A standup paddleboard (SUP) has become the hot new way to cool down or by donning a wetsuit enjoying year round in warmer climes. Either way, SUPs, whether hard board, inflatable or folding fiberglass, have definitely made a big splash in the boating world from coast to coast.
Many houseboaters keep them onboard for themselves, kids and guests to use during excursions, raising the question of how SUPs are treated under their boat insurance policy.
"One large vessel insurer is BoatU.S.," says VP of Underwriting Mike Pellerin. "Their boat insurance doesn't cover them as boating equipment (defined as something regularly carried aboard for a boat's safe operation or routine boat maintenance), or as a dinghy which specifies its use primarily as the boat's tender, clearly not the primary use of an SUP. It can be considered a Personal Effect like a windsurfer, kayak or canoe as sporting equipment.
However, they are only covered while on the boat or being loaded or unloaded from the insured boat, not while on water."
He suggests looking to your homeowners or renters policy for coverage in an appropriate amount based on the SUP's value and lack of a motor. I would add this is especially important if having more than one, plus accessories.
Note SUPs are labeled by a few states and the Coast Guard as `vessels' requiring users to wear or carry a PFD, unless ridden as a surf board in a surfing zone, according to Chris Edmonston, president of the BoatU.S. Foundation.
Joan Wenner is a long-time boating law writer. Questions are welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org.