Dredgemen, especially those operating in the Northeast, have a rough time of it. Dredging must be conducted during the winter season, often in bitter cold, wind and blinding precipitation. On some jobs, crews are away from their families. Work must be completed by a specified date. This adds to the stress on the crews an equipment.

Dredges offer a unique challenge to marine underwriters. Vessels, equipment and their operators are exposed to severe weather conditions, making safety a paramount consideration.

Dredge BucketIn some areas, dredge spoils contain noxious substances, which can give rise to environmental claims. In the Northeast, almost all dredging is conducted under some kind of governmental permit, which carries with it a fair amount of oversight. This combination exposes a dredging company to a host of potential lawsuits.

The combination of time-frame urgency, often poor weather conditions and governmental oversight causes insurance company underwriters view dredging companies with some caution. Insurance for dredging operations is not terribly complex, but it is generally regarded as a tough class of business to underwrite. Information must be presented in a complete and thorough manner, knowing that not all underwriters will say ”yes” . Admiralty terms such as “uberrimae fidei” (utmost good faith) and equipment seaworthiness is of crucial importance.

Insurance for dredging operations demands specialization and a knowledge of the business of dredging by the agent.