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post #581 of Old 08-08-2013
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Re: Mutiny at Dawn - Transpac Race 2013

Originally Posted by SalNichols94804 View Post
In the example I cited in my previous post...a very good friend of mine and his insurance company paid out $6M. I can't speak for your example or your D.A. I can tell you what happened in this instance.
This sounds like an awful experience.

I do have a few questions/observations.

First, I wonder what the basis for liability was, and how the insurance played into it. It would not surprise me if the $6M was the limits of the owner's policy. Was there a finding of negligence? Or was the crew member covered as an additional insured? Incidentally, these types of settlements are typically covered by confidentiality restrictions, so please don't respond if doing so would open up that can of worms ...

Second, I think this is a red herring, when it comes to the question of the captain's authority. Liability for injuries suffered by a crew member is certainly a concern for any captain, but that is a very different thing than the question being debated here, which is what authority does the captain have to make decisions and run the boat.

As to the latter point, my personal view is that because the buck stops with the captain (i.e., the liability issue) that the captain has (and should be afforded by the crew) a great deal of latitude in the exercise of his/her authority. On the other hand, that authority can be wielded in different ways, from acting like a dictator to soliciting opinions of everyone involved. Personally I prefer the latter approach -- I want to earn the respect of my crew (and learn from their experience and opinions), not demand it. This was the way I was raised and I think it works much better than acting the tartar.

I also don't think the Captain's authority is absolute. At some point if the Captain is making decisions that are grossly incompetent or erratic, to the point where the boat/crew are in serious danger, the Captain's authority is and should be diminished.
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