Our plain English Helmsman policy is specifically designed for commercial, skippered charter boats, small tourist boat vessels and the like.

Unlike standard hull policies that are based on the Institute Yacht Clauses and designed for pleasurecraft, our Helmsman policy is designed for commercial vessels.

With the Helmsman policy, you’re covered for a wide range of perils, including statutory and employer’s liabilities.

Need to claim?

If you own or operate a commercial vessel and you need to make a claim, please follow our Hull claims procedure, and Emailsend us an email.

For after–hours emergency assistance in New Zealand, call Sedgwick on Call us0800 800 270.

Physical loss or damage

Helmsman provides cover for your vessel’s hull and machinery both on water and on land. The trailer, and any gear and equipment associated with the business and used on board, can also be covered if they’re not already insured.

The vessel, including the hull, machinery, sails and dinghy, are insured together for an Agreed Value, which means that if the vessel is completely lost or destroyed, that’s the amount you’ll be paid.

Cover includes:

  • Loss or damage to the vessel's hull, machinery and equipment whilst afloat, onshore or being transported on land
  • Physical damage caused by a hidden defect in the vessel (but not the cost of repairing or replacing the defective part).
  • Accidental loss or damage to the vessel's trailer 
  • Loss or damage to gear and equipment while it’s on board, or being carried on to or removed from the vessel, up to NZ$2,500 for any one item
  • Limited cover for gear and equipment while it’s temporarily ashore
  • Reasonable expenses incurred while preventing, or attempting to prevent, loss or damage
  • The cost of fire extinguishment and safety flare replacement up to NZ$1,000
  • War risks while the vessel is on the water
  • Personal effects up to a specified amount

Jet skis and other personal watercraft

If you normally keep personal watercraft, including jet skis, on your vessel, you can also arrange cover for them under our Helmsman policy.

Loss of earnings

If your vessel is damaged or lost and unable to be used, it could affect your business if you’re forced to cancel pre-booked charters.

Our Helmsman policy can be extended to cover lost earnings while your boat is out of use. You’ll even be covered for lost earnings if your vessel becomes a total loss, up until the day we make the claims payment for your vessel.

Liability & defence cover

Policies which are designed for pleasurecraft and then adapted for charter use usually include only limited cover for legal liability. Our Helmsman policy is designed to cover liability risks associated with operating a charter boat or other similar operations.

Cover includes:

  • Your third party legal liability for:
    • damage to another vessel from collision
    • loss of life or bodily injury to people other than crew and employees
    • loss or damage to third party property as a result of transportation of the vessel on land
    • loss or damage to property like jetties, wharves, buoys and cables
    • removal of wreck
  • Some aspects of pollution liability up to a maximum of $250,000
  • Punitive or exemplary damages up to NZ$250,000
  • Legal defence costs for representation at Maritime New Zealand, TAIC or Coroner inquiries up to NZ$25,000.
  • Liability for personal property of passengers up to NZ$2,500 for any one item, and NZ$20,000 for any one event
  • Rescue costs of passengers and crew members, including reasonable accommodation and travel costs
  • NZ$250 a day for attending court proceedings at our request.

Optional cover is available for:

Statutory liability

Covering defence costs for alleged breaches of New Zealand’s Resource Management, Maritime Transport or Health & Safety in Employment Acts.

Employer’s liability

Covering your legal liability for an employee sustaining personal injury in New Zealand in the course of their employment in operating any insured vessel.

Legal defence costs

Covering the costs of defending legal action taken against you for any alleged offence under the Crimes Act 1961.


Not quite what you’re looking for?

If the products above don’t quite suit your needs, have a look at these related marine hull insurance products, or get in touch with a broker for personalised help.



Commercial Fishing Vessel

Commercial Hull

Boat Builders insurance

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Important information

Excesses, terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply to these policies. Please check the policy wording for details of cover. The provision of cover is subject to the underwriting criteria that apply at the time.

Our website provides general information about our products and services to help you make choices when it comes to protecting the things in life and business that really matter and is not intended to be financial advice. For advice on product suitability, please contact your financial adviser.