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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I haven’t had a chance to poke around this forum yet, but I was hoping someone could give me some advice about my chances of getting anything back for the damage my sailboat sustained last night.
I have a rare 1969 Severn 20 sailboat, (hull #6 of 100 made) which WAS in good condition. Last night a storm came through Lake Nockamixon and my boat was seriously damaged along the rub-rail on both sides.
The stern line on neighbors boat broke and the boats banged together causing twice as much damage on my boat than his. I feel his boat was not secured properly. The stern line was probably frayed as a result of it rubbing against the dock because he was not using a spring line on the other side of the stern.
I would like to prove that the other boat owner was negligent in not having his boat properly tied up. I have plenty of photos. Based on the information I offered so far, would I be right?
Assuming the other party doesn’t have insurance (I don’t), do I have a good legal base to sue the other party? I hope it doesn’t come to that, in fact I’m ready to sell the boat at a substantial loss at this point.
How do courts rule in cases like this when there was a storm involved and someone’s dock line breaks?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Sounds to me like you have a case. It is all about taking measures to manage your boat in a reasonably sea worth fashion to ensure that your boat does not damage others property. Would an extra spring line on your neighbor's boat have been a reasonable precaution? No doubt. Would it have been reasonable for you to hang a fender between your boats? Perhaps. It would have been especially 'reasonable' for you to go down to your boat to check on it knowing that there was a storm approaching.
I hope your neighbor has insurance as it is my guess that you would be awarded at least half the amount of damages by his insurance.
Get a repair estimate. The damage does not sound as if the boat cannot be saved. Better yet, post some pictures of the damage and you will get plenty of advice about fixing it.
Sorry for your loss and good luck.
 

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Thanks Courtney.
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I'd say you have a good argument. Your neighbors boat hit yours and caused damage. It should be their responsibility no matter what the cause.

If a powerboat makes a wake near a marina they are responsible for any damage that the wake may cause. If your cars rolls down your driveway and hits the car across the street, it is your fault weather you had the parking break set or not....
 

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if the severity of the storm was atypical, then you'll have a hard time making a case against your slip neighbors. If your boat is the only one damaged, then maybe, but it's likely it will be blamed on the storm rather than your neighbors poor job of securing his boat.

Good luck.
 

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If the storm wasn't some unforseen catastrophic event, then it was one of those unpleasant but expected bursts of weather that a vessel is supposed to be moored strongly enough to resist. Yours did, his didn't, and nothing failed except his stern line. Seems like valid grounds for a claim.

You may want to get insurance in the future (though sometimes the cost for old classic boats is prohibitive or coverage unavailable), then recovery against the other boat would be your underwriters' problem and not yours.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for your advice and comments. That storm must have come out of nowhere. All I knew is that it rained last night. I had intentions of enjoying a beautiful day with 13+ mph breeze when I discovered the damage today. I spoke to the Park Ranger who saw it and he agreed that the other boat should have been secured better.

Well, I've owned this boat for over 18 years and I really had some wild times with it! I figured if I lost it at this point, I would have gotten my use out of it. That's why I didn't insure it.

I'll be working on getting some photos posted

Thanks!
 

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ASA and PSIA Instructor
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if the severity of the storm was atypical, then you'll have a hard time making a case against your slip neighbors. If your boat is the only one damaged, then maybe, but it's likely it will be blamed on the storm rather than your neighbors poor job of securing his boat.

Good luck.
As boaters we should secure our boats for the atypical storm, and I think that's what we all can expect of our neighbors. Atypical is an tricky word - a storm that didn't seriously damage the docks themselves wouldn't seem so severe, certainly not in the serious storm category - a hurricane does its damage by carrying away the floats, or lifting boats over the pilings. I would expect the other boater to cover any repair costs, and hopeully with out a lawsuit. (Several years ago I found my stern rail bent. Noticing a bent fluke on the anchor of the Hunter 34 on the next mooring over, I asked the owner if the two had a relationship. He admitted hitting my boat, but thought there was no damage, and agreed to pay the $900 for a replacement rail out of his pocket.)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Goto the song chain in off-topic and post up 6 of the worst songs you ever heard:D
Thanks...(I always leave the room when I hear that YMCA song!!)

Anyway, as far as the damage goes, when I sit inside the boat, I can see daylight for about 6' where the deck joins the hull, and the area that a the rub rail attaches to is smashed up too. That requires some upside down fiberglass work, or fabricating some sort of mold or mount, right?

The damage is to both sides of the boat about mid-ship.
 

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moderate?
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Sounds like with pictures, you could take him to small claims court and win. Suggest you call him and ask him if he has insurance and if so...to notify them that his boat hit you and to contact you for a survey of the damage.
If he does not have insurance...tell him you will get a quote for the work and that you expect to be compensated since his boat caused the damage. If he objects...then you can bring him to small claims.
 

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Telstar 28
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Cam-

From the description, it may be more than a small claims court case can go for. In many states the limit is $5000 or less.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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It is probably fixable.

Whitewater7,

First of all this was not catastrophic event as in a hurricane, flood or earth quake. It was a predicted storm that had some nasty effects so the owner should have kept his boat in the best reasonably docked status he could. He did not.

2) Keep posting to this thread until you get to the point where you can upload pictures.

