M.O.P.S license insurance

Having been involved in and around a couple Marine Incidents in the past few years and their prevalence within the dredging and marine construction industries has got me thinking about this coverage for my license.

I have sent off for more information from them directly but I am interested in hearing the other side of the coin before committing to anything.

Does anyone here have any experiences, stories, reviews positive or negative regarding their services?

I have a good experience with MOPS, they respond quickly to mail/email/phone calls. Good service. Never had to file a claim so I don’t know about that.

By contract I am reimbursed for the costs but I’d get it anyway even if I had to pay.

I think there’s a couple threads here about it.


I believe standard MOPS only covers USCG license hearings and not criminal liability. A membership in the Nautical Institute comes with £50,000 criminal liability coverage.

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MOPS is very good. It covers USCG license defense, lost wages during any suspension, civil case defense, and it’s possible to get extra coverage for any civil judgements. It does not cover criminal defense. The cost depends on what you do. It’s quite cheap unless you are a Pilot.

The Nautical Institute provides criminal defense coverage as a membership benefit.

I was quoted $3,500 a year for basic coverage with civil liabilty and civil legal defense added. Not what I would consider inexpensive.

I don’t reminder what I’m paying, but it’s a lot less than that. Also, I do not have the civil liability cover which is expensive. Perhaps you are making a lot more than I am which raises the cost of the wage replacement cover.

Some people say that having the civil liability just makes you a magnet for lawsuits because you have insurance to pay a judgment. Most plaintiffs lawyers don’t bother suing mariners because mariners don’t have much money and a judgment would be difficult if not impossible to collect. Also, a Mariner that is being sued by the plaintiff isn’t going to be a very willing witness against the employer.

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When I spoke with them on the phone they even said that the civil/criminal liability coverage was not commonly taken by most people. I was quoted roughly $500/year for the basic coverage

Edit: I’m sure that it may have something to do with the sector and size of vessel/license those of you moving oil/passengers are likely to have a higher premium

Is it not £50,000 with NI?

Yes, my mistake.

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The oil spill coverage really jacks up the price

The first quote they gave me was high. I gave them a call, They told me the oil spill coverage wasn’t really needed because I don’t work on a tanker so I didn’t get it.

Here is a good article John wrote in 2010: Marine License Insurance – Questions & Answers

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Every officer should have license insurance.

The USCG goes after the low hanging fruit. If you don’t have license insurance and an attorney to protect you, whether you are at fault or not, you are easy pickings for the USCG. If you have an experienced MOPS lawyer throwing up roadblocks and making the USCG jump through all the hoops, they may decide that you are not worth the effort.

I don’t know if I’m actually covered for hydraulic oil spills, fuel spills, lube spills, bilge pumping, etc. I sure hope so.

On a tug with an unlicensed engineer, the USCG comes straight after the licensed Master. The ISM manual always specifies that a licensed officer or Tankerman must supervise all fuel transfers.

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