The Scariest Moment In Boating, And How To Protect Yourself From It

From the 11 Spooky Stories From The Ozarks! series 
by Christy Wagner, republished from the 2020 Lake Of The Ozarks Official Shootout Guide
Aug 14, 2020 Updated Oct 29, 2021


The late afternoon sun begins to fall in the vast sky above as the heavy summer air commences its steady relent. You slip on your favorite pair of well-worn boat shoes and grab the closest hat. Keys in hand, you’re one cove away from abdication and liberation. Every stress, worry, and memory of life’s monumental moments in recent history will be left behind at the dock.

You’re lionhearted and overventuresome as you break through the steady glass of nautical expanse, and the world is your oyster on a lake without a daytime speed limit, and in a boat without brakes. Nothing could stop you now.

Then, that moment of panic.


A youthful driver aboard a jet ski darts out of a cove on your starboard side and directly into your path. You immediately let off of the throttle and cut the boat hard to the left, barely avoiding a head-on collision and the imminent peril of a fourteen-year-old boy who had just left every stress, worry, and memory of life’s monumental moments in recent history behind at his parents’ dock.

Your boat slows and your heart races while the boy’s parents scream at him to return to their dock. You’re okay and he’s okay, but your mind races on. What would have happened if you’d hit him? He would’ve been at-fault, right? It wouldn’t have been your fault, right?

You try to recall your liability limits for personal injury exposure on your watercraft policy. You added the boat to your umbrella policy for the additional $1,000,000 in liability protection, right? Or did you cancel that umbrella policy to save money when its renewal premium increased last year?

What about potential damages to your own boat or injuries to you? Would your current insurance policy cover the payoff remaining on your loan? Would it get you your boat back?

What if the boy’s parents were uninsured on their own watercraft (because marine insurance is not legally required in the State of Missouri), and they had paid cash for the jet ski?

What if everything you’d worked for your whole life was now on the table for a few moments of lionhearted, overventuresome exultation? Hit the waves without hitting the breakwaters in life, and check your limits for the moments where the sky is the limit. Here are a few basics every boat-owner should ask their insurance agent about...



Marine Insurance Basics:

Hull Coverage: limit of coverage for damage to your watercraft (paid as either fair market value or agreed value and subject to your policy’s deductible).

Liability Coverage: limit of coverage to pay for another operator and/or their passenger’s injuries or property damage incurred if you cause an accident.

Personal Property Replacement: limit of coverage to replace contents on your watercraft; possibly subject to its own deductible.

Medical Payments: limit of coverage that goes toward injuries (often used to satisfy a health insurance deductible).

Uninsured Watercraft Coverage: limit of coverage for you if you are struck by another party who is uninsured.

Towing: subject to its own specified limit per occurrence.