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Medical & workers compensation insurance
Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2009 12:13 PM
Joined: 17/06/2008
Posts: 71

What type of medical insurance and workers compensation insurance should yachts provide? Should crew be provided with an insurance card that validates their insurance & identifies them as the policy holder? Without an insurance card how do you absolutely know your correctly insured and covered? If a work related accident prevents you from working in the short and long term, where do you stand if the yachts did not provide sufficient insurance? Is there a policy that is worldwide, that covers more than 10 months in the USA?
MHG Mark B
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:51 PM
Joined: 01/05/2008
Posts: 14

Dear Dean, Your questions require quite a lengthy bit of discussion and probably further questions. Yachts currently are not required to provide medical insurance to the crew (watch this space!), but it is strongly recommended for a number of reasons. Workers compensation insurance typically is only referenced when it is a US flagged vessel and US crew. As a non-US flagged vessel, you could relate the Owner's P & I coverage (Protection and Indemnity) to something like workmans comp but it is not nearly the same. Basically P & I protects the Yacht Owner's liability due to something that may happen to you onboard, but it does not really benefit you as a crewmember. Separate health insurance is a much better solution and a much clearer defined one. You should certainly get a plan with ID cards available for each crewmember. If you have a work related accident, the Yacht Owner may be liable for providing you with 'maintenance and cure' which isn't exactly ideal and is minimal. It is for this reason that yachts choose to include a disability benefit plan in their package which can pay the crewmember's salary for up to a year or two depending on the disabling event. There are certainly plans available worldwide no matter how much time you spend in the US. If I can help further, feel free to come by our offices for a coffee, we're right on 17th street. (Just not this week!) or send me an email directly at Thanks for asking MHG!
Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 4:28 PM
Joined: 06/10/2009
Posts: 1

I am not employed, or have been employed in the industry, but my wife has been in the industry since 93 and has held various positons (crew placement, chief stew, etc) Her most recent gig was chief stew on a private M/Y, that was flagged from one country, and docked in another outside of the US.

She was hurt on the boat while it was docked for between season work. Subsequently she had to return home for care on her injury (ankle). At first we thought it would be a 2-3 month leave to recover, but unfortunately it turned into a much worse situation. She has since had 3 surgeries, and has been out of work for 18 months. Fortunately her medical expenses have been covered by the boat and the insurance policy it has. Unfortunately her wages were not covered, and it has created a huge financial burden on us, to the point where we may file for bankrupcy, and worse, we may loose our house.

Sadly, this is a very serious issue that requires awarness brought to all involved. I would hope that the industry, through crew agencies will bring this to light for owners and crew to be fully aware, and protected. As it is now, it seems as though this industry has the ability to treat crew as a commodity rather than a valued employee.



MHG Mark B
Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 11:24 PM
Joined: 01/05/2008
Posts: 14

Dear Coyote, Your situation is regrettable, and I tend to agree that there is still work to do in making the industry aware of the risk of exactly what you are having to bear. We do educate vessel Owners, Managers and Captains about the importance of a disability income plan that pays the salary of the crewmember for just this situation, and we encourage them to take it up. We are hopeful as well that the Maritime Labor Convention, when ratified, will help to affirm your statement that crew do need to be treated as valuable employees.