N.J. Bill Would Require Liability Insurance for Boats

March 3, 2008

New Jersey boat-owners would need to carry a minimum level of liability insurance on their watercraft under a bill introduced in state’s Assembly.

The bill, called the “Donald W. McGloan Law,” would require boaters to have liability coverage that insures against losses, injuries or death caused by the use of the vessels. It’s named for a New Jersey man who was killed in an explosion aboard a friend’s uninsured boat in 2002. McGloan’s family received no payments for medical or funeral costs from the accident.

“Right now, there is no guarantee that a family will be compensated in the event a loved one is hurt or killed in a boating accident on New Jersey’s waters. It is a glaring omission of law and it must be corrected,” said Middlesex Democrat John S. Wisniewski, chairman of the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee and a co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill proposes coverage limits of $100,000 for a person killed or injured in an accident and $200,000 if an accident injures or kills multiple people. Boaters who fail to carry the insurance face fines of up to $1,000 and a one-year suspension of their boating license. Out-of-state boaters using New Jersey waterways must also purchase the coverage.

Many Garden State marinas already require vessels to be insured in case of an accident that damages marina property or other boats.

“We now require all New Jersey boaters to be licensed… It’s only logical that we also require them to carry insurance for vessels they are piloting,” said Neil M. Cohen, the Union Democrat who co-sponsored the bill.

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