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Old 28 June 2019, 09:04   #1
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Boating With Scout Groups - Anybody done this?

I am looking to use my personal boat for to take Scouts out for trips and am having a few issues getting information regarding insurance. Is there anybody out there who has done this before and can offer advice? Specifically, I need to work out the level of insurance needed (I have a vessel policy covering 3rd party, damage etc.) but am struggling to work out what the Scout permit scheme and insurance covers me for. I have the relevant Scout Association activity permit.

I could also use some reassurance RE commercial use as the MCA have agreed it probably isn't commercial use but still suggest I take legal advice. I will only be charging a contribution to direct costs e.g. launch and running fuel.

Thanks,

Phil M
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Old 28 June 2019, 10:09   #2
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Hmm, a tricky one. If money is changing hands it complicates things as opposed to the Scout group simply putting petrol and oil in the tank for you. I used to be a county boat inspector for Sea Scouts in Hampshire. They were all covered by the RYA rules which makes things somewhat clearer. Is your group an RYA training center perchance?

What body of water are you operating on? If inlands waters, it's a pretty simple to get your boat licensed under the inland waterways code by the local authority responsible, and not at all expensive. But perhaps a procedure you'd rather no have to do just for the occasional use. This would certainly cover you but perhaps a bit too over the top.

Have you spoken to Scout HQ and asked what their take on it is? Failing that, the RYA have a really good legal advice department. You need to be a member but that's less than £50 which might be a worthwhile expenditure to get some professional advice.
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Old 28 June 2019, 10:28   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

We're not an RYA training centre, just a very small Scout group. Ideally I'd like to take our group and members from other local groups out too. My insurance company have offered a commercial endorsement to the policy to cover my own group but not other groups, which I find a little odd.

I've spoken to Unity (Scout insurance) and they were unable to advise as it's a personally owned vessel. The initial response from HQ was, "speak to Unity" but I've since got a contact in the activities team to try.

The MCA said "probably not commercial use but get legal advice" as the regulations allow for payment to cover costs. If it is easier not to charge I may go that route but the regs also state "pleasure use" is for close family or friends of the owner, so struggling a bit on that front. Not got much help either on the insurance requirements either as the HQ documents just state it should be "adequate".

As for waters, I'm based on north west Cumbria and only a few miles from Whitehaven so I'd be looking to go into the Solway Firth, as I'm pretty familiar with the waters there. I could also use the lakes but the speed limits take the fun out of it. My Activity permit covers the areas I intend to use.

I'll give the contact at HQ a go and if not may take your advice and join the RYA.

The irony is that I can jump into the local boating centre's knackered and uncoded SR4, which is in a poor state of repair, and take the kids for a blast without a second thought, safe in the knowledge that I'm covered if something goes wrong.

Phil
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Old 28 June 2019, 15:43   #4
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The irony is that I can jump into the local boating centre's knackered and uncoded SR4, which is in a poor state of repair, and take the kids for a blast without a second thought, safe in the knowledge that I'm covered if something goes wrong.



Phil

“Safe” in the presumption it’s all Ok!

You’ve got three different risks:

-damage to your own boat
-damage to a total stranger or their boat
-damage to one of the scouts

The first two would normally be covered under a standard marine policy, but I’d want something in writing saying it was still covered when using on a voluntary basis for the scouts.

The third if often also covered but not always on a marine policy - and I think this is the one most likely to give your insurers pause for thought. iIRC a child can claim for a historic injury right up to their 21st birthday, that is a lot of exposure for multiple children and I’d suggest much more likely to get a claim than if it was a “mate” who slipped and broke and arm or lost a few teeth on the console.

It MAY be that the Scout policy covers this risk?

In terms of commercial use I don’t think Tim is right that the issue disappears if someone else fuels the boat and pays the launch fee directly - it just hides the problem and makes it harder to detect. In the event of a serious incident the MCA will be quick to point to the words in the regs that say something like in return for payment, GOODs or SERVICEs (I cant recall the exact words).

Are you a PBI and were you planning to do any instruction or just taking them for a ride? If you are doing some formal instruction then I think (within the other limitations) there is a carve out for that in the coding rules.
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Old 28 June 2019, 16:05   #5
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Are you a PBI and were you planning to do any instruction or just taking them for a ride? If you are doing some formal instruction then I think (within the other limitations) there is a carve out for that in the coding rules.

