Even owners of recreational watercraft must be concerned about liability resulting from a pollution incident involving their boat. Suppose your boats sinks and the oil and fuel leak out, thus polluting the waters. Are you aware of your potential liability from this oil spill?

As owner of the boat, you will be responsible for the clean-up. What is the extent of your liability?

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) sets the maximum limit of liability “for any other vessel” at “the greater of $1,000 per gross ton or $854,400”.

 Does your insurance policy provide coverage pollution liability coverage and, if so, up to what limit?

You need to read your own policy but the general answer is yes, you do have coverage. The wording can probably be found under the “Liability Section” and is entitled something like “Accidental Fuel Spill” or “Fuel Spill Coverage”. Note that for coverage to apply, you must immediately notify the Coast Guard or other proper authority, take necessary action to prevent further spillage, and completely cooperate in the clean-up.

Posted 12:15 PM

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