3) If you can see that much water through your hull you need some serious repair work. I would cut out some fiberglass heavy cloth and epoxy it in place using a 5 min. epoxy and pins to hold it in place. Then I would start coating it with regular marine epoxy and adding layers of cloth as I built it up. For the outside of the hull above water (freeboard) I would use some 1/8" plywood (poplar, luan or whatever) to create a mold as you have suggested. You will have to get creative about making clamps that will hold the mold in place. As it turns out, wood is still cheaper than fiberglass so you can make your mold from wood.

4) I am assuming that your boat is made out of plastic, aka; fiberglass, FRP, GRP etc. Get the West System how to manual about using their product. http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|9489|145953&id=805686

5) You are in some ways lucky that you were un-insured (if you can fix your boat up with monies that are coming your way) as insurers will condemn a boat as a complete and total loss (CTL) if the damage reaches above about half of the boats value. Once you place a claim they will then own your vessel and all the equipment on board if they condemn it as a CTL. In this case you will have to buy it back from them and they will write a check for the amount of the policy minus the amount you paid to buy it back. If your boat neighbor has insurance this could be important to you.

6) It is not that difficult to repair these kind of damage. You will learn a lot in the process. Pictures would help, so keep posting.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sounds like with pictures, you could take him to small claims court and win. Suggest you call him and ask him if he has insurance and if so...to notify them that his boat hit you and to contact you for a survey of the damage.
If he does not have insurance...tell him you will get a quote for the work and that you expect to be compensated since his boat caused the damage. If he objects...then you can bring him to small claims.
That's what I intend to do. By small claims you mean up to $500 damage?
I don't know what fiberglass guys charge, but I would think the cost would exceed $500...I'm taking the boat out of the water tommorow, and will try to get some quotes...

Thanks
 

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Well, I've owned this boat for over 18 years and I really had some wild times with it! I figured if I lost it at this point, I would have gotten my use out of it. That's why I didn't insure it.
I am not sure I understand. The boat is not worth insuring and you feel you have gotten your use of it but.... it is perfectly acceptable to sue another boater who had some bad luck. I must be missing something...

Many marinas require insurace before slip rental is allowed.

This may be a great time to make a new friend. Have him pick up the repair materials and you both do the work together with knowledged learned and shared form this site.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Mentalfee,

What is the difference between self insurance and brand name marine insurance? If someone damages your property (be it floating or on land), why are they not liable for damages caused by their property?

Perhaps you are right though and it is a "time to make a new friend" and have him help you with the repair. I sincerely doubt that and I don't want someone's half a$$ed attempts at repairing my boat when I can do it better.

Perhaps I disagree.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I am not sure I understand. The boat is not worth insuring and you feel you have gotten your use of it but.... it is perfectly acceptable to sue another boater who had some bad luck. I must be missing something...

Many marinas require insurace before slip rental is allowed.

This may be a great time to make a new friend. Have him pick up the repair materials and you both do the work together with knowledged learned and shared form this site.
That's a nice thought, but why should I bite the bullet for this persons negligence?

I am not going to rake this guy over the coals, and I am not the court room type either..

Our (PA) State run marina does not require insurance. I met my neighbors parents down there today. They told me he only paid $2K for his boat.

It's hard to place a value on my boat due to it's rarity, but odd boats genarally aren't generally worth much. I doubt if I could sell it for $3K with the motor, and that was before the damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Photos

Has anybody ever seen another Severn 20?
This photo was taken in 1992. We both got heavier…

THE DAMAGE
My boat is on the right;

Port Side

Inside Starboard

Inside port (not as bad)
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Whitewater7,

First of all this was not catastrophic event as in a hurricane, flood or earth quake. It was a predicted storm that had some nasty effects so the owner should have kept his boat in the best reasonably docked status he could. He did not.

2) Keep posting to this thread until you get to the point where you can upload pictures.

3) If you can see that much water through your hull you need some serious repair work. I would cut out some fiberglass heavy cloth and epoxy it in place using a 5 min. epoxy and pins to hold it in place. Then I would start coating it with regular marine epoxy and adding layers of cloth as I built it up. For the outside of the hull above water (freeboard) I would use some 1/8" plywood (poplar, luan or whatever) to create a mold as you have suggested. You will have to get creative about making clamps that will hold the mold in place. As it turns out, wood is still cheaper than fiberglass so you can make your mold from wood.

4) I am assuming that your boat is made out of plastic, aka; fiberglass, FRP, GRP etc. Get the West System how to manual about using their product. http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|9489|145953&id=805686

5) You are in some ways lucky that you were un-insured (if you can fix your boat up with monies that are coming your way) as insurers will condemn a boat as a complete and total loss (CTL) if the damage reaches above about half of the boats value. Once you place a claim they will then own your vessel and all the equipment on board if they condemn it as a CTL. In this case you will have to buy it back from them and they will write a check for the amount of the policy minus the amount you paid to buy it back. If your boat neighbor has insurance this could be important to you.

6) It is not that difficult to repair these kind of damage. You will learn a lot in the process. Pictures would help, so keep posting.
CalebD....thanks for your reply. What kind of pins am I going to use to hold that 5 minute epoxy in place?

THNXS!!
 
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