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Boating Season has officially arrived and it FEELS so good! Nothing says summer, like a day at the lake or on the ocean in a boat, am I right? But with all the excitement of getting back on the water, did you make sure you and the family are truly ready? 

Is your vessel registered with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC)?

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission requires you to register and title all motorized used on public waters, including jet skis and sailboats. Also, make sure your licensing and permits are up to date. NCWRC also requires Boater Education Certificates on board, so have those updated as well. While you are there, make sure to go over the Laws and Safety so everyone can have a fun and safe summer! Be prepared for officers to stop and check out your vessel for Hull ID, personal floatation devices, alcohol and other possible safety regulations. 

Are you properly insured?  Why do you need insurance for your boat or personal watercraft?

You'll enjoy the water, even more, when you're not worried about the safety of yourself, your passengers or your investment. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you're in an accident or your watercraft is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
  • If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
  • If your watercraft is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
  • Your watercraft also need protection when it's on land. Accidents can happen while towing a watercraft. 

Things to consider and questions to ask your agent
Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the discussion:

  • How much can you afford to pay if your boat or personal watercraft is in an accident, damaged or stolen?
  • Is my boat or watercraft covered for use year-round?
  • What discounts and programs are available?
  • How much medical insurance and liability coverage is enough?
  • Do I have coverage if I need to have my boat towed in an emergency?
  • What's the process for filing and settling a claim?
  • Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly? 

Home and auto insurance policies may provide limited coverage for personal watercraft. Talk to your insurance representative about coverage limits. You may want to consider purchasing a personal watercraft policy to protect yourself and your water vehicle in the event of an accident.

The personal watercraft policy covers:

  • bodily injury
  • property damage
  • guest passenger liability
  • medical payments
  • theft 

Liability limits start at $15,000 and can be increased to $300,000. 
Typical policies include deductibles of $250 for property damage, $500 for theft and $1,000 for medical payments.
Additional coverage can also be purchased for trailers and other accessories. 
You should talk to your insurance representative about the type of coverage that would suit your needs.


Looking to buy a boat this summer? While a boat is a fun purchase, it requires some work that starts well before you own the boat. Especially if you buy used. If you're in the market for a used boat, make sure it was kept in good condition and that all the logistics square up. Here is what you'll want to check out before signing the dotted line:

  • Registration: Sometimes boats don't require registration if they're a certain size, only used on private waters or some other state criteria. If the boat is currently registered, check with NCWRC on how to transfer the registration. But if the boat does not currently have registration, discuss with the owner about covering the cost to have it registered in your name. Also, know that there might be a tax issue if the boat does not reside in the state in which it's registered. 
  • An Inspection: First ask the current owner if the boat has ever been involved in a collision, fire, sinking or other disasters. Inspect the condition yourself but also get an expert opinion. Definitely, take the boat out for a test drive before committing to purchase.
  • Title: Make sure the title matches the registration. (for extra confidence, check that the title is listed with the National Vessel Documentation Center.) Some titles might have liens on the boat; if so, make sure your purchase agreement requires the seller to pay them off.
  • Hull Identification Number (HIN): If the boat's HIN doesn't match the HIN on the registration and title, the boat could be stolen, making the transfer risky business. 
  • How much will it cost to insure: A boat is not a small purchase, and you may want to protect your investment with insurance that covers both damage and liability
  • Purchase Agreement and Bill of Sale: Protect yourself by putting contingencies such as securing financing and passing inspection in writing. Once the Bill of Sale is written its official! Make sure the seller's name appears on the bill of sale exactly as it does the title and registration.

The extra work is worth all the memories your family and you will make for years to come! We hope you have smooth waters this summer!!!


Allison Baldwin

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