My insurance has just been renewed. I stuck with Porthcawl (the broker) as I had been happy last year. I think they changed who the policy was with this year (now with EIS sailplan)... apparently no change to policy terms / limitations etc since last year.
My policy arrived today. I have "Water sports toys liability cover", because despite the fact that I don't have any toys - I quite fancy having a play.
The new policy has some very wording i don't recall from before (I am that sad that I read the policy wording!). My new rules:
It is warranted that whilst towing inflatable water sports toys:
It is further warranted that inflatable water sports toys used must be CE or US CG approved. (Now this is where I am really confused. As far as I am aware there is no applicable CE standard, and I can't see any claims on the manufacturers websites - which claim US CG approval.)
- All drivers must be over 18 (Not an issue for me - but might be for others on here.)
- All drivers are experienced in handling the vessel whilst being used for towing purposes. (seems fair enough - but not sure how you get that experience, or even what experienced means)
- A competent and experienced observer is on board the vessel at all times when persons are being towed (again good practice, but no explanation of how competence or experience is to be measured here - and bizzarely they have to be on board but not maintaining a look out!)
- Use is restricted to "Inland Non-Tidal Waters includingrivers, lakes and sheltered coastal waters". (To me the terms Non-tidal and Coastal Waters are, contradictory.)
- All drivers adhere to the manufacturers recommended towing speeds. (OK no complaints there - my boat probably doesn't exceed them anyway)
- All riders will be over 6 years of age (seems reasonable) and riders aged between 6 and 10 years must be accompanied on the inflatable water sports toy be a responsible adult. (this isn't a big issue for me as I don't have any children over 6 years old - it might be for some of you - it seems a bit restrictive to me - surely that experienced driver, and observer can make decisions like this themselves!)
- All riders will wear CE or US CG approved impact jackets. (As far as I can see all bouyancy aids conform to the same standard, EN 393, regardless of whether they are designed for "impact" or not. Some impact jackets do not comply with EN393 however.)
- Manufacturers general use and safety guidelines will be complied with by all persons. (fair enough)
- The vessel will not be sed in areas where this activity is prohibited (fair enough)
I will of course write to PIC asking them to clarify the terms of the policy. However the message here is beware! Check the T&C's and if you policy changes from year to year (even with the same broker) then beware of different interpretations to what is OK.