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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-26-2015 03:47 PM
Re: Captains License Downside

If he was a friend and you didn't pay him or buy beer or lunch for him, you won't be held liable because it was not your boat and you weren't the captain. Your skills would be considered irrelevant.

On the other hand, as a licensed Captain, if you ever salvage a boat, you can legally lay in a claim for it.
05-26-2015 01:20 PM
Re: Captains License Downside

It's not worth worrying about.

I have a license, I have often sailed with friends and relatives on their boats. My policy is not to tell the skipper how to sail his own boat. Unless asked. Who enjoys the company of a backseat driver? From time to time their way of doing things is not mine. Their boat

Like any crew worth their salt, if I see something, I say something. Its generally appreciated. I sail with people I know. So I know how we get along.

In the licensed world an occasional situation has occurred where a Co Pilot or Junior Officer knew the Captain was wrong yet was unable to speak up. It's a well known situation which modern training is supposed to eliminate. Even so it still happens. When it does. The Co Pilot or Junior Officer is not held accountable. They are only expected to be able to do or say what would have been reasonable in the circumstance if they were overawed by the Captains power authority and personality.

So it all comes down to the actual situation and what would a reasonable person expect a reasonable person to do. License or no license
05-25-2015 12:47 PM
Re: Captains License Downside

Originally Posted by capecodda View Post
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.
That's the reason I aspire to earn my license in the future. Learning and becoming more competent on the water is really the goal for me: the license is just the recognition of the competence and accomplishment.
05-13-2015 05:35 PM
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.
05-13-2015 10:09 AM
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.
05-12-2015 08:11 PM
Re: Captains License Downside

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

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.
05-12-2015 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.
05-12-2015 01:43 PM
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.
05-12-2015 01:30 PM
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 ;-)
05-12-2015 06:21 AM
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.
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