite not using your boat during the winter months, it’s important not to overlook insurance. As even during periods of inactivity, your boat could still be exposed to various risks from theft, to storm damage.

What can boat insurance cover?

For keen sailors, specialist boat insurance policies can help provide the protection you need for your vessel, with cover options available for (note, cover limits can differ between providers):

  • Accidental damage, including fire and theft
  • Damage cover for boat transit or during lift and launch
  • Third party indemnity cover
  • Personal accident cover
  • Latent defects in equipment
  • Frost damage
  • Cover for personal items
  • Racing
  • Offshore travel

Our expert team will work closely with you to understand how you sail and where, to deliver a carefully designed solution that takes all of your individual needs into account, so you can rest assured your vessel is protected.

At Marsh Private Clients, we have a specialist, in-house marine team, who have over 40 years’ experience in delivering expert advice and innovative solutions across the marine sector, providing cover for luxury sailing and motor yachts through to dinghies, windsurfs, and paddleboards. So whether your passion lies in sailing small dinghies or cruising ocean-going superyachts, we can help deliver the insurance policy to protect you and your vessel.

To speak to one of our high net worth insurance specialists about your pleasure craft insurance needs, call 0333 305 3743.


1. https://britishmarine.co.uk/News/2021/March/A-rising-tide-of-boat-sales-in-2020-helps-lift-the-UK-marine-industry
2. https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/news/staycation-boat-sales-boom-for-uks-marine-industry-79920