To Scuttle Or Not To Scuttle? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 44 Old 06-20-2010
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Originally Posted by southwindphoto View Post
good question. . If you have to scuttle a boat would an insurance company pay the claim?.. anyone have an experance with this?
Why on earth would you tell them you were rescued from a boat that was not sinking? Your little secret.

I thought Keelhauling's answer made sense. Just a crack--it will sink in a day.

I would base my choice on whether salvage, on a nice day, seemed reasonable. Is the boat trashed? Where am I?
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post #12 of 44 Old 06-20-2010
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Whether the boat sinks or not is irrelevant; you abandoned it. If you had to abandon the circumstances were that you could not make it to shore and would not be going back to retrieve the vessel.

Two sailors in an Olson 40 were washed overboard outside of SF a couple of years ago. Amazingly they were recovered by a catamaran that was nearby; but they could not safely get back aboard the Olson. If I recall the Insurance was trying to get out of paying off because the boat did not sink; and it did not come ashore. I think they finally did settle but it was dicey for a while.

The Olson 40 was later seen adrift somewhere off the coast of Japan; about 9 months after. Sails were in shreds but the hull and rig appeared OK.
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post #13 of 44 Old 06-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
...
Two sailors in an Olson 40 were washed overboard outside of SF a couple of years ago. Amazingly they were recovered by a catamaran that was nearby; but they could not safely get back aboard the Olson. If I recall the Insurance was trying to get out of paying off because the boat did not sink; and it did not come ashore. I think they finally did settle but it was dicey for a while.

The Olson 40 was later seen adrift somewhere off the coast of Japan; about 9 months after. Sails were in shreds but the hull and rig appeared OK.
I'd point out that this is the case with many, if not a majority of the boats that are abandoned and not actively in the process of sinking or scuttled. One 35' catmaran that was abandoned by its designer and his SO was found six months later floating and supporting a large colony of seabirds several thousand miles from where it was abandoned.

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post #14 of 44 Old 06-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
I'd point out that this is the case with many, if not a majority of the boats that are abandoned and not actively in the process of sinking or scuttled. One 35' catmaran that was abandoned by its designer and his SO was found six months later floating and supporting a large colony of seabirds several thousand miles from where it was abandoned.
Excellent observation, SD. Also, kudos to the OP for raising this and to everyone who has contributed to this.

While I hope that I am never faced with this decision, one of the lessons that seemed to emerge from incidents like the 1979 Fastnet Race and the Sydney-Hobart race is that one should stay with the boat as long as it is afloat. If no assistance was readily available, I think that would be my choice.

However, if the sea worthiness of my boat and/or weather conditions are so bleak that assistance has been requested, doesn't that decision take things to a new level?

I wish I knew more about Maritime law, but I guess that is why lawyers love this stuff.

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post #15 of 44 Old 06-20-2010
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I think this is one area where one would want to scour the fine print on their policy up front, and seek clarification in writing if it isn't there.
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post #16 of 44 Old 06-20-2010
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Personally, I would NEVER scuttle a seaworthy vessel!
Hazard to shipping? What about all the floating containers and other shipping debris scattered across the oceans? Scuttling the vessel seems like an over-the-top reaction to me.
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I'd point out that most policies will have a section on salvage, and if you do not scuttle the boat, that section would likely apply.

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post #18 of 44 Old 06-21-2010
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Salvage rights are not as onerous as many people think. Salvage companies are quite willing to do 'business' with their clients. Poor outcomes result in poor future business so most salvage operators will sell back the abandoned vessel for considerably less than the insurance right-off cost.

Scuttling the boat should be the absolute last recourse.
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post #19 of 44 Old 06-21-2010
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I think another consideration is where the boat is located! Scuttling in shallow water/in a channel/in a frequently used bay or cove is generally considered impolite.....
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post #20 of 44 Old 06-21-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemier View Post
Personally, I would NEVER scuttle a seaworthy vessel!
Yes but then it is necessary perhaps to qualify "seaworthy" as well as the likelihood of the vessel surviving on it's own. Sorry to go back there but consider the Open 40 that was abandoned in the Southern Ocean not too long ago.

Rolled, dismasted, 2500 miles from land but still floating. Is this seaworthy? Not likely. Some will say (and have said on this forum) that if you leave the harbour without an EPIRB your boat is not seaworthy. So how do you classify the term?

I reckon that if you scuttled a floating vessel 5 miles from your marina, your insurers would be asking some tough questions. But when the vessel is far from help without any prospect of being recovered, the insurers will not expect any sailor to place life at risk trying to protect their interests.

In such an event, scuttling is the correct thing to do.

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Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
Scuttle; but make sure if for some reason the rescue attempt fails you can re-board and pump it out. (Put the boarding ladder on the side for this reason also)
I can jut imagine . . .a radio message comes through . . . "We're on our way to fetch you". "Oh well right then, I'll just cut these pipes and wait in the life raft" It would surely be seriously dumb to scuttle any floating vessel until your rescuer is standing alongside.


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