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WLNG
April 12, 2006

Boating News: Help Is On The Way


The Boat Owners Association of the United States recently revealed that recreational boaters now have local lobbying help available on the worldwide web. The BoatU.S. Government Affairs Team has developed an online Grassroots Lobbying Tool Kit which can be accessed at www.BoatUS.com/gov/toolkit.

According to the organization, "Boat owners have a big stake in what goes on in the community where they live and boat. Local ordinances passed in meetings that are poorly publicized or unattended by recreational boaters can have a major impact on boating."

Michael Sciulla, senior vice president of BoatU.S. Government and public affairs, recently noted that national associations can greatly impact the way Congress votes on a multitude of questions. He also pointed out the necessity for local politicians to get feedback from their constituents on areas and issues that are most important to them. The new tool kit is aimed at giving boaters a clearer insight into the way government works as well as providing suggestions that individuals can use to make changes.

Another area recently addressed by BoatU.S. is insurance. While selecting home or auto insurance can be confusing, wading through the shaky waters of boat insurance may force you to sink or swim. It is quite enlightening to find out that marine insurance can vary widely from one company to another and it is often difficult to determine which type best suits your needs. It is no secret that thousands of horror stories have come out of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina involving boaters who thought their coverage was sufficient, only to discover that their total boat loss was not included in their policy. And considering that experts have already agreed that a potentially devastating storm will hit Long Island sometime in the near future, now is the time to get the same protection on your vessel as you would your home.

BoatU.S. has suggested a way to edge your way through the maze of companies and these are their tips:

Ask around: One way to find a good insurer is to ask friends who have had a claim in the past. Insurance companies may be good at taking monthly premiums, but how a company lives up to expectations when something goes wrong is a good indicator.

You can also research potential insurance carriers at www.ambest.com/ratings. The ratings are the industry's benchmark for assessing an insurer's financial strength; look for an A rating or better.

Consider buying a separate insurance policy for the boat, rather than adding it to your homeowner's policy as the latter often limits certain marine-related risks such as salvage work, wreck removal, pollution or environmental damage. Whatever amount the boat is insured for, it should have a separate but equal amount of funds available for any salvage work.

Agreed value vs. actual cash value; these are the two main choices that boaters face and depreciation is what sets them apart. While it typically costs more upfront, there is no depreciation if there is a total loss of the boat. Actual cash value policies cost less but only pay the actual cash value at the time the boat is declared a total loss.

Remember, you should always be aware that a #1 insurer will take time to tailor your coverage to fit your needs. While hurricane haul-out coverage will assist you in taking care of the bill when you need to get that boat onto dry land, so also will certain types of freeze insurance coverage protect you in states where this kind of damage occurs.

It is extremely important to remember that having a voice in

government is one of your constitutional rights and voicing your opinions to local lawmakers helps them to decide what is truly vital to the preservation of our waterway communities. Beyond that, we should

all demand honesty and trust of

the companies that insure the boats we take such pride and enjoyment from.

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