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Old 04-15-2014, 10:58 PM   #61
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That's a great attitude (and I believe the right choice)! We hope to be coming through Rockport in June...
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:51 PM   #62
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Good for you ... looking forward to reading the "case".
Get your boat ready, good times are just around the corner ... enjoy!
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:43 AM   #63
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If I were still practicing law and could give legal advice it would be to grin and bear it. The costs in time, and travel would exceed the $2,500 even if you were able to get into small clams court. The first complication is where are you going to sue. The amount is too small for federal court and I don't believe there is a maritime exception. You didn't mention where the captain lives. You would likely have to go there to sue and if it is small claims you would have to go there to file the case, then check to see if he was served, then reappear on the first hearing date, then if it is not local to you the Captain would ask for a continuance, so you would have at least another trip. Basically unless the Captain lives near you or you want to spend four months in another state a small claim is not practicable.

If you want a decent chance of recovering your $2,500 try threatening to destroy his professional reputation. You must be careful to avoid libel or slander. You can only state facts which you can clearly prove and you can state your opinion. "In my opinion a professional captain should have known which was the primary channel". I would have someone who know this area of the law review your writeup before you send it to the captain on the pretense that you want to give him the opportunity to challenge any factual issues before the item is posted on the internet.

Note, libel and slander are not covered by your normal household or personal insurance so be careful.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:36 AM   #64
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OK, I spoke with a licensed captain friend who explained it to me as follows. If there is an incident satisfying certain criteria (this one does, by virtue of the damage), the accident must be reported. If the licensed captain was operating the vessel at the time (and even if he wasn't under many circumstances) and if the accident isn't reported by him or someone else, then his license is at risk. Apparently the USCG takes non-reporting by captains seriously. But, you may know better.
I would appreciate if your captain friend could provide his source. I'm licensed and taught licensing and have not heard of that...

I think others may enjoy/benefit from that info.

Even the links I provided to the CFRs don't indicate this or point me in the direction of what would.

I know it's true for commercial vessels operating under most any criteria...but not just a Captain operating a recreational vessel.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:15 AM   #65
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Here is a screen print from Active Captain and I just put hazard marker 3 on the screen print at the point the alternate channel went to starboard (heading west from right to left). We continued straight ahead in the old intercoastal channel until we grounded about 4 miles after this point. If you go to Active Captain and zoom in you can see the markers follow the starboard channel (the one to the north) and a hazard I added marked "Shoaling" where we went aground. There are absolutely no markers after the junction I marked so the triangles and squares had to to on the starboard (north) route were their were markers

I see that on ActiveCaptain, but my most current NOAA charts don't show that southern track... and the ICW statute mile markers are on the northern track, along with the magenta line. (And note also, AC describes itself as a guidebook, not a nautical chart.)

Edit: I haven't found a way to find the exact date on the e-charts; seems that gets obscured by the seaming process. FWIW, I received notice on 3/10/14 from MaxSea/MapMedia that new charts for Furuno's NN3D and MaxSea's TimeZero were available, so the source charts would have been published by NOAA before then. And P-O-D versions would have had LNMs incorporated along the way, too.

Edit2: I think I did find the revision date, on a MapMedia link from Furuno's chart site. Looks like the Matagorda Bay area raster charts were all updated on 11/30/2013. From the wording, I interpret these as being the dates for NOAA revisions, not the MapMedia compilations (and I guess the MM versions would have been finalized just slightly before 3/10/2014).

You're saying the shoaling you "confirmed" was while on the southern track, and your marker is advising to take the northern track instead, yes?

I don't have a way to post screenshots on this particular forum, but if you like (and if I can remember how to do it), I can send you a screen shot of what the most current NOAA chart that I have looks like.

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Old 04-16-2014, 10:05 AM   #66
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Forgot I could just add pointer to NOAA's on-line chart viewer:

Chart 11316

-Chris
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:22 AM   #67
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Kitelog,

They never have been able to keep the southern route open for more than a year at a time due to the massive tidal flow from the Matagorda jetties/bay. The Alternate route has been easier to maintain as it is north of the major current flow that sweeps down Matagorda Island.

Over the last 25 years every sailboat I've owned I've run aground at least once in that shoaling area around Bird Island..!!! Most memorable was when a tow boat with 3 doubles rammed his nose into the bank and went broadside directly in front of a 90' shrimp boat, who also went aground in an avoidance maneuver. I was behind him in a sailboat with full sails up, and of course, I didn't have roller furling on that old boat .... so ol' fat boy had to dash on deck to drop sails in 20kt winds with an inexperienced (but cute) crew at the helm. Naturally, we went aground on the lee side of the ICW, about 200' behind the shrimper. I thought for sure one of those steel tubs were going to crush my plastic butt as they yawed sided to side getting loose from the suction of that wonderful Matagorda mud. My Spanish isn't very good, but I think the shrimper answered my frantic radio hail with a chuckle and "Si..I tink I see you back dare!" Anyhooo... The tow Captain was nice enough to hold back long enough for me to float an anchor across the ICW and kedge off the lee bank and get out of his way before he got underway again.

