INSURANCE REQUIREMENT FOR RECREATIONAL VESSELS

BEGINNING MARCH 1, 2020, ALL VESSELS 26’ IN LENGTH AND
GREATER OPERATING ON STATE WATERS WILL BE
REQUIRED TO HAVE VESSEL INSURANCE. 

REASONING:

Since 2002 DOBOR has removed 92 grounded or abandoned derelict vessels from State waters at a cost of $2.34 million paid out of the Boating Special Fund.  The Special Fund is the primary source of funding that supports vessel registration, power washing boat ramps, harbor operations, repairs and maintenance, the boating safety program, removing abandoned and derelict vessels from State waters, and much, much more. 

There are 389 documented vessel groundings/sinkings in DOBOR’s records since 2002 which DOBOR could have become responsible for removing.  DOBOR suspects many, many more groundings have occurred which have not been reported.   

DOBOR instituted mandatory insurance for vessels in its facilities as a condition of the mooring permit 12/1/2009 resulting in a reduction in the number of vessels it has had to remove and dispose of.  However, the number of vessels in DOBOR facilities is only a fraction of the total number of recreational vessels that operate in State waters. 

Historically. vessels that are trailered and vessels that are housed in private marinas have not been required to be insured.  The new insurance requirement is designed to address this issue and relieve stress on the Boating Special Fund.  


THE INSURANCE REQUIREMENT APPLIES TO ALL VESSELS 26’ AND GREATER IN LENGTH THAT ARE:

(A) required to be registered with DLNR/DOBOR pursuant to HRS Section 200‑31(a); or

(B) operated in State ocean waters with a valid documentation number from the United States Coast Guard.

The insurance requirement also applies to vessels under 26’ in length if the owner of the vessel has grounded a vessel of any length anywhere in the state or state ocean waters.

NOTE: The new law is designed to address trailered vessels and vessels housed in private facilities that don’t already have insurance coverage. 

NOTE: Vessel length is the length of the vessel as originally manufactured, and modifications will not be included in the calculation of length. 

NOTE: Vessels currently in DLNR/DOBOR facilities on mooring and dry-land storage permits should already be compliant with the insurance requirement for use of State facilities set by the Department of Accounting and General Services, Risk Management Office; no additional insurance is required for these vessels.  Commercial vessels (long-line fishing vessels, cruise ships, etc.) are already required to have insurance to occupy space in any State facility and are therefore compliant.    

 

INSURANCE POLICIES MUST SATISFY SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS!

The minimum insurance coverage required by the law is no less than $100,000 per occurrence, in a form and content to ensure that removal and salvage of a grounded vessel are covered. 

 

YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO SHOW PROOF OF INSURANCE:

  • When registering a vessel for the first time,
  • When renewing/transferring registration, and
  • While the vessel is being operated on state waters.

If you are boarded by DLNR enforcement officers, you may be inspected for carriage requirements, proof of certification to operate the vessel AND proof of insurance

 

WHAT IS CONSIDERED ADEQUATE PROOF OF INSURANCE?

Acceptable proof of insurance for registration/transfer is a declarations page from your insurance provider indicating there is $100,000 coverage and that removal and salvage of the vessel is included. 

Acceptable proof of insurance to keep on board during vessel operation is 1) an insurance card, or 2) the vessel policy declarations page.

Whichever form of proof of insurance you provide when registering, or carry aboard when operating your vessel, the proof of insurance must include:

  • name of insurance carrier and contact phone number,
  • insurance carrier mailing address, policy number,
  • insurance effective date and expiration date,
  • year/make/model/HIN*,
  • name and address of insured

*A Hull Identification Number (HIN) is equivalent to the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN on an automobile. The HIN of the vessel is stated on the vessel’s Certificate of Number which is equivalent to an automobile’s registration.    

 

QUESTION AND ANSWER PAGE FOR MANDATORY VESSEL INSURANCE
Click here to review questions that have been asked about the new requirement.

THE FULL TEXT OF THE NEW LAW REQUIRING VESSEL INSURANCE CAN BE
FOUND IN HAWAI`I REVISED STATUTES SECTION 200-13.5.


This page was last updated 1/31/20.