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Great Loop Insurance

Published Date: Jul 31, 2023

The Great Loop is a 6,000 mile journey navigating waterways along much of the Eastern USA along with a bit of Canada in mostly protected inland waters. An average of around 150 boats complete the Loop each year and many of these “Loopers” take a couple of years to complete the trip. Others decide to do a portion of the trip, from Florida as far north as the Canadian Maritimes, cruising up and down the east coast seasonally to avoid hurricane season in the southern states and cold winters in the northern states and Canada. The same mantra applies to Loopers as cruisers; “plans are written in sand at low tide”. That is, it’s not a race and plans change, which is part of the adventure! There is a ton of valuable information available on the internet regarding boat choices, various routes, water and air draft limitations, navigation and weather concerns, as well as historically significant and interesting towns to visit along the way. All of us boaters know food tastes great, and life is generally better aboard a boat so why not join the growing number of “Loopers”.

Novamar’s list of Great Loop insurance clients is increasing. Whether you are thinking of purchasing a boat specifically for the Loop or taking your current boat, it is good to be aware of what insurance company underwriters are looking for when pricing risk. We have listed some of the underwriter’s questions you will likely need to answer below.

  1. Provide a detailed boating resume including prior vessel operation in the same waters (if any) and extended navigation i.e. prior ocean crossings / trips at sea over 24 hours in duration, prior boating losses, prior experience going through locks, classes on safety, weather, and navigation taken. Private captain training and sign off letter (if any).
  2. Rough 12-month boating itinerary. The Great Loop covers a diverse network of waterways with navigational challenges, requiring transiting through locks, different jurisdictions, and for many people, often in unfamiliar waters. Talking with fellow Loopers about their experiences cruising through these waters, specific marina and fueling information can provide valuable insight.
  3. Details of caretaking plans if your boat is to be left unattended for more than a week at a time.
  4. Your are deemed a much better risk by insurers if you plan to have your boat north of either Florida or North Carolina, depending on the insurance company, from 1 June to 1 November. Coverage availability is very limited for yachts moored in the Gulf of Mexico and the Southeast during hurricane season and Named Windstorm coverage will be more expensive, or it may not be available.
  5. Preferred boat type; diesel inboard cruisers with a maximum 42’ LOA, 16’ maximum beam, direct drives, not pod drives, draft under 5’, air draft under 16’, boats under 20 years of age. Simple systems for easy maintenance, good access to machinery and pumps, with redundancy wherever possible.
  6. Current hauled survey If your boat is over 10 years old, with all surveyor’s recommendations complied with.

The most common insurance claims for boats on the Loop or in the Intracoastal waterway and canals in general is striking submerged objects. Channels can change seasonally due to weather, and not all of the waterways and channels are well maintained. Rock piles, pipes, and logs floating just below the surface wreak havoc on unprotected props and rudders. Boats left unattended at anchor or on moorings are also vulnerable to dragging anchor or breaking free due to chafe or other boats dragging into them. Since repair facilities can be few and far between, underwriters like to see a well prepared and well maintained boat with lots of spares along with experienced owners with the skills to perform basic maintenance and system checks as needed.

Boat preparation, not letting a rigid schedule interfere with a change in plans due to weather, and a general flexible attitude all contribute to a successful Great Loop experience where memories are created and lasting friendships are made.

If you have any questions regarding yacht insurance, please contact Keith Sargis, Novamar’s Mid-Atlantic regional manager by phone at (757) 900-9395 or email You can find more information about Novamar Insurance at and check out what our clients think of our team at

Written by Craig Chamberlain of Novamar