When your clients are operating near the water and have to be liable for injuries and accidents, they’re going to need a special type of coverage. Your client is going to need to look at recreational marine programs, but they may find that their current programs do not give them the coverage that they need. That’s where the United States Longshore & Harbor (USL&H) Act steps in, filling in the gaps that workers’ compensation insurance cannot. For certain industries this type of coverage is required by the  federal government, simply meaning a business can’t operate without it. Whatever you need, Merrimac Marine has the answers to all of your client’s problems, starting with when this type of coverage is required.

When is USL&H Required?

The federal government may require it, depending on the business. If your client is dock builder, ship repairer, marine contractor or some other type of marine business, then chances are, you’re going to need coverage. This policy gives you coverage for any adjoining pier, dry dock, wharf, building-way, terminal or marine railway. If your client is loading, unloading, repairing or building a vessel, then they are protected under this policy. Benefits are based on wage loss and the worker’s post-injury earning capacity. It’s important to note that if one fails to have this type of insurance, they can be subject to a fine of $10,000, imprisonment for up to a year or both, due to the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Target classes include:

  • Marinas
  • Boat dealers
  • Yacht clubs
  • Shipbuilders
  • Ship repairers
  • Marine manufacturers
  • Marine artisans and contractors

Occupations eligible for coverage include shipbuilders, ship repair persons, shipbreakers and longshore and harbor workers. Occupations not eligible for coverage include seamen, sailors, master and members of a crew of any vessel, as well as clerical, office, automation support and security personnel. Those involved in aquaculture are also not covered under this specific act.

Where the Act Doesn’t Apply

There are several limitations to the act. They include:

  • The act cannot apply to operations at a recreational facility. Such as a country club, resort or children’s camps.
  • The act does not apply to small vessels. They have to be over 18 tons.
  • If a worker is repairing a recreational vessel, they are effectively not covered during that time (workers’ compensation does the job instead).
  • Note: The Act previously did not apply to vessels less than 65 feet in length. As of 2009, due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it now does.

Why USL&H is Important

This act requires that every employer has coverage for all of their employees and their business through an insurance carrier authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor. The act keeps your clients’ workers safe, and helps to ensure that every operation has sufficient insurance coverage.

About Merrimac Marine Insurance

At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.