Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Increasing cost and shrinking availability of marine insurance have resulted in serious problems for broad sectors of the nation's commercial fishing fleet. Sharp reductions in the availability of Protection and Indemnity coverage have idled vessels nationwide regardless of individual safety records. The causes of the current problem are varied and numerous, with significant roles played by the fishing industry, the regulatory framework, the insurance industry, and the legal remedies involved. Ultimately, the solution will require both a reduction in the frequency of fishermen's injuries and modifications to the present compensation system, reducing insurance costs while security equitable compensation for the injured party. This study utilizes the most current information available on actual injuries and compensation paid to victims to analyze the insurance problem from a safety point of view and to model the impacts of possible solutions. The cause, frequency, severity, and costs of over 400 injuries were analyzed to determine where initial safety measures might produce the greatest benefits in terms of reducing injuries and insurance costs. The extent to which improvements in operational safety, design safety, protective clothing, maintenance, licensing and inspection, health screening, and the like might reduce the frequency and severity of various injuries is evaluated and recommendations are made with respect to the most promising approaches to the problem. The potential impacts of proposed government safety regulations are modeled in a cost-benefit analysis and compared to the potential savings provided by safety measures proposed in this paper.