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Old 12 August 2007, 18:07   #1
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Advice sought from experienced commercials and instructors.

Can anyone advise me about the following please?

- When I get a request to run a course for an RYA school, I know that the RYA require insurance from the school - plus I have my instructors insurance - so I am pretty relaxed that I am covered.

- If its own boat tuition via an RYA school then thats also fine as far as I am aware, since its part of the RYA package of offerings. (However I have recently learned that the boat owner should sign a disclaimer saying that his boat insurance will cover me and his boat should something go wrong).

- When its a "commercial job" of any sort - I am concerned. I presume that the only way is to actually ask to see the Insurance Certificate? Do other commercials do this please?

Only this weekend I got asked to do a couple of days skippering on a Princess by its owner. How can I be absolutely sure that he is all above board? He says his boat is MCA coded. Can I check this online and does this coding carry any insurance pre-requisite as well?

If anyone can throw any light on this I'd be grateful? Also, perhaps a few hints as to what is the best way to be sure all is above board before you start the engines on the customers boat.

Many thanks.
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Old 12 August 2007, 19:43   #2
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I don't believe there is any quick and easy way of ensuring a boat is MCA Coded - other than asking to see the coding documents, and checking the required kit is on board. Usually the Owner/Agent could fax/e-mail you a copy of the SCV Certificate if needed, although in my experience nobody has ever asked for this.

As a general thing, whether we are asked to skipper on a coded boat, or provide Own Boat Tuition on a Leisure Craft, we do have a standard list of kit we require to be on board (which does in fact contain most items required for coding). Often, an e-mail or a phone call going through this list can provide a useful measure of checking whether the boat is up to standard, without implicitly saying "I don't believe you when you say she's coded".

If for a charter, I often phone the Owner/Agent and ask for a physical location of all the kit before I get to the boat, as it means I have a head start finding everything when I get down there, and also weeds out any potential problems.

When it comes to providing Own Boat Tuition, having read some policy wordings, it is difficult to ascertain anything clear cut. What I have done in the past is ask the client to check with their insurance company, and advise them that there will be an instructor on board carrying out tuition over certain dates, and confirm that the Insurance company are happy with this.

As a skipper, I personally carry the Instructors 3rd Party Liability insurance, which is designed for exactly this purpose. If you agree to skipper a charter boat in good faith, something goes wrong, and it turns out the boat was uninsured/didn't meet coding requirements, then and only then, does this fall back insurance come into play, to ensure that you are not personally liable. It is far more likely that the owner/operator of the craft will be pursued in this case, but the personal instructors indemnity is really marketed as being there for a "what if?" situation.

I think a lot also depends on the company you are dealing with, and whilst this may be an unfair generalisation (and possibly also discriminate against my own operations!) there is probably a fair bit more trust displayed towards larger, and or more and longer term established companies, perhaps running several boats, than there is towards the one man band operators. No real answer here again - I think that word of mouth and the jungle drums often come into play here.
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Old 12 August 2007, 20:17   #3
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Thanks Jimbo - I also carry the Instructors 3rd Party Liability insurance, but I didnt know it would cover the eventuality of things going totally belly up on a charter. Thats good to know anyway.

Also - many thanks for your other points, I particularly like your idea of "ask for a physical location of all the kit before I get to the boat" - as that will give you a heads up if there are likely to be problems.
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Old 12 August 2007, 20:24   #4
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No Worries.

It could be that I've misinterpreted, but basically my take on discussions with Heath Lambert was that their insurance was entirely a backup for if things went wrong while you were working as a commercial skipper or an instructor, and th insurance of the company you were working for didn't cover you. At 60 a year or whatever, I'd consider it foolish not to go for it!
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Old 12 August 2007, 20:27   #5
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Just checked those figures:

35 p.a. For Coaching in the UK, on UK inland waters and UK coastal waters up to twelve miles offshore.

45 p.a. For Area A + Channel Islands, + Isle of Man, and up to 200 miles offshore. Area B does not cover Coaches working at a centre located outside the UK, CI's or IOM, but does cover calls at continental ports within the stated area during a yacht voyage starting and ending in the UK, CI's, or IOM.

55 p.a. For centres located in Europe, the Med, or elsewhere overseas, available by special application to Heath Lambert.

From memory, I am paying 60 a year to cover me working anywhere in the UK, Europe/Med, or the US.
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Old 12 August 2007, 20:48   #6
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I pay the 55 one as I work in the UK and Portugal. But I think thats good value for money anyway.
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Old 12 August 2007, 21:27   #7
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Agreed. With my "Davies Coaching Agency" hat on, I reccomend that all instructors on my distribution lists take it out, and when I re-wrote the safety policy for Haslar Sea School, for whom I am their freelance Chief Instructor, it still states that all our Instructors must have it.

Of course, you do have to be commercially endorsed to skipper yachts, did you know that
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Old 12 August 2007, 22:49   #8
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Peter & James

Quote:
- When I get a request to run a course for an RYA school, I know that the RYA require insurance from the school - plus I have my instructors insurance - so I am pretty relaxed that I am covered.
Agree with this.

