Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Hit a rock with chartered boat in Sardinia
I won't speculate on the extent of the damage, or cost of repairs, but I will comment on the need to report this to the charter company and the need to haul out and do a survey.
In recent years there has been three notable cases where a charter/teaching boats have been damaged in groundings, lost its keel, and lives were lost when the keels came off. There is a lot of attention on this issue at the moment, since boats are losing their keels with increasing frequency, not all of them dramatically, but enough cases that there is a global microscope on this issue.
Given the trials and settlements by the charter companies and boat owners, at this point it would be seen as negligence and potentially criminal negligence if the charter company did not haul out the boat and have it properly surveyed. In this case the boat in question is a comparatively lightly built, value oriented, coastal cruiser and so hitting a rock at any speed and no matter how glancing a blow would especially make the boat suspect for having damage.
As others have noted, the damage in a grounding may not be visible from the outside of the boat or exterior of the components that are delaminated or otherwise damaged. Its only through a systematic inspection that the absense or the full extent of the damage can be determined. For example, in at least one of the recent fatal keel loss cases, there was minor damage to a frame that was repaired but there was unobserved damage in the form of delamination of the hull forward of the keel. Over time the delamination peeled aft until the keel and the bottom of the hull pulled away.
In my mind, the charter company would not be acting appropriately or ethically if they did not haul the boat and have it carefully surveyed.
But beyond the responsibility of the charter company, I respectfully suggest that in my personal opinion, whatever excuses one might be able to come up with for not reporting the grounding, there is an ethical responsibility to report the incident. In my mind, failure to report the incident would make you negligent and if per chance, there was serious enough damage that the keel was indeed lost and worse yet if lives were lost, the moral responsibility would fall heavily on your shoulders.
In a broader sense, the few charter agreements that I have seen include the ability to purchase insurance that covers a deductible for damage to the boat while in your use. I don't know if that was the case here, but the lesson in this for all of us is that we might want to more carefully consider whether to cough up the money for that supplemental insurance. In the words of the old Dave Bromberg song, "A man should never gamble with more than he has to lose".
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay