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You may or may not be required to have a commercial captain on board for a photo shoot. My guess is you would not.

"One time use" is often looked at differently than operating an ongoing commercial venture. I would guess that different insurance companies would look on this differently. I would doubt you'd get the same answer three times in three calls to the Coast Guard.

- If you're considering this I would first confirm that the photographer is real. If he is he should be able to point you to an online portfolio of his work.

- Confirm how many people will be present for the shoot. Non-sailors have an unrealistic view of how big a sailboat really is. At minimum you're going to have photo equipment, lights & reflectors, and assistant/makeup artist plus you and the models.

- Have a non-confrontational conversation with the photographer that you will be glad to do anything he requests as long as it does not compromise safety.

- Confirm what kind of shoot it is. What kind of product? How will the models be portrayed? Are all of the models over 18 (21 in some states)?

- A photographer doing this kind of work will likely have an unbrella policy covering general liability. You'll want a copy of the declaration page, and you'll want to call the company to confirm the policy is in force and would be the primary policy in the event of injury to anyone on your boat. If you run onto the rocks because you're checking out the girls that claim will be on your policy.

- I'd call my insurance company, fax or email them a copy of the photographer's policy and ask them to fax or email you confirmation as to the limits of your liability. God forbid something happens you know where you stand - in writing.

- Ask the photographer if he will include some background shots of your boat as part of any compensation. Usually this won't be a problem and it's a nice thing to have.

- A photo shoot will NOT be what you expect and is nothing like what you see in the movies. You can expect a long, boring day once the novelty wears off.

Jim
 
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