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Old 08-05-2013
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What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

Hi all,

I am not sure if this topic is in the right category, I apologize if not.

I have a question docking etiquette:

My 24 ft sailboat is moored full-time in a marina. Right next to me is a pretty wide motor boat, he just joined a few weeks ago for the summer. In my opinion, this boat should not be in there, as the space is too tight for the both of us, our boats/fenders basically touch one another most of the time. But it seems like most marinas don't really care and don't have a minimum space policy.

As was to be expected sooner or later, earlier this week the guy came in too fast and too close to my boat, hit my side, superficially damaged the fibreglass and tore of my life ring and broke its holder.

As I came back to the boat, all I found was the life ring with the broken holder lying in my cockpit.
He didn't leave a note nor did he mention anything to my neighbor or the marina office or tried to reach me, which I think would have been the right thing to do when you damage someone's stuff in the owner's absence (that's what you are supposed to do when you hit someone's parked car, right?).

One of my neighbors saw the incident, though (apart from the fact that it couldn't be more obvious that it was him, since the life ring was attached to the rail on his side, as is common, and it is very unlikely for any other boat in the marina to reach that spot) and said I could use him as a witness any time.

The marina office gave me the motor boat owner's e-mail address (they refused to give me his phone number, they don't give out that information), so I wrote him an e-mail asking him to take responsibility and at least replace that ring holder. No reponse in a week.
I attached the same message to his boat. No response, but the note was gone the next day. Also, I noticed he was out yesterday, so he is not on vacation or anything (which would have been an explanation why he didn't respond).

My question is: what can you do if someone damages your boat while you are not present, and doesn't react?
I know the damage is relatively small, and any lawyer would laugh about it and say it's not worth any effort, but it'll cost me $100 plus the time, and I still think he should take responsibility.

It is not the first time someone hit my boat in there. My outboard has been hit several times.
Does anyone know if there are any laws on minimum space between boats and hit-and-run in marinas?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-05-2013
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Re: What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

Same thing happened to my neighbor's boat. My wife witnessed the whole episode. I had just assumed the offending boater would contact my neighbor. When I asked him about it a week later my neighbor said he had no idea his boat had been hit. Not sure what is being done but my neighbor had to haul his boat to have both lower units on his motors replaced. He is not happy. He relies on his boat to get to construction job sites on the islands.

Just another case of someone not taking responsibility for their actions.

Sorry I have no good advice for you. This can be a very tricky situation. Especially since you are neighbors. The marina should have a copy of his insurance policy. I would probably try to find that out and call to get them involved if the owner continues to be uncooperative.
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Old 08-05-2013
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Re: What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

Get a statement notarized from your witness, take pictures of the damage and present it to the marina manager along with a cost of the damages and insist he gets put on file and take the boat owner to small claims court. For no other other reason than to teach this guy a lesson about civility and ties him up with BS for a day.

The marina manager should be just as upset that one of his patrons is so callus in regards to damage to another persons boat that he wouldn't get involved and at least ask the offender "what happened"...

Good luck
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Old 08-05-2013
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Re: What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

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Originally Posted by azguy View Post
Get a statement notarized from your witness, take pictures of the damage and present it to the marina manager along with a cost of the damages...
Then contact your insurance company. Are you sure that's the only damage? I'm not suggesting that you "make up" damages (that could be insurance fraud), but it's entirely possible that there are other problems that you haven't seen. Let your insurance company come out and do an inspection, and let them be the bad guys.
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Re: What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

Thanks for all your replies!!!
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Old 08-05-2013
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Re: What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

Time to find a new marina or have the marina where you are move the other boat and bring someone in with a more narrow beam.

There's no excuse for placing both these boats at risk of damage by trying to squeeze you into a footprint that is too small. That's just knucklehead dumb.
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Re: What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

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Originally Posted by fryewe View Post
Time to find a new marina or have the marina where you are move the other boat and bring someone in with a more narrow beam.

There's no excuse for placing both these boats at risk of damage by trying to squeeze you into a footprint that is too small. That's just knucklehead dumb.
Couldn't agree more. I mentioned that to the manager, but of course, he doesn't want to know anything about that. Surprise, surprise.
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Re: What to do if someone hits your moored boat?

most county sheriffs have a marine division to handle conflicts . Go to the sheriffs office & fill out a police report with a statement from the person who observed it . If he refuses to respond it is akin to a hit & run in a car (a little different for boats). The sheriff can help guide you what to do next.

Also that contract you signed with the marina that says they aren't responsible , doesn't hold up when they act irresponsibly (like putting too wide of boats in too narrow an area).
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