Only when operating within the context of an RYA training center and within various other limitations. In addition the boat would need to meet the spec for an RYA training boat with regards kit etc as well as insurance (although this is usually a very easy thing to add a standard leisure policy).
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Old 28 June 2019, 16:12   #6
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With regards Phil’s point about the knackered Searider “in a poor state of repair” I’d be careful as I know my insurance policy (which also covers the boat for RYA training as I occasionally pimp it out along with myself as a PBI to RYA training centers) states that the boat must be serviced within the manufacturers guidelines, and be kept in a sea worthy condition.
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Old 28 June 2019, 16:58   #7
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I'm only planning to go for "rides" with no instruction given.

The wording on payment is "a voyage or excursion which is one for which the owner does not receive money for or in connection with operating the vessel or carrying any person, other than as a contribution to the direct expenses of the operation of the vessel incurred during the voyage or excursion". I'm not too concerned about taking contributions, but would still like clarification.

Having dug able for most of the afternoon I'm starting to get the idea that Poly is right about the the risk areas and that the Scout policy will cover injury to a about, as long as I'm operating within the Scout association rules and the limits of my permit. I'd still like to see this written on paper though before I go ahead.

Regarding the seaside, perhaps "safe" was the wrong choice of words. I'd be covered by insurance as it's a tough commission owned boat, is what I meant to say.

Thanks for the help

Phil
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Old 28 June 2019, 23:59   #8
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I think this was covered last year with another member charging for fuel etc etc when they where told it came under hire and reward and had to be coded and have the correct paper work ie insurance etc
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Old 30 June 2019, 02:54   #9
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I think this was covered last year with another member charging for fuel etc etc when they where told it came under hire and reward and had to be coded and have the correct paper work ie insurance etc

It’s more complex than that. The OP might find that thread interesting (or more confusing) - searching for BruceHawkser should help find it. A significant difference here is that Bruce was publicly advertising for new “friends” and had no expectation of an ongoing association beyond the boat (or even that one trip).

Ultimately only a court will decide if either case is ok or not; a lawyer isn’t actually going to help any more than the MCA stating their interpretation.
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Old 01 July 2019, 08:28   #10
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This whole can of worms hinges on one point, is it for reward?
Phil M is correct...
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"a voyage or excursion which is one for which the owner does not receive money for or in connection with operating the vessel or carrying any person, other than as a contribution to the direct expenses of the operation of the vessel incurred during the voyage or excursion"
If the above cannot be satisfied, then it is commercial.

In Kent, we run powerboating activities using both Scout owned and personal craft.
For personal craft, we pay for fuel either by free supply or upon receipt - depending upon the event. We pay also a small fixed sum for oil and propellor.

We do not cover personal craft under Scout insurance, owners should hold their own insurance. We do contribute for accidental damage, limited to the crafts insurance excess. If we have doubts that the craft has 'issues' we would decline the offer to use their craft.
Having said that, when we ran the Kent Internation Jamboree a few years ago, we took additional cover over all personal craft being loaned to us for the event. We had about 20 powerboats running for 5 days.

As we conform to the "non commercial" activity, no special endorsements or insurance cover is required nor demanded, but owners do need to check their policies, as they all differ.

For the tuition question..
- tuition (eg RYA powerboat level 2) has to be done through a recognised training centre (RTC). Therefore you have an extra set of rules and hoops to go through, but clarity is easier. Even though we refer to coaching, training or instruction as tuition, this is just symantics. It is perfectly reasonable to instruct or coach someone as it is critical to the craft safety and aiding personal development. You are though, not tutoring for reward, so no additional endorsements should be necessary or required.


In summary to OP...
1) Providing you can satisfy the MCA you are not commercial, you should not need extra insurance above the standard policy.
2) Have an agreement in place with your Scout group/district/whoever detailing use of your boat and what is refundable.
3) If RYA tuition is being done, get an agreement in place with the RTC, they are obliged to check your boat meets their training boat requirements (seats, equipment, contruction etc).
3) Make sure you adhere to Scout POR.
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