Insuring Boat Docks & Dockominiums

Boat sales increased reaching almost 1,000,000 and according to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ latest annual registration statistics: Broward reported 33,999 only to be doubled by Miami-Dade at 66,422. 

Increased boat ownership means increased need for docks. Boat storage can be “Dry,” in either a drydock storage facility or trailer behind a home; or “Wet” like a private dock adjacent to waterfront property, leased dock space in a marina, and private ownership of off-site boat docks.

FTIC has issued title insurance for dock owners within “Dockominiums.”  During the 1980s, numerous marinas converted to condominium ownership thus coining the phrase “dockominium.”  Typically dockominium’s declarations are recorded in the public records defining a dock or slip as a “Unit,” an owner has fee simple (or leasehold) title in the Unit, and rights to use common elements such as showers, picnic shelters, and parking. 

“Title Insurance” is specifically for real estate protecting insured owners against loss or damage from defects in title. Examples of other insurable interests for docks include: private docks appurtenant to insured land; docks which are common elements appurtenant to insured condominium units; leasehold interests in a dock as part of a cooperative marina; and fee simple ownership of a freestanding dock.

“Land,” as defined in a title insurance policy, excludes insureds’ “right, title, interest, estate or easement in abutting … waterways.”  Additionally,  the “public” may have rights to use areas adjacent to a dock thus necessitating additional exclusions.

When buying a condo with docks, buyers are cautioned to read condo docs (excuse the pun) and find out whether: the docks are common elements belonging to all unit owners in factional shares; the dock is a limited common element designated to a specific unit; the dock may be assigned from one unit to another or is “stand alone” property; and whether a condo sale specifically includes a chosen dock.

DISCLAIMER: Not intended to constitute legal advice, accuracy, nor completeness, and may not be relied upon as such; consult an attorney. FTIC is a national award winning title insurance company known for its white glove customer service and “No Junk Fee Guarantee.” ®