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Charter/rental woes...and question

2945 Views 23 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Sal Paradise
We just came back from an aborted attempt to charter a day sail. We were only renting a Catalina 22 inshore for the day. Having satisfied the operator that we have experience, they handed us a contract and I was truly annoyed to read " Renter is 100% liable for any damage to the boat during the rental period regardless of cause. In the case of damage $1000 security deposit will be forfeit and if the damage is less than $1000 the balance will be returned. If the damage is greater than deposit as determined by XXXX Charters the (Name) will be responsible for the entire cost up to and including complete replacement of the vessel.

They told us this was non negotiable and no sort of insurance was available to purchase. Question- would you sign such an agreement, especially after forking over $250 for a day sail? Is this normal?

For the record we refused to sign
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We had similar language when I worked for a marina renting Rhodes 19s for daysails to the general public. In practice, we only kept deposits when it was operator error that caused the damage (i.e., crash landings on the dock were pretty common). Even then it was only when the person was clearly doing something stupid and the damage was fairly significant, and we never went after someone for anything more than the deposit.

I doubt that the term "damage" in that language is intended to cover maintenance and repairs due to normal wear and tear, like when a shroud lets loose and the mast comes down (in that case you're worried about getting sued for negligently maintaining the boat regardless that you undoubtedly have a waiver of liability).

If another boater causes damage it would be easier to make a claim against that person's insurance than to go after the person who rented the sailboat.

Not that you should not question the language, but these types of provisions are often not applied to the full extent that they would seem to allow under a broad reading. You'd have to walk away from a lot of fun stuff to avoid these types of provisions. Try reading the agreement to go skydiving! (Which I have done 4 times.)
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