from the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Florida D.C. Docket No. 8:16-cv-02329-JDW-MAP
WILLIAM PRYOR, MARTIN, and KATSAS, [*] Circuit Judges.
WILLIAM PRYOR, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
appeal requires us to decide whether damage to a yacht was
covered under a marine insurance policy. Geico Marine
Insurance Company insured James Shackleford's 65-foot
sailboat, Sea the World. After a storm damaged the
vessel in Florida, Geico Marine denied Shackleford's
claim under the policy. Geico Marine then filed a
declaratory-judgment action against Shackleford. As one
ground for relief, Geico Marine sought a declaration that a
navigational limit in the policy that required the vessel to
be north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, during hurricane
season barred coverage. After a bench trial, the district
court ruled against Geico Marine and declared that the policy
covered the loss. Because we agree with Geico Marine that the
navigational limit bars coverage, we reverse and remand.
purchased the Sea the World in 2009. He paid about
$120, 000 for the vessel, and at one point he planned to sail
her around the world. But those plans never came to pass.
2011, lightning struck the vessel. Shackleford took the
vessel to Sailor's Wharf, a yacht yard in St. Petersburg,
Florida, for repairs. But Sailor's Wharf only made
matters worse. It improperly hauled the vessel from the water
and improperly "blocked" the vessel while storing
it on shore, which caused structural damage to the ship's
filed an insurance claim with Continental Insurance Company,
which insured the Sea the World then. In 2014,
Continental declared the vessel a constructive total loss,
settled Shackleford's claim, and canceled the policy.
Continental also waived its subrogation rights and assigned
its interest in any claim against Sailor's Wharf to
2015, Shackleford sued Sailor's Wharf for breach of its
repair contract. Shackleford v. Sailor's Wharf,
Inc., No. 8:15-cv-00407-VMC-TBM (M.D. Fla. filed Feb.
26, 2015). As part of discovery in that litigation,
Shackleford arranged to have the vessel hauled ashore for
inspection by expert witnesses at Taylor Boatworks, a
boatyard in Cortez on Florida's west coast. But before
Taylor Boatworks would haul the vessel from the water, it
required Shackleford to obtain liability insurance on the
March 2016, Shackleford obtained a liability-only policy from
Geico Marine, which insured several of his other watercraft.
The policy did not insure the hull of the vessel against
damage but did permit navigation. The General Conditions
section provided the following terms of coverage:
A. While the boat is afloat within the navigational area
shown on the Declarations Page; and
B. While the boat or its equipment is ashore or being
transported by land conveyance in the United States or
accompanying declarations page, in turn, included the
following navigational limit:
CRUISING LIMITS: While afloat, the insured Yacht
shall be confined to the waters ...