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Last long distance race of the summer was this weekend. Chicago to St. Joe. Always turns out to be one of the best. The racing was great, but unfortunately not everything went as smoothly.

100+ boats have to tie up in the St. Joe River so we were the 4th boat on a raft. The river is quite busy in the morning with fishing charters heading out. Early in the morning a fishing charter passed by way too fast and way too close, IMO, and gave our raft a real nice wake. The rocking of the boat caused us to roll just enough to get the aluminum post that stores one jaw of our spin pole underneath the toe rail of the boat next to us. When we rolled back the other way this post put a nice quarter size hole below his toe rail straight through the core. We had been tied up for hours at that point and both myself and the other skipper were present as we tied our boats together. I offered him some epoxy and he made a quick repair right there. We all had to race back to Chicago the next day, and while it wasn't a perfect repair it was certain to hold up long enough to get home. Now that I'm back he's sent me an email and said he wants to get an estimate from his yard to fix it and send me the bill - or charge me materials if he does it himself. I have mostly made up my mind about how I plan to handle it, but I was curious as to what other folks opinions were. If you were in this situation; where fault seems to lie with a third party we have no hope of tracking down, or at worst equally between us skippers for not tying a better raft, what would you do?
 

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The cause was the wake (and rafting, but you both agreed and participated in that--if he wanted different fenders etc, he could have made changes--he could have anchored out).

Who hit who? You hit each other.

In my mind this is a case of each person fixes his own damage, since the fault lies with a 3rd party and because you no more hit him than he hit you (that the damage was different seems irrelavant). I would politly state that this is a no-fault situation. Scars from rafting are an known risk and most sailors will not raft.

But this was free advice.
 

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I'd speak with your insurance company about fault, they're the experts who resolve stuff like this for a living. If they say you have any fault, then I'd go with that advice. If you do you may want to cover you part out of pocket rather than have a loss... depends on the $$$
 

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I concur, neither of you was negligant. Each insurance pays out... that's why you have it.
 

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I agree that the wake by an unknown party caused the final result for both f you. However, two of you secured your boats, and I bet that from now on you will both do a much better job of anticipating the worst...which you clearly did not do in this case. That river is notorious for this type of thing happening. Lucky your spreaders were not in line.
It does not sound like a big bill, especially if he does his own work. Offer to split with him and hope that karma pays it forward for you. If not.....let the insurance company tell you what they think. You pay both ways!
 

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First off, stay as far away from your insurance company as you can, unless you want your rates to rise! Only if there is significant damage, which there doesn't seem to be, would I involve them.
I agree wholeheartedly with pdqaltair on this one. You each fix your own boat. It's not like there was anything you could have done that would have changed the outcome, once you had made the decision to raft up. Perhaps, that is the lesson here; rafting up may be fun, but it is not prudent seamanship. You are just lucky your rigs didn't become entangled, which is where I thought this thread was headed!
 
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The boat that created the wake is at fault regardless of rafting.
That being said if you didn't report the incident to the coast guard you are SOL.
Have a friend who's boat suffered substantial damage in a raft from a wake from a ferry. He didn't report it and when he tried to file a claim they said "sorry".
Jim
 

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You need bigger fenders, you need to hang them higher, and you need more of them. if you're gonna raft up, both you and the boat you raft to accept responsibility , and have to take responsibility for rafting your boats with enough stand-off to withstand a wake. Hypothetically, if the wind had picked up enough during the night to cause some serious chop it would have caused the same damage- in this case the chop was just manufactured. split the cost in half with him, or let insurance handle it.
 

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Wow, I didn't anticipate the other guy saying it's your fault. Uh uh, no way. If he had warned you about the pole, and you refused to move it, that would be another matter.
 

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Everyone participating in a sporting, or frankly, other social activity assumes the inherent risks of that activity. In sailing, rafting, in particular, can be quit hazardous if, for example (and as happened) the "raft" of boats is struck by wake, wave or rough scend in an anchorage. In short, everyone "assumes" responsibility for their own injury.

To quote from the Law Journal, other
"...examples of such risks in particular [in] sporting activities include getting hit by a baseball during a baseball game, getting tackled in a football or soccer game, getting hit by a golf ball in the fairway by a golfer teeing off, or getting hit by a snowboarder who was not looking where he was going.

Co-participants in the sporting activity, including players, coaches and facility owners or operators, owe you no duty to protect you from the "inherent" risks in the sport, even if they were negligent. The courts have expressed the concern that liability for ordinary careless conduct (i.e., negligence) would have a chilling effect on vigorous participation in the sport and would discourage participation in the sport.

The law calls this concept primary implied assumption of risk (PIAR) and it is a bar to suing another for negligence when the risk of injury that caused the injury was inherent in the sport. PIAR applies to contact sports as well as to individual non-contact sports."
In view of the foregoing....
 

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You should really consult with a lawyer in your jurisdiction for a correct answer. Try www.avvo.com for a marine law lawyer in your area. You can also post a question there and receive answers that are at least remotely correct and informed.