Quote:
- If its own boat tuition via an RYA school then thats also fine as far as I am aware, since its part of the RYA package of offerings. (However I have recently learned that the boat owner should sign a disclaimer saying that his boat insurance will cover me and his boat should something go wrong).
There is no requirement from the RYA for a disclaimer from the Skipper to be signed however my feeling - and what I recommend to Centres at Inspections - is that the Terms under which Own Boat Tuition is carried out is enshrined within the Schools Terms & Conditions of Booking. Within my own T&Cs we state

".Own boat tuition. Tuition is provided on the following basis:
• The vessel is insured by the owner for loss, damage and legal liability to third parties
• The owner remains the skipper and legally responsible for the safe management of the vessel at all times (including when under tuition) and will not hold the Instructor responsible for any loss or damage.
• The owner undertakes to secure the consent of the insurers to this agreement"


These are not RYA recommended words but do address the recommendations with RYA literature on the subject.

Many misunderstandings can be prevented by a well drafted set of T&Cs available pre booking which then form part of the subsequent contract.

As an aside i've read a couple of insurance policies where it states that the craft is uninsured when someone in the marine trade is on board. Logically this could be argued an Instructor being on board would invalidate a crafts insurance unless the insurers consented.

Quote:
When its a "commercial job" of any sort - I am concerned. I presume that the only way is to actually ask to see the Insurance Certificate? Do other commercials do this please?

Only this weekend I got asked to do a couple of days skippering on a Princess by its owner. How can I be absolutely sure that he is all above board? He says his boat is MCA coded. Can I check this online and does this coding carry any insurance pre-requisite as well?
As a commercial Skipper then I think that you will need to take a view but I don't believe that the RYA Coaches Indemnity Insurance in any way covers you for this. Asking to see the ships documents is entirely reasonable. Coded boats are very obvious as they (should) carry lots of kit, they should have a copy of the coding certificate on board, have a tax disc type coding certificate and would often carry a copy of the certificate. A briefing to you the skipper at the time you take responsibility is something that should happen as a matter of course from the Owner/Managing Agent. If you don't get it or don't have a good feeling then walk away as it will be you dealing with the aftermath of an incident.

Another area to consider is deliveries. It never ceases to amaze me how many deliveries occur with no contract in place and thus arguably some potential for misunderstanding re liability in the event of an incident. We insist all deliveries are under a contract which we have based around a BMF Charter contract the key aspect of which is that the owner carries the insurance risk and indemnifies the company. How many deliveries do this though?

Quote:
As a skipper, I personally carry the Instructors 3rd Party Liability insurance, which is designed for exactly this purpose. If you agree to skipper a charter boat in good faith, something goes wrong, and it turns out the boat was uninsured/didn't meet coding requirements, then and only then, does this fall back insurance come into play, to ensure that you are not personally liable. It is far more likely that the owner/operator of the craft will be pursued in this case, but the personal instructors indemnity is really marketed as being there for a "what if?" situation.
Jim, perhaps I misunderstand what you mean but you imply that the Heath Lambert RYA Coaches Insurance Indemnity covers you for work as a Skipper when on charter. I cannot check this now but am 99.9% certain that it doesn't and that the policy wording stipulates that it only covers you when working for a RYA Training Centre on RYA Courses therefore charter would not be covered.

Hope this helps

Regards

Paul
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Old 12 August 2007, 23:29   #9
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I seem to remember that the scope of the heath lambert inst/coaches policy was for instructors working at an RYA centre as a back up in case the centres insurance did not cover them in the case of an incident. I do not require my instructors to have this cover as I pay an awful lot of money each year to ensure both we and they are adequately covered. However if working for another centre it is something I/they must consider in case that centre's insurance is inadequate for whatever reason. I have taken it out when working abroad but when I last enquired (and I specifically ask them re each country before going out) cover could not be extended to the USA (litigation society!), I dont think it covered Mexico or the Seychelles, but it certainly did not cover the Falklands (distance from anywhere). In these cases I made other arrangements. It did however extend to the Med countries I have been to. I am not totally convinced re the usefullness of this policy and the proof of the adequacy of cover would perhaps lay with a report of a payout from it- anyone know of a case where it has actually been of use?
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Old 12 August 2007, 23:33   #10
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Paul Glatzel - thats an awesomely comprehensive and helpful reply. Many thanks.
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Old 12 August 2007, 23:38   #11
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Just read the Heath Lambert details and it says:-

"while the insured is acting as an official RYA coach within the geographical area" etc etc..

So it would not cover any skippering activities at all.
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Old 13 August 2007, 07:37   #12
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Like many centres we insuit that all freelance skippers and instructor carry their own insurance.

Let me give you an example of why.

We have a full public liability, employers liability and individual insuarnace on each boat, building etc.

