good neighbor or liable fool? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 47 Old 12-09-2010 Thread Starter
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good neighbor or liable fool?

Im always on the dock, and quite a few of my dockmates are rarely around. On a few occasions Ive noticed that something has come loose/is flapping around etc. I have called the owner and let them know the situation and that i am happy to button it up, but am not touching anything w/o permission. My dockmate tells me, "if you ever see anything amiss just take care of it."

I was wondering if im being a good neighbor, or if i fiddle with something and something (or something else) goes wrong would i be liable? it is doubtful that someone would make a stink--but when money gets involved you never know. i highly doubt there would ever be a catastrophic failure of some sort, but while i want to be helpful i dont wanna put myself in some kind of jeopardy.... any thoughts?

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post #2 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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Sometimes it depends on how annoyed you are. If I don't secure my lines and halyards enough to keep them from slapping the mast you can be sure someone else will surely board my boat and do it for me in the middle of the night.
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post #3 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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Good Samaritan Laws are designed to protect you in this sort of situation, but they vary in the US by jusrisdiction. You would need to know what the statues are in your particular state or county.

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post #4 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptKermie View Post
Sometimes it depends on how annoyed you are. If I don't secure my lines and halyards enough to keep them from slapping the mast you can be sure someone else will surely board my boat and do it for me in the middle of the night.
I've done that myself. And I've been tempted to place a salvage claim on the vessel. If I had not acted, the vessel was in imminent peril from her neighbors who were trying to get some sleep.
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post #5 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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I will adjust dock lines or relocate fenders and sometimes add dock lines, but don't go on other peoples boats without permission.

I leave an extra old dock line in my cockpit for emergency use.

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post #6 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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Being the dockmaster at my marina has actually made it harder for me to board other peoples boats. In our lease we state that we can board a boat in our marina if it is damaging our property (the docks) or if it will cause environmental damage. I have to ask and gain permission to board a boat otherwise. This is so the marina is not held liable for any damage.

The fun part of this is I get chewed out all of the time for not refurling a headsail that let loose or not adjusting dock lines at extremely low tides. I then get to explain that I am only responsible for the docks, not the boats. This goes over very well when a sail has to be repaired or replaced.

I love when lawyers get involved. Everything goes so much more smoothly.
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post #7 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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I've seen clauses in marina contracts that allow them to do whatever necessary to secure a boat to prevent it from causing damage to itself or others. I've also seen them have the right to secure slapping halyards, even fine you for that one.

Perhaps giving the dockmaster a call would meet everyone's needs. While the same agreements never require them to do so, I find they are more than willing if it is brought to their attention.

edit: posted over Nick's reply without seeing it. I absolutely agree that there are captains who feel it is the marina's responsibility, which is different. I can tell you are willing to help if asked.
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post #8 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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don't ever do anything without calling the owner first, unless you're good friends. No good deed ever goes unpunished, and I speak from some experience
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post #9 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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Helping

Hey,

In my marina, it seems common for people to help each other out. For example, the first year I moored my boat I needed to learn about things like securing sail covers and things like that. One day I rowed out to my boat and saw that the sailcover had a line tied all around it. Hmm, I didn't leave it like that, what happened? Then a neighbor popped up out of his boat and told that another neighbor was on his boat and noticed that during a blow my sailcover was blowing off and the mailsail was starting to come undone as well. He got in his dingy, went to my boat, and properly secured things. I learned a lot that year. I also helped him out when I saw that his old wood boat was sitting real low in the water. By now I was smart enough to have cell phone numbers for my mooring neighbors, so I called him and let him know. He went right down with a fresh battery and got the bilge pump running.

Since then I have boarded boats to secure headsails that were coming loose, added docklines to boats that were getting away, etc.

If someone wants to sue me for trying to help, go right ahead.

Barry

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post #10 of 47 Old 12-09-2010
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Being one of the very few people to winter on our island I'm always checking lines and adjusting or replacing failed fenders, I'm not worried about that stuff. I call the owner if it's something major that "might" cause damage, like installing a heater to prevent freeze damage or if I need to go inside the boat for some reason. I will take action without contacting the owner if there is imminent danger of damage to any of the boats and then call and explain what needed to be done. In those cases I hope that the law would protect me if I was sued.

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