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Old 11-07-2005
WHOOSH WHOOSH is offline
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Damaged Boat

Brian, from a neutral corner I think you have reason to be disappointed in your marina...but also in yourself, if your post is the extent of what you''ve done so far.

First, does your boat have hull insurance? I assume not but you don''t say. If yes, you start with them.

Second, have you photodocumented the damage to both boats and the location of the mooring? If not, do so. Have you written up a statement of the damage done to your boat, the location you found the mooring and other details such as not being contacted by the marina, the marina altering the condition of your boat without being authorized, etc. Do you have a written statement from the other owner (preferably notarized). Do you have weather data (preferably from NOAA or another well-established source) detailing the conditions for your area? All of these steps take time but are the basis for you seeking redress; it''s pretty obvious from the marina''s performance to date that you can''t just expect to have this addressed with a chat.

Third, you seem fixated on your stanchions yet mention hull and toerail fiberglass damage; my advice is to think ''resale''. If your stanchions show evidence of being bent (and they no doubt do...) and/or your hull damage must be professionally repaired, you have losses as well as incovenience visited on you by the events which unfolded.

Fourth, what does your lease state re: rights waived and assumed liability of the marina (who I assume, tho'' you don''t say it outright, is the owner/operator of the mooring field)? The language in the lease does not necessarily define your rights but it''s important to understand to what you agreed re: performance of the mooring and how they defined the limits of their liability.

My guess is that you have two options open to you, neither being quick and both taking some time & effort on your part...so right now, decide if this is something you wish to make a personal priority. First, you should ask to be referred to the marina''s insurance carrier''s claim office so you can file a claim under their policy for damage caused by their mooring field failing to perform as represented by the marina. Whether the marina folks wish to go this route - as opposed to resolving it directly with you - or not, you can probably learn who their carrier is via city offices BUT...if the marina wants to discuss a resolution, I''d give that a shot first. If not, I''d approach the carrier and ask to file a claim.

Depending on how this progresses (it may not if everyone turns a deaf ear; insurance companies do stonewall what they view as nuisance claims), you may want to consider an ''after the fact'' claim in Small Claims Court. There will be a filing fee (small) and a ceiling on the damages to be claimed. Usually, this is a very straightforward process where legalese is less important than having your evidence clear and your rationale for redress sensible. Expect your documentation and the lease to be central to the judge''s finding.

Finally, there are strength in numbers. I''d determine whether the other boat owner could/would be a useful ally and, if so, work this through as a team. The marina will see this differently than just you, standing at their counter with a worried look on your face.

Good luck and keep us posted...

Jack
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