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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Captains License Downside
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Topic Review (Newest First)
1 Week Ago 05:35 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Captains License Downside

The clear answer is, it depends.

It depends very highly on what the guy really driving the boat testifies that you said, did or implied and whether he says he was taking your lead. He/she doesn't necessarily have to be telling the truth, if trying to save their own bacon.

The aircraft analogy is pretty good. The pilot-in-command, who holds responsibility for everything, does not have to be the pilot with their hands on the controls. However, it's hard to argue its the guy in seat 15C, just because he holds a certificate. On a boat, there are no positions or seats that make that very clear.
1 Week Ago 10:09 AM
capta
Re: Captains License Downside

I don't believe that holding a license in any way makes one responsible for the actions of another captain, licensed or unlicensed.
Admiralty law differs widely from civil law, and I believe it does not allow for professionally licensed personnel to usurp the power or decision making of an unlicensed person in a command position, on a private vessel.
However, don't waste your money on a lawyer; this one is the bailiwick of an Admiralty Attorney.
1 Week Ago 08:11 PM
JimMcGee
Re: Captains License Downside

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
I have been sued for a boat collision that was not my fault. I had my Captain's license at the time.

The rules of the road are the rules of the road. It does not matter if you are licensed or not, you must operate your boat accordingly.

Think about a unlicensed auto driver saying go easy on me because I am unlicensed, and because of that I failed to stop at the stop sign before I ran over those school kids.

Being licensed, however I found to be a benefit. In court I could prove that I had a working knowledge of the rules of the road and had been tested to make sure I knew them forward and backwards. I understood them better the lawyers that were trying the case. Many times I corrected a statement made or was asked to explain how a rule applies in a particular situation. I think it made points with the judge and jurors.

Link to the story

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/genera...an-happen.html
Wow.

Bubb I missed this way back when. I hope your wife has finally found some relief, and I hope the SOB in the SeaRay is no longer on the water. What a bastard.
1 Week Ago 03:27 PM
capt jgwinks
Re: Captains License Downside

You'd be no more responsible than a passenger in a bus would be if the bus driver hit somebody. Now if you volunteered that you knew the driver was drunk and speeding and you saw the other car coming and didn't do anything, you might have a problem. Probably not, but you might. As was previously mentioned, you have to be "acting under authority of your license" for that license to come into play. Passengers, or even crew, have no authority. And operating a vessel for which no license is required (your personal boat) is not "operating under authority". If you were teaching the owner how to sail, and the owner supplied the beer, that might be a problem. Just like a pilot instructor remains"pilot in command" even though he might never touch the controls.

As one of the guys who makes money when people go for their license I might be a bit biased, but I don't think this whole subject is anything to worry about. If you're working your license by all means make sure you or the owners are properly insured, but don't worry about it on your "civilian" time.
1 Week Ago 01:43 PM
sailak
Re: Captains License Downside

This has come up in aviation as well where a more qualified pilot is riding as a passenger (but possibly with access to the flight controls) and the acting pilot in command makes an error of some kind. In at least some of those cases the more qualified captain was not found liable since he was not acting as PIC or in the capacity of his ratings.

I personally would not let concern about litigation prevent me from advancing my knowledge, certifications, etc.
1 Week Ago 01:30 PM
nolatom
Re: Captains License Downside

Civil courts will entertain a suit against anyone, if there is enough of a theoretical case to survive a "motion for summary judgement" (rough translation--a reasonable person/juror could possibly find negligence, rule violation, and duty to act, etc).

Having a license, as mentioned above, could make your attempt to "not know any better" or "nothing to do with me, I was just the rail-sitter") sound less than genuine. I see this same issue in scuba, those with Instructor, or Rescue qual cards will keep quiet about it, and instructors who happen to be pleasure-diving may be asked why they didn't "do something" for some other diver who was not their buddy. I must say, this is almost as much a social question as it is a legal one, "when am I my brother's keeper?", or indeed, "who is my brother, anyway"?? But recreational boats (unlike, say, pleasure scuba) do have a "command structure", either stated or unstated, typically with the owner, if aboard, being the unlicensed "captain". So a "mere passenger" should not have to wonder if he/she will be made a "captain" by a judge or jury after the fact (note I said "should", some things can't be predicted).

On the Coast Guard side of things, I believe that any negligence or misconduct must be while "acting under the authority of your license" in order for them to have jurisdiction to proceed against that license for suspension or revocation. And years ago, I was one of those CG guys who could bring suspension proceedings against some license holder. Now I'm a license holder. So I've seen both sides, in a way.


Actually, I think Capecodda and Boasun just said the same thing, only better and shorter ;-)
1 Week Ago 06:21 AM
capecodda
Re: Captains License Downside

You can be sued for any reason by anyone at any time.

If you live your life focused on this, you'll never do anything.

If you want a license, get one. I found the process to be very enlightening, even after a few decades of boating, I learned a lot, and am still learning.
1 Week Ago 03:06 AM
sweepint
Re: Captains License Downside

I find it very unlikely that a court will find a passenger guilty for what the driver of the boat did. Regardless of what or if he has a license. That is like saying I have a CDL and sitting in the right seat of the pick-up.... we get in a wreck and its my fault the driver hits someone else.
There is always a lot of what if.... Your in your friends boat and he's at the helm running out of the harbor way to fast and caused some damage do to wake. Who's fault was it? The driver or yours? my opinion would be the driver but you (the license captain) should of stopped it because you knew better is probably what they will say. legal and civil are two different animals as I am sure we are all aware.
07-15-2009 02:25 PM
bubb2 I have been sued for a boat collision that was not my fault. I had my Captain's license at the time.

The rules of the road are the rules of the road. It does not matter if you are licensed or not, you must operate your boat accordingly.

Think about a unlicensed auto driver saying go easy on me because I am unlicensed, and because of that I failed to stop at the stop sign before I ran over those school kids.

Being licensed, however I found to be a benefit. In court I could prove that I had a working knowledge of the rules of the road and had been tested to make sure I knew them forward and backwards. I understood them better the lawyers that were trying the case. Many times I corrected a statement made or was asked to explain how a rule applies in a particular situation. I think it made points with the judge and jurors.

Link to the story

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/genera...an-happen.html
07-15-2009 11:59 AM
AE28
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityCheck View Post
Basically depends on which is the best attorney.
The final word in all things legal!!!

Paul
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