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post #1 of 25 Old 10-06-2017 Thread Starter
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Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

My boat was stored on the hard and tied down at a boatyard in the Caribbean but was hit by a double-whammy called Inga and Maria. Since the beginning of September she has been lying on her side, holed and partially dismasted, amongst other boats that are generally in worse condition. The yard has a lot of work to do removing sunken and flipped boats from the dock area and starting to work on the yard. I've only gotten 3 responses from them to date (first was a terse "contact your insurance company", second was a request for a recent copy of my insurance and third was a bill for "boat storage September and October".

I have no problem paying for services rendered, but I believe that paying full price while the yard just leaves my boat collecting additional damages is not a fair business deal. I don't have a copy of the yard contract here so cannot check the wording.

Has anyone encountered a similar scenario and what was the outcome? I've been debating sending a registered letter telling them that I want to haul the boat out in 2 weeks (I do plan on getting the holes made by the stands patched and motoring the short distance to a yard which will replace the mast/rig) and will then have a legal basis upon which to stop paying storage fees after that - since the yard won't be in a position to do that for a long while. This also leads me to wonder if, when the time comes, they are going to charge me to right the boat and put her on stands again.


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post #2 of 25 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

Zan, I'm sickened by the thought of your boat in this condition. You may recall, we sailed past each other near the Thatch cut several years back. (well, I was sailing my bareboat, you may have had water spitting out the exhaust. ) Just having fun, the fact that you single hand her is very impressive.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone's experience is going to be relevant to the BVIs, unless it was there and under the same contract. It's not uncommon in the States for contracts to have exclusions for "acts of god", which would encompass a hurricane. The exact exclusion can differ.

Intuitively, every business in the BVI must be desperate right now. In those circumstances, I would expect it common for them to send the bill and hope it gets paid, even if it's not clear the client owes the money. But, as you've said, you'll need to review the storage contract and understand BVI commercial code law to know for sure.

I truly wish you all the best with this and hope you're back out cruising this winter.


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post #3 of 25 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

The boat yards are inevitably going to have huge numbers of owners who walk away never to clean up their messes or pay another cent and sending huge storage bills to owners who want to do the right thing will only make that worse.
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post #4 of 25 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

Zan - I'd heard that this had happened to you, but was hoping that it was just talk. I'm really sorry about this. And I hope you can get it sorted without too much hassle.

You really need to read that contract to know what you're up against. Any advice given here without knowing what's in the contract will be pretty useless. I have no idea what lien rights there are in BVIs - but between that, insurance companies coming into the mix where these yards will want to be reimbursed for costs even if the owners won't be covering them, and boat owners just walking away there are all kinds of things in play here.
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post #5 of 25 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

I'm sorry for your loss.
My advice is to have your insurance company deal with the yard. They certainly have a lot more experience and clout dealing with boat yards that have their insured boats in them.
A registered letter or any other demand from you will fall on deaf ears; they have their own priority and as you mentioned, the boats on the hard are way down the list.
Most likely your insurance company will declare the boat a total loss, so if you want to retain her, you'll have to buy it back from them. That will almost certainly come with a caveat to remove the boat from the yard and the country asap, which might help you. Or not, as the boat yard will just cut it up and haul it away if you can't do so within their schedule.
Remember, the whole island is in dire shape and pleasure boat repair materials are way down the list of import items. Work boats and charter boats are more of a priority.
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post #6 of 25 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

Really, really sad to hear this, Zanshin. I hope you can work through the challenges and get a good result.

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post #7 of 25 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

I too am very saddened and sorry to hear of your boat being damaged in these storms.

I have very little direct experience with the exact situation that you describe, but the closest that I can think of was when my boat was hit by lightning while on the hard and the insurance company paid the yard bill from the time I reported the strike, until the boat was repaired and in suitable condition to launch.

With that in mind, I would start with your insurance policy to see what it says about coverage for storage during the period from damage to settlement. If your policy pays for storage, I would then contact the adjuster assigned to your claim at the insurance company and make sure that they are on board with paying the storage or whether they are going to push back in some way. If the adjuster is on board you should try to get a written memo to that effect.

In my case actually had to pay the yard bill out of my own pocket, then submit the bill and was reimbursed fully for any out of pocket expenses less the deductible. I was able to show the memo from the adjuster to the yard and so they worked with me a little. On the other hand I had been hauling there for years.

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post #8 of 25 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

Just rambling thoughts...

Boat prob not covered since it was in the box during an excluded time.
Not sure how that affects potential liability coverage, or if that would even be addressed. Then you have 3 parties...and lots of $s going towards that fight....nowhere..
Wording (or lack of) on storage contract would be key.
Financial condition of storage yard is key.
Finding somebody who can have an helpful influence over the storage yard owner's future opportunities (not limited to current biz) might be positive.

Understand the limits and possibilities as best you can.
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post #9 of 25 Old 10-06-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

As has been stated, wording of the storage contract and your insurance coverage are your two critical details right now. If the yard does not include any type of safe storage qualifier you probably do not have an argument against them as well as your insurance coverage limits or exclusions. This will probably come across as crass, but it is not meant to be, but this can be a good learning experience as to what is important when you are shopping for services. Accepting the lowest prices usually doesn't give you the best results unless there is never a problem or dispute, but taking the more expensive option also does not guarantee a good outcome, which is why it is important to read and consider the fine print in any and all legal and binding documents or contracts. Good luck in your outcome.
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post #10 of 25 Old 10-07-2017
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Re: Yard Storage charges for toppled boat

A friend with a house on St John with only windows blown out (still has a roof) told me this week that getting materials in place, if he could find someone to do the work, is not possible.

I'm sure I'm an outlier here, but IMHO boat yards are horrible businesses. The guys I know around here who decided to own one did it because they were well healed boat owners who thought because of other business success they could do it better. All of them have reduced their net worth in the process.

I'd try to work with the yard and figure something out. I might even pay the storage if that got them to do something to protect my boat.

I'm feeling bad for everyone involved on both sides of this one. Best of luck.

I know, it's just a boat, but we all know that it's never just a boat. Hope this works out somehow for you and everyone in any sort of business in those stricken islands.
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