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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 06-15-2009
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Horrible situation...

So, I'm sitting here feeling like crap because I asked some friends to go sailing. When they called to accept they somewhat blindsided me by asking if they could bring along a minor child (teen) that they look after on occasion. The child has lost their father and the mother is not fit, so the child is being raised by the grandmother. The father was a friend of the fellow I invited, and he and his wife are trying to help expand the childs horizons and give them a chance to be more than they might be otherwise. I realize the good they are doing for this child and applaud their involvement.

Still after thinking the situation fully through, I felt it would not be a good idea to have this child as a guest on my boat and reversed my position. I don't know the childs family at all and have only once met the child. Our boat is about 4 hours driving from the childs home. Since no parent or legal guardian would be along, I would bear legal responsiblity for the child as soon as they stepped aboard. If the child was to get seriously hurt, there would be no one there that could approve medical treatment and there are any number of ways a child could get hurt on a sailboat. I just wasn't comfortable with that when I had time to think through the whole situation.

The worst part is, my friend had already told the child and they were very excited, so now the child will have another disappointment, which makes me feel terrible.

I know there are some that think I'm a toad for reversing myself and disappointing this child, but I hope there are some that understand my reasoning. Sorry, for the buzz kill, but I needed to vent a bit.
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  #2  
Old 06-15-2009
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Wow, Mid. Tough call. But it seems to me that you did the right thing. Maybe you could get one of the family members to sign a release and set up a new date?
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Old 06-15-2009
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For crying out loud... Looks like your friend has assumed temporary custody of the child.... Just take take him/her/it sailing. If you're lucky, nobody will call the cops and have you arrested.
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Old 06-15-2009
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I'm not sure what the issue is here, except that your friends trespassed on your hospitality, either out of ignorance of your legal obligations as skipper, or because they wanted to take advantage of your offer to kill some quality time...

Ask these friends of yours to produce some sort of document that they are guardians of the teen and that they are prepared to absolve you if this teen drowns.

I have no idea if this is only a big deal in litigation-happy America, but what happens to your friends if they are pulled over by the cops with this unrelated kid in the back? Aren't they in the same legal limbo as you?

Also, you don't say whether this is a daysail, a week-long trip, are your friends sailors, can the kid swim, are you sailing inland, coastal or passage. etc.

Many of those factors would influence my "coolness" with their proposal, which I still find a little rude, just as I would find 9 out of 10 teenaged strangers, even from untroubled backgrounds.

To my mind, the truly horrible situation would be to be offshore when some little psycho decides to hit the crack pipe or practise his pyromania skills. Because then you'd have to explain how he "fell" off your boat.
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Old 06-15-2009
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I can empathize on a very difficult decision. You made the right choice. Not to say the alternative was a bad choice, but in a situation like this you have to go with your instinct.

I suspect I would have made the same choice you did. We have taken "kids" out on our boat from similar social situations, but always had a parent's permission and I have to say I was a little nervous at such times. It is unfortunate that the child and your friends had to be disappointed, but as skipper you will always be faced with making decisions that are not popular. God call.
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Old 06-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
The child has lost their father and the mother is not fit, so the child is being raised by the grandmother. The father was a friend of the fellow I invited, and he and his wife are trying to help expand the childs horizons and give them a chance to be more than they might be otherwise. I realize the good they are doing for this child and applaud their involvement.
So do I.

But I wouldn't let the kid on my boat either.

Legal parents or guardians only must be present.

Last edited by WouldaShoulda; 06-15-2009 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 06-15-2009
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You are a coward. I am sure that the kid would have had fun, and you squashed the opportunity because you are afraid of some ghost of litigation.

Grow a pair!
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Old 06-15-2009
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mid...
I think you did the right thing!!!
She's your boat to invite (or not) whomever you please!!!
Paul
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Old 06-15-2009
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you did the right thing, regrettably.

tager, why don't you send him your address if you're so eager to take on this risk (assuming there's room for your "pair" and the kid in your boat)?
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Old 06-15-2009
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i used to go camping alot, i brought friends kids ( teenagers ) i used to get a letter from the parent i had had the kids legally. as well as i could make any legal or medical decisions until the parents were contacted.

would this make you feel better?

i also understand you view of them taking advantage of your hospitality.
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