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Old 08-05-2013
Controletti Controletti is offline
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What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

Hi all,

I am not sure if this topic is in the right category, I apologize if not.

I have a question docking etiquette:

My 24 ft sailboat is moored full-time in a marina. Right next to me is a pretty wide motor boat, he just joined a few weeks ago for the summer. In my opinion, this boat should not be in there, as the space is too tight for the both of us, our boats/fenders basically touch one another most of the time. But it seems like most marinas don't really care and don't have a minimum space policy.

As was to be expected sooner or later, earlier this week the guy came in too fast and too close to my boat, hit my side, superficially damaged the fibreglass and tore of my life ring and broke its holder.

As I came back to the boat, all I found was the life ring with the broken holder lying in my cockpit.
He didn't leave a note nor did he mention anything to my neighbor or the marina office or tried to reach me, which I think would have been the right thing to do when you damage someone's stuff in the owner's absence (that's what you are supposed to do when you hit someone's parked car, right?).

One of my neighbors saw the incident, though (apart from the fact that it couldn't be more obvious that it was him, since the life ring was attached to the rail on his side, as is common, and it is very unlikely for any other boat in the marina to reach that spot) and said I could use him as a witness any time.

The marina office gave me the motor boat owner's e-mail address (they refused to give me his phone number, they don't give out that information), so I wrote him an e-mail asking him to take responsibility and at least replace that ring holder. No reponse in a week.
I attached the same message to his boat. No response, but the note was gone the next day. Also, I noticed he was out yesterday, so he is not on vacation or anything (which would have been an explanation why he didn't respond).

My question is: what can you do if someone damages your boat while you are not present, and doesn't react?
I know the damage is relatively small, and any lawyer would laugh about it and say it's not worth any effort, but it'll cost me $100 plus the time, and I still think he should take responsibility.

It is not the first time someone hit my boat in there. My outboard has been hit several times.
Does anyone know if there are any laws on minimum space between boats and hit-and-run in marinas?

Thanks in advance!
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