Insurance companies do raise rates on customers who have a history of claims, particularly trivial ones.
 

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I have a slightly different outlook on this. not sure about sailing, but in other forms of racing I am involved with, the rule is simple. if you can't afford to fix your vehicle, don't bring your vehicle. (the nice way of saying it) once you're on a track of any sort, no matter what happens you pay for your own vehicle.

rafting is not something I would do in general.
 

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If he was in his marina berth and a wake caused some damage to his boat would he expect the marina to pay? Unlikely - oh, wait, you're talking about the States, nevermind. ;)

When you raft, protecting your boat is your own responsibility
 

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I generally agree with the consensus that both rafted boats are responsible for their own boat's damage from a third boat's wake.

However, I think the consent to be rafted to by another boat has to be clear before that rule holds true. The details in the OP are a little scant.

If you raft onto someone's boat without asking, and then a boat wake causes you to damage the boat you rafted to, then I think you are responsible for the damage.

The tricky cases might be when the permission to raft is not real clear cut.
 

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I generally agree with the consensus that both rafted boats are responsible for their own boat's damage from a third boat's wake.

However, I think the consent to be rafted to by another boat has to be clear before that rule holds true. The details in the OP are a little scant.

If you raft onto someone's boat without asking, and then a boat wake causes you to damage the boat you rafted to, then I think you are responsible for the damage.

The tricky cases might be when the permission to raft is not real clear cut.
Not much to debate...

...We had been tied up for hours at that point and both myself and the other skipper were present as we tied our boats together. ...
No one was involuntarily rafted to. Accordingly, each boat-owner implicitly accepted the risks of the hazards such a mooring arrangement necessarily entails. Sometimes, "Shoot" happens. Simple circumstance and misfortune. No malice, negligence nor any other indictable action on the part of any party.

"If you raft to me, you accept the inherent risks thereof if you are damaged. If I permit you to raft to me, I accept the inherent risks thereof if I suffer damage."

It's not complicated. If one doesn't like/can't endure the rules/conventions of the game, don't play/stay off the field of contest.

BS claims like this have caused more than a few to say the heck with sailing/racing. If I have to sail/race with a rule book in one back pocket and a stack of Liability Waivers/Hold harmless-Indemnification Agreements in the other, I pass...
 
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It's not complicated. If one doesn't like/can't endure the rules/conventions of the game, don't play/stay off the field of contest.
I don't necessarily disagree--especially in this instance--but just because everything is crystal clear in your mind, does not mean that is the reality of the situation.


BS claims like this have caused more than a few to say the heck with sailing/racing. If I have to sail/race with a rule book in one back pocket and a stack of Liability Waivers/Hold harmless-Indemnification Agreements in the other, I pass...
Can't really disagree here. Rafting four deep while standing around for hours waiting to go sail, to the exact same location as 100+ boats, while following rules about how to sail there, sounds downright miserable to me.
 

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Advice to seek local counsel is wise, however, I doubt your jurisdiction is going to have much impact on this. Maritime laws can, however, be very odd. Things like whose lines were used to tie to whom can shift liability, such as in a towing/salvage operation. It may not always be intuitive.

As far as what's fair and decent, the two of you splitting the sum total of the damage to each vessel is probably a sporting compromise. However, I always like to test these assumptions in the extreme. Imagine that your aluminum post had holed their boat and it sank. Still feel obligated for half? I wouldn't.

I was offered the opportunity to raft in Nantucket last month, as the only option to get on a mooring overnight. I passed. The OP is why. It just can't be fully avoided when rafting.
 

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A "quarter-size hole"?
Tell him to man up and fix it himself, politely of course. What is it, an easy $50 job, max? Send him a 20 if you're feeling generous.

Each of you is equally responsible for your own vessel. He tied up willingly and did the job himself. You don't owe him nothin. If he wanted to collect for damages, the time to exchange info would have been at the "scene of the accident".

Sounds fishy that he'd want to get an estimate but hasn't yet, and is just waiting for your consent to start the process, instead of saying, "hey, the yard says it's $XX to fix". Do not consent.

If you do decide to play ball, just tell him to file a claim and let your insurances handle it (and get your own estimate from your own yard based on pics of the assumed damage).

So many options that don't include paying for someone else's boat.

Sorry for ranting, just sounds like weak BS.
 

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Insurance? An interesting concept but before anyone goes there, make sure that won't be complicated by insurance polices that exclude all damage from racing. The racing being the reason why the boats were rafted up, and racing damage being excluded from many policies.
 

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Insurance? An interesting concept but before anyone goes there, make sure that won't be complicated by insurance polices that exclude all damage from racing. The racing being the reason why the boats were rafted up, and racing damage being excluded from many policies.
I think even an insurance company would be hard-pressed to say boats are racing while rafted up. Between the first start and the finish certainly, but not rafted up at anchor or moored.
 
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