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Thread: Legalities

  1. #1
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    Default Legalities

    Hello there,
    I've been wondering what the legalities are of bringing people aboard your boat. Say you take a couple of friends for a quick cruise to Santa Barbara. You go well offshore, hit a whale, sink, and lose one of your friend. Are you responsible for their death? And family can come about and sue you?

    Are there ways to mitigate these risks? Would asking them to offset the cost of cruise make a difference (say you ask each to pay for $1,000 towards boat maintenance)?

    Shit can happen any time. No need to go offshore. Someone gets hit by the boom, has memory loss ... Is the skipper liable?

  2. #2
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    And family can come about and sue you?
    Anyone can file a lawsuit for anything. How to avoid it? Well many have tried to use a release of liability..... but those don't mean much from what I understand.
    Would asking them to offset the cost of cruise make a difference (say you ask each to pay for $1,000 towards boat maintenance)?
    This would pretty much mean you would get sued if there was an incident as taking money would make you a commercial operation. First, you'd need to get a US Coast Guard captains license to take ANY kind of pay in exchange for any length trip on your boat. You would also want to contact your insurance carrier and ask about taking paid people on a boat they insure. Many, many many people have had dreams of offsetting the cost of their boat by getting others to pay..... usually doesn't work out. A tech job pays a bit more.

  3. #3
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    That certainly solidifies the allure of single-handed sailing ...

    And here I thought I'd sign up three intrepid sailors for a crossing to Yokohama and back ...
    Last edited by jamottep; 11-28-2021 at 05:48 PM.

  4. #4
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    pogen is offline Sailing canoe "Kūʻaupaʻa"
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamottep View Post
    That certainly solidifies the allure of single-handed sailing ...

    And here I thought I'd sign up three intrepid sailors for a crossing to Yokohama and back ...
    Look into a blanket insurance policy that would cover liability for either anything that happens to you, or anything in connection with your boat. That is what I got when going to Hawaii. There was no way to get BoatUS type insurance to go off shore, and the nightmare scenario is that you make it all the way to Hawaii, and then put it on the reef, and now you have to pay for salvage and environmental remediation. I think I have/had a $2M policy, it is really not so expensive.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogen View Post
    Look into a blanket insurance policy that would cover liability for either anything that happens to you, or anything in connection with your boat. That is what I got when going to Hawaii. There was no way to get BoatUS type insurance to go off shore, and the nightmare scenario is that you make it all the way to Hawaii, and then put it on the reef, and now you have to pay for salvage and environmental remediation. I think I have/had a $2M policy, it is really not so expensive.
    Hey, which company did you use? I need to look into this for PacCup and back.

  6. #6
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    The other issue with this is that while you can go to lengths to select crew who understand the risks, you can spend days going over every details of the boat, every detail of the route and have extensive discussions with the crew. You can get liability waivers from crew. You can make sure that you only go out there with people whom you are dropdead certain ~Understand~ what they are getting into. The problem is that you can't do that with every member of their families. Just because you have covered every possible base with your crew doesn't mean that brother Bill in Oklahoma who has a buddy with a fishing boat and tells him that he just knows that the engine was no good, won't get pissed and sue you.

    Think of it from the lawyers perspective. "You broke your boom on your last trip. It's been "repaired"...but OBVIOUSLY that repair isn't good enough and you, as the captain KNEW it and yet you took my clients brother out on the ocean, anyway. This is a perfect example of wilful negligence." What will the judge say?

    This is why I no longer am the Athletic Director for any highland games. You can prepare and prepare and prepare, but one little mistake, one busted shackle and people can get hurt or killed. Then every nickel you own, your house, your retirement, plus every one you will earn for the next 20 years is on the line.

    I will not take newbies out sailing, if I don't know them very well. The most that anybody can contribute if they do go sailing on my boat, is lunch. I would teach sailing as a staff person for a company, but just take total newbs out for the day? Forget it, much less cross an ocean.
    Last edited by AlanH; 03-04-2022 at 10:32 AM.
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