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Charter/rental woes...and question

2943 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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I bet 9 out of 10 people sign these things without even reading the agreement. Also, it's even worse when you show up with an excited guest or two (say wife and daughter) and you have to tell them "no sailing today" because of the contract.
In these cases, I always try to get all agreements emailed to me (if not on website) so I can review before I show up....or at least before I tell my guests we are going sailing for the day.
Try reading the agreement to go skydiving! (Which I have done 4 times.)
You read the agreement four times?

I really wonder how much legal pull that agreement would have. If you didn't voluntarily pay them any more than the deposit they'd have to sue you and I really wonder if that agreement would stand up in court. It might just be there to scare people into paying.
Oh God, skydiving agreements are the worst. At least in that case, it's from a position of experience. I know of both parachute companies and dropzones that have been put out of business with lawsuits when it was the inherent danger of the sport rather than negligence or equipment failure that resulted in the fatality.

For what it's worth, I agree with the decision not to sign. It must be like finding "THE" boat but having to walk away. I have not yet chartered, but thanks for the suggestion to read the agreement before arriving so you don't walk away disappointed. Excellent.
Thanks for the comments. Was a sore disappointment to my family. I wrote to the owner, and he never responded so that is that.
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