If I hired a rigging company to do some work aloft on our yacht and he fell who would the claim be made against. Clearly not us, he has been contracted in to do a job and he should be suitable skilled to do his job.

If therefore I hire a self employed instructor to do a job, my insurance company would say his insurnace should cover any accident not mine.

Now if a customer was involved they would claim aganist me and my policy as they have a contract with me not the freelance self employed instructor. My insurance company would in turn claim against the instructors insurance.

I think that the point a lot of freelancers miss is that they are effectivly a business in their own right and as such have to take certain precautions such as agreeing contracts with customers (training centres) and being covered by insurance.

The flip side of this is that all of our employed staff are fully covered by the centres policy, they are part of the business. I think insurance is one of the important differences between self employed and employed instructors.

I have discussed this with Heath Lambert (our current insureres) and Admiral (insured the centre I used to run) and they both came back with self employed skippers need to cover themselves seperatly.

Casting my mind back to my own freelance days, I always felt that the RYA insurance was not enough, back then it coverd you while teaching an RYA course at a RYA centre. What then if you are teaching a non RYA course at a RYA centre or you are cororate skippering for a charter company or underatking some non RYA tuition for a private owner, all of these situations came outside of the scope ogf the RYA coaches indemnity.

Unless this has changed I would suggest to freelance skippers/instructors that they need to take out a public liability to cover all of these risks or at very least raise these sort of quastions with your insurance company, as always make sure the answers come back in writing not by telephone.
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Old 13 August 2007, 08:35   #13
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Thats very interesting (and worrying!) Doug.

The Heath Lambert Instructors Policy as recommended by the RYA has a maximum indemnity limit of 1m per accident. To me, thats adequate (just) as a "backup" insurance assuming you are covered by the Training Schools RYA Approved Insurance.

However, what you are saying - and I am not disputing it but I am surprised - is that the part time (or self employed) instructor is actually liable for the full insurance of the course. You say "My insurance company would in turn claim against the instructors insurance."

Now 1M to cover the 4 people on the RIB, plus 3rd parties - is not enough and indeed Heath Lambert actually make you certify that "the training school holds it own public liability insurance of 2M and the training school insurance covers any coaching you do on their behalf"

Hence as I said above, very worrying.
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Old 13 August 2007, 13:19   #14
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Peter

Did not mean to scare you, Let me clarify my last post.

The boat is insured under the owners/ centres policy, the clients are insured under the centres public liability. If one of the clients sued us for whatever reason and we lost, our insurance company would pay out. If however the freelance instructor was in turn negligent our insureres would look to re-coup from him.

My point really was that freelancers are effectivly 1 man businesses and need to protect themselves.
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Old 13 August 2007, 16:46   #15
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Well I have been in touch with the RYA to see what they say. (And incidentally they are always incredibly helpful and quick to respond).

They reinforce what Doug said, viz - the Centres insurance company would NOT sue an employee of the Centre. However they would sue a freelance instructor if they felt he/she was negligent.

Given that situation, then the freelance instructor could end up with the whole cost of the claim at his/her door and under those circumstances the 1M Heath Lambert instructor cover could well be woefully inadequate.

(Which is exactly why the RYA insist on Centres having 2M cover if I remember correctly).


- And of course this particular can of worms relates only to Instructing. It will be a different ball game altogether with the "commercial skippering" side.
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Old 14 August 2007, 09:22   #16
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Peter

If I was freelancing in various sectors of the industry I would take out a public liability policy to cover all risks (ie policy would state RYA training, delivery, commercial skipper, skipperted charter, dinghy, power sail, pwc etc etc.) If you also teach something else ie water ski get that added to. Policy would also state area ie UK Coastal etc.

This is ony a guess but based on what we pay for the company public liability I would imagine a freelancer would be paying some where between 100 and 150 to cover a wide range of risks for UK, Ireland and Brest to the Elbe.

When taking out insurance of this sort they will partly base your figure on turnover so treat them just like the tax man when giving info.
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Old 14 August 2007, 10:17   #17
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Thanks Doug. In fact I am waiting for Heath Lambert's Marine chap to call me back to discuss exactly this.

My turnover will be tiny anyway as I am out of the UK much of the colder months and only working here a few days a week in the summer.
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Old 18 August 2007, 08:17   #18
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Just received my Quotation from Heath Lambert.

They are quoting for the following:-

a) RYA syllabus training
b) Own boat tuition
c) Corporate Days
d) Boat delivery. (I didnt ask for this but they said it made no difference to the policy).

With an indemnity limit of 3M, the annual policy is 367.50.

Anyone got any comments? Expensive? Fair and reasonable??

My first reaction was "ouch" - but on reflection, its 30 each month out of my earnings. Not too bad.
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Old 18 August 2007, 09:22   #19
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That sound a bit pricey, I would go back to them and point out what your turnover is and place some limits on the policy ie number of days
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Old 18 August 2007, 09:31   #20
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Thanks Doug. Will have a go at that on Monday, might also try my boat insurers to see what they say.
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