A Season for Boating Can Be a Season for Liability

Summer is here and we’ve gotten the weather almost all of us look forward to each year.  With our access to Lake Michigan, boating is an important summertime activity. 

Like driving a vehicle, boating comes with a potential for accidents and liability.  If you own a boat and are interested in protecting yourself from this liability, you should read on to understand what your options are.

If there’s an accident and the injuries are severe, the driver who was negligent can be liable as well as the owner of the boat.  To protect against this liability exposure, the most important way is through your insurance coverage.  You should consistently consult with your insurance agent to determine if you have the proper coverage and limits to minimize this risk. 

However, if the accident is so severe that it exceeds your insurance coverage or there is a denial of coverage, having legal advice on how to protect your assets is very important.  An option to limit your liability is to set up a limited liability company or LLC to own your boat.  This protection technique can limit your exposure to that asset as opposed to having it spread to a number of your personal assets.  LLCs are not for every boat owner.  You should consider this option if someone else drives your boat from time to time.  When this occurs, the LLC will protect you against liability.  On the other hand, if you are always the driver, you will have liability from these actions and an LLC will not achieve any protection for you.  By having an LLC, the liability to your boat will be limited as opposed to it applying to other assets you may have.

If you are consistently the driver of your boat, you should consider getting legal advice on how to own your other personal assets.  There are techniques that are simple and some that are quite complicated that can limit the exposure so that if you are sued a creditor in a lawsuit cannot recover against those assets. 

If you have any questions or are interested in talking about this type of liability planning, feel free to contact me. 

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