Despite its status as the 3rd smallest state in the country, Connecticut has a reputation for boating. Connecticut may not technically border an ocean, but it comes awfully close. Its southern border is the Long Island Sound, and numerous rivers and lakes cross the state. The largest of these is the Connecticut River, which bisects the state, roughly down the middle.

Although Connecticut does not have an Atlantic coast, it nevertheless draws a great deal of attention from shipping companies for its location. The Long Island Sound provides refuge to many ships that are trying to avoid Atlantic squalls, and shipping is the lifeblood of several port towns. The two most notable of these are the Port of Bridgeport and the Port of New Haven, which benefit from the natural protection that the sound provides.

Connecticut’s 93,364 registered boats won’t beat any records, but the state nevertheless enjoys a 32% boating participation rate. That’s well above the national average, but isn’t wholly surprising. Connecticut is 12% water, providing easy access to boating to every resident. Whether you take your yacht out on the sound, or prefer to launch your pontoon boat on a local lake, Connecticut has you covered.

Connecticut Boat Insurance

So, does the Connecticut state government require boat insurance? No, it does not. Connecticut is much like most other states and does not require boat insurance on any watercraft. However, you may need to buy Connecticut boat insurance anyway.

  • Loans: If you buy a vessel in Connecticut with a loan, you will need to purchase Connecticut boat insurance. Your lender will require it. In fact, if your lender does not require boat insurance of some sort, you may want to find another lender. Your lender should require insurance because it protects their investment as much as it protects yours. They are several thousand dollars in the hole until you pay your loan off. The boat functions as collateral to ensure that you pay. If your boat is in an accident or sinks, it loses its value as collateral. Your lender doesn’t want to lose that money. The bank or other lender will appear on the insurance policy as the lien-holder. Your insurance check will then list your lender as the co-payee if you need to file a claim.
  • Marinas: Most marinas, yacht clubs, and dockyards in Connecticut require insurance to dock there. Marinas, like lenders, want to shield themselves financially in the case of an accident. If your vessel damages another, the marina doesn’t want any part of it. They would vastly prefer that your respective insurance companies take care of the fallout.

Small Boat Insurance

Obviously you don’t need to worry about marina requirements if you keep your boat on a trailer or in a garage. Connecticut’s substantial coastline on the Long Island Sound provides ample space for fishing boats, cruising yachts, racing boats, and everything in between. Nevertheless, Connecticut is also home to numerous small lakes and rivers where the vast majority of vessels are speed boats, pontoon boats, Jet Skis, and kayaks. Sure, you can often keep your power boat at a local yacht club or marina, but most Connecticut residents either dock at home, or keep their boat on a trailer.

So, should you still consider Connecticut boat insurance? It’s a reasonable question. 21% of Connecticut residents use a canoe or kayak, well above the average for the rest of the country, though roughly on par with the rest of the Northeast. In addition, plenty of Connecticut residents have paid off their pontoon or speed boat, and keep them at home. Even so, we highly recommend boat insurance for everyone.  Insurance is extremely important, even on small boats.

Liability Coverage

You should always have insurance on your power boat. Open motorboats are involved in more accidents and fatalities every year than any other boat type. That includes Jet Skis, which people generally perceive as more dangerous. Even if you’ve paid your boat off, you should at least buy property damage and personal injury liability insurance. Any power boat is capable of going too fast, and accidents on the water can be catastrophic. Liability coverage can wind up saving you thousands, and it is is usually affordable.

You need liability insurance especially on any boat you lend out. If someone injures themselves or another person on your boat, you can be held liable, even if you were not present. In addition, speed boats, Jet Ski’s, and pontoon boats are often expensive. If your vessel is involved in an accident, you want a policy that will help you recoup the damages. You can read more about pontoon boat insurance here, and power boat insurance here if you remain unconvinced.

Self-Propelled Boats

You should also think about Connecticut boat insurance for canoes and kayaks. Now, we know that it is difficult to paddle a kayak into something hard enough to cause real damage, so you may feel that liability insurance isn’t worth the money. Nevertheless, if you lend your kayak out, you should buy liability insurance for the same reasons outlined above. Furthermore, you may find it worthwhile to insure your kayak itself in order to protect it from theft or vandalism. New fishing kayaks and canoes can cost $1-2k, which is a real amount of money.  Hull insurance, by contrast, is likely under $100. If someone steals it out of your garage or off your car, you want to be able to replace it. Click Here for more information on kayak insurance.

The Stats

Connecticut saw a drop in boating accidents last year, which is encouraging. Accidents dropped by nearly 19%, in sharp contrast to the boating accident spikes that much of the country saw last year. Connecticut may be the most expensive state to get into a boating accident, however. Accidents in Connecticut in 2016 led to a total of $1,177,728 in damages. Those reported damages averaged to $25,000 per accident. That’s an enormous amount of money, and is far beyond what insurance costs for most of us. You do not want to wind up with a payout like that. Connecticut is perhaps the best example of the how much money insurance can save you. Please believe that it isn’t worth the risk.

Connecticut boating accident statistics 2016

Connecticut’s fatality rate dropped in 2016 too. Fatalities in Connecticut dropped by 50% 2015-2016. Of course, any boating death is one too many, and we always need to be aware of the risks inherent in our activities. Every time we go out on the water we face potential unforeseen issues, and we must remain alert and cognizant of the dangers. Alcohol enhances all of these dangers, and impairs our ability to react in a timely fashion. Last year, Connecticut saw only a small percentage of accidents attributed to alcohol. However, 1/3 of Connecticut’s boating fatalities were in accidents where alcohol played a role. That is fairly common nation-wide. Accidents in which an operator is under the influence are more likely to result in a fatality. Please, any time you head out on the water, make sure you designate an operator who doesn’t drink.

We know that insurance can’t protect you from everything. it won’t keep your boat from an accident or keep you safe on the water. However, it will help you weather the financial blow that accidents can cause. $25,000 is a crazy sum that can financially cripple most American households. Insurance can help protect you and your family financially in the event of an accident.