Clearly, where necessary, marinas must upgrade their electrical systems tomeet the latest maritime electrical codes (which are different from the codes that apply on land) and carefully monitor the use of electricity by boaters, both for fire safety and to prevent casualties from electrical mishaps.
Environmental liability is“the most obvious area of growing exposure”for marinas, Cicala said in an interviewwith Insights for Your Industry. Today, he says, even the simplest of spills can lead to costly cleanup, thanks to heightened awareness of the interconnectedness of water systems.
This scrutiny adds urgency to the task of removing and disposing of wrecks. Previously, if an abandoned wreck was not obstructing traffic, the timing of its removal was largely a business decision. Under the right circumstances, it might be put off until after the close of boating season.
That’s unlikely today, says Cicala. If a wrecked boat were to leak fuel, waste water, or any other contaminant, marina operators can expect an“aggressive”response by multiple jurisdictions employing expensive resources to clean and contain the spill. Along the same line, Cicala is watching the public response to “invasive species,”the introduction of non-native plants and animals into an ecosystem, often through the discharge of ballast water from vessels at marinas. In the absence of predators or grazers, invasive species can thrive and disrupt an ecosystem.
Any idea that operating a marina is as an easy-going occupation spent in a hammock with a cool drink has never beenmore off the mark than today.
The growing property and liability exposures facingmarinas make it more imperative than ever that marina operators establish andmaintain a comprehensive risk management programgrounded in best practices for marina management. Those that don’t are clearly putting their livelihoods at risk.
“[As] for insurers that underwrite marina operators’property and liability exposures, risk mitigation requires a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the marine environment and appropriate use of insuring agreements,”Cicala writes.____________________