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How We Got Live-Aboard Boat / Yacht Insurance with NO Boating Experience

Have you just bought or are considering the purchase of a boat and have little or no boating experience? If so, then your next challenge will be to obtain insurance for your vessel. In this blog, we will share our experience from boat search to insurance approval and hopefully our story will guide you in your process.

Newfound Love

For us, the adventure began August 14th, 2021 when we signed a contract with our Moorings broker, Bill Regan to purchase a 2015 Leopard 44 catamaran named Lone Star, which we subsequently renamed Blown Away. Our decision to purchase the Leopard 44 was made after spending an entire exhaustive day touring various boats in the vicinity of Fort Lauderdale. Below is a comprehensive video of this experience including our comparisons / contrasts and reviews of the Leopard 39, Leopard 40, Leopard 44, Leopard 48 as well as the Leopard 58 (just for the fun of it).

Good Loving Gone Wrong? Our Search for Insurance Companies

Now that we had found our new 2015 Leopard 44 love, life was blissful and nothing was going to get in our way. My first call was to Boat US because it was owned by GEICO and I have been a good car and homeowner customer for many years so this should be easy, right? Think again! Upon explaining to the Boat US representative that we had very little sailing experience, we had read (ASA 101, 103, 104 and 114), they assured me that they could insure us after we had at least two years boating experience. When I asked, "How do I go about getting experience?", they responded, "Go hang out at your local marina". WHAT!?!? All our lives, we've dreamed of sailing around the world and now we're told that it was going to be at least two more years . . . there had to be another way!

After watching many sailing Youtube videos, we came upon the name of an insurance broker, Hugo Hanham-Gross of Hanham Insurance Agency. On our behalf, he pursued several underwriters and presented us with a Concept Special Risks proposal. What a match as their name perfectly described who we were! Miraculously, they agreed to insure us upon sign-off of a prequalified captain after two weeks of sailing instruction. Below is the form that Captain Ben Thompson fill out and submitted for sign captain pre-approval.

Insurance Captain Approval Request Form

Newbie Insurance Arrangement. Sailing Lessons and Prep for Antigua Passage Begin!

Captain Ben was approved by Concept Special Risk, so we were on our way with his instruction at the tune of $315 per day for two weeks. Our first week and a half of training took place in Rodney Bay and consisted of working on our basic skills culminating in a trip to the famous Pitons, where we overnighted on a mooring ball. Journey with us by watching the following videos:

Final Exam - Overnight Passage to Antigua

After extensive provisioning of our boat, we were prepared for our summative assessment, an overnight passage to Antigua where we anchored in Freeman's Bay. Click below and sail with us to Antigua!

Once in Antigua, we continued our sailing lessons by sailing to Green Island and Falmouth Harbor. At that point, Captain Ben completed the sign off sheet and submitted to our underwriter for approval. Mission accomplished! Now that you know it's possible, go out and get it done!

Sailing Competency Signed Approval Form

If you thought this article was useful and / or has helped you on your path to becoming insured, we would much appreciate subscribing to our blog, following our YouTube channel, Sailing Blown Away and also make sure to check out our Sailing Blown Away Website for more detailed information. As always, we appreciate your comments and will respond to the them!


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