Originally Posted by SVAuspicious
I would buy the owner a drink at the first opportunity, apologize for the loss, and ask him what kind of handle he wanted. If he has any class at all he will accept the drink and decline the handle. If he accepts the offer of the handle you buy it for him.
I've paid for much more expensive losses on my boat than a winch handle.
If I were the captain/owner, my crew breaks or drops something, I would never ask him to pay for it. It is an accident, sh*t happens. An apology is good enough for me.