Marine License Insurance? Does anyone have it?

Does anyone have insurance for their Coast Guard license? Is it worth the price and what is the price?

I don’t know much about it except that most people buy their insurance from these people:

Once you get all the kinks out of your system and establish confidence in yourself as a mate you won’t need any type of license insurance. experience teaches you all you need to know to be a good mate. Trust your instincts. Guys who have insurance are running scared.


Being confident doesn’t have anything to do insurance, or accidents for that matter. Things happen that you have no control over, false charges included.

Insurance could be a good idea depending on job.

Although mates are held at a professional standard for the license they carry, working at the direction of the Master has it’s perks and liability isn’t one of them (unless you do your own thing without regard). Because of this, DS’s comments are correct, but for the wrong reasons.

Ask Hazelwood if insurance is a good idea. You might need it from the comfort of your stateroom as Master.

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Does anyone know how much it costs?

DS’s comments are way off base. Running scared? How about common sense? That way of thinking means that you would never carry health insurance, wear a seat belt, eye protection, etc. Nobody ever plans on having an accident and being prepared for one doesn’t indicate a lack of professionalism or competence, quite the opposite, knowing what to do when the S#%@ hits the fan is critical to any mariner. It can prevent a small mistake, an oops, from turning into something that you would see on CNN…MOPS is what I have had through several different companies and I feel better knowing that I have it…I guess DS has never stepped on a cargo line or hydraulic line that was corroded through or had a sailboat come down the port side at 50 yards that was never on the radar and had no lights on at night.


Kingfshy, If I loose my license I can work shoreside but if I’m arrested for a mistake I got to jail. Most license insurance does nothing to help with criminal charges or it’s an expensive add-on.

I understand that, but remember that even Hazelwood didn’t go to jail. However he did get hammered by civil suits and can never work in this industry again, at least at sea and even trying to teach at SUNY failed. The cost of license insurance was covered by my previous employer.

I think your off base. First license insurance doesn’t cover civil action either (another expensive add-on). Second, the civil actions have nothing to do with hazlewood’s post-incident failure. He can’t find a job because no ship owner wants the media coverage that hiring him would create.

Yes, the add-ons do tally up. I’ve worked for 3 companies that had discounted rates and it’s still outrageous. But then again, out of a dozen or so captains and mates that I know have insurance, only one has had to use it. He was glad to have it as his paycheck just barely serviced his debt.

I’ve gone 7 issues without it. Probably won’t start now.



As a marine pilot who has undergone a grounding, Marine Licence insurance was worth every penny I paid for. Our marine licence insurance is included with legal representation in Canada. Believe me, when you have an accident or incident, wether your fault or not, the friends you thought you had are no longer. That employer who promised to look after you, no matter what, seems to have forgotten that promise in a new york minute.

You are basically left to fend off the wolves by yourself, and believe me, there are many wolves in this industry. Without good legal councel and insurance, you are a sitting duck. My incident cost over 13K in legal representation. I was finally exonerated and did not have to face licence suspension. Had I faced an impending licence suspension ( my livelihood ) , at least I had the insurance to pay the bills and expenses, that would have otherwise come from my nickel.



I’m also a marine pilot. I’ve used my MOPS insurance benefit a five times in nine years. Anytime any unusual marine incident occurs, call the CG, call your MOPS lawyer, and get a alcohol/drug test - in that order. Three times docking pilots have had allisions with bridges while I was in the wheelhouse. In another case, I anchored a pipe line laying barge which later stranded at low water, hours after I left. The CG for some reason was looking for me. Another time I noticed oil in the water after docking a tanker -the sheen later was discovered to have come from the IG system. But who knew at the time?

Calling the lawyer was the right thing to do, and none of the calls cost me a dime.

i hear that this is recommended more for upper level licenses, would it be recommended for a 3rd mate about to start out?


Not as much. If a third mate looses his license he might have to take a $20,000 pay cut to come shoeside. While a captain might have to take a $100,000 cut (all those great companies you see on faststream’s website no longer want you). If you’re a pilot you’d have to take a…

The 3rd who might want license insurance is the one who invested thousands in training classes, doesn’t have a degree and has a family to support.

To answer the next question… yes, the Coast Guard will take 3/m’s license… or at least ask them to “voluntarily” surrender it… and it’s a lot harder to call their bluff if you haven’t yet established a network of industry friends.


If I work on a marshall islands vessel in US waters do I still need this insurance to protect my US license in case of incident? Does it also protect my MI license?


I have been in the industry for 30 years. Tugs, Research Ships and Fast Ferries. etc. I would not be without Licence insurance! Stand-up companies will pick up the tab, but I have bought my own when they did not. Getting sued can happen to anyone and it could cost you everything you have to defend yourself. (Even if the suit is BS)

The newer the ink on your license, the more you need insurance. Us old guys will buy it because we are smart.

Any updates or new information on this?

When I was sailing, I always kept my insrance current. Even though I hadn’t yet gone to law school, I realized that although you’ll probably be ansolved if you are prudent and com,penetent, any @#$%^ wil enough $$ to pay a lawyer can name you in a lwasuit and you’ll spend a small fortune in legal fees defending yourself. Same goes for criminal prosecution, if it’s in the news, some prosecutor will feel compelled to take it to trial. Now that I’ve been a lawyer, I wouldn’t think of sailing without it.
Some of the guys who defend you under your insurance (e.g. Ralph Mellusi) are as the best out there in USCG S&R defense.
If I were still sailing, there’s no way I’d do it without insurance. Like all insurance, you may never need it, uit the consequences of needing and not having it are huge.

DS seems the type that would T-bone my car and waddaya know, not be covered by auto insurance. Would any others of you operate a car without insurance:?
I’ve always held license insurance and always will. Cheap, if you consider the alternative, peace of mind
DS is nuts. I’m on issue #6 of my Master’s license, I haven’t been “running scared” since before my college age kids were born, I’m very good at what I do professionally and I wouldn’t leave home without it.