All that said.....any event on the water that you survive is better than a day in the office (or courthouse). Write your delivery Captain a non-threatening, fact-based letter explaining your contention, copy of your repair bill deductible, and ask him to do the right thing for both of your benefit. As we say here in the great Republic of Texas: your horse will load up in the trailer better with a handful of sweet feed, than with a twitch in his nose!
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:24 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Forgot I could just add pointer to NOAA's on-line chart viewer:

Chart 11316

-Chris
Good job Chris...the ones I uploaded just this late fall still have the magenta and old route marked.

It's a bit out of my way thankfully...have to update soon...
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:12 PM   #69
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Greysailor: Thanks for your honest sharing of the experience in that ridiculous shoaling area, which is better than any assessment. There are simply some areas that defy even the most critical scrutiny, and I guess that's one of them. One day on the ICW coming south from Tittusville, FL, I was maybe third or forth in line following a 50' or so sailboat through a draw in a particularly narrow re-entry to the channel. We were pretty packed together as there were quite a few behind us also. Suddenly at about 6 knots, the sailboat in front grounded and nose-dived into a full broadside across the channel. With another trawler (and a stiff breeze) right on my tail, all I could do was to pick one side or the other, which I did, and I was never so thankful for my 3'2" draft as in that moment. We threw up some mud going around his bow sprit, but it gave the boats behind enough room to maneuver. The trawler behind us (might have been a 49 DeFever) who saw us accelerate around the bow sprit may have seen the mud flying and chose to take the other side. As we were particularly focused on getting back into the center of the channel, we didn't see his effort fail, but he was apparently stuck, perpendicular to the sailboat maybe 8 ft. or so from the stern when we finally got a chance to look back. I don't know what the sailboat's draft was, but he was dead center in the channel. At least in my case, I didn't have to run for the bank.
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:21 PM   #70
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I'm going to chime in here as well. I've been into court on civil stuff twice in my life, once when I was sued following a car accident where I was at fault and once when I sued a guy who didn't do the work I paid him to do on my boat, to the tune of about $3,000. Though I "won" both times, afterwards I felt like there was no shower long enough or hot enough to ever make me feel clean again. The civil side of our legal system doesn't really serve anyone except for its own spawn. I can't imagine a situation short of some huge catastrophe that would make me do that again. Did you talk to the captain afterwards? It sounds to me like he did a really good job under tough weather and mechanical circumstances right up until the grounding, where he was at fault. Maybe you can work something out without going to court, who knows?
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:54 PM   #71
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This was a very interesting thread for me. Love that this forum can surprise like this.

Now, an honest question.

I would have the same reservations as the OP -- new, or new-to-me boat... likely bigger than anything else I've owned.... long trip over unfamiliar water... hiring someone to get my boat safely to her home port sounds like a reasonable response.

But if a hired delivery captain, at the helm, runs a boat aground... He apparently has every legal right to simply walk away? Well then what good is hiring that captain?

Should I (we) simply take our chances and make a best effort on our own delivery? Because if we run aground -- well, it's the same yard bill, but you've still saved the captain's fee...
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:12 PM   #72
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Most cases I see captains hired is when there is a time constraint on the new owners part. If you can budget in a bunch of extra time I think you would be best served building up confidence to bringing it back on your own, for example stay at the local boat yard where you purchased and take out on extended lengths to shake down and get use to the new vessel, when ready just start going.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:12 PM   #73
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There are no guarantees that you will run aground just once on a delivery. I was at a yard on Pellitier Creek in Morehead City while they were doing running gear work because a boat had been run aground at Swansboro. It was a 46 Bertram headed for NJ. When I came back to check work on my boat, the same Bertram was back in again having run aground just below the Atlantic Beach bridge maybe 3 miles away. When I came back the next week to pick my boat up, he was in again having run aground just past Gallants Channel. That's about another 3 or 4 miles progress. I don't know what happened after that. The owner was delivering, but should have paid a captain. Life is a crap shoot.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:15 PM   #74
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Sounds like he needs a different hobby:
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There are no guarantees that you will run aground just once on a delivery. I was at a yard on Pellitier Creek in Morehead City while they were doing running gear work because a boat had been run aground at Swansboro. It was a 46 Bertram headed for NJ. When I came back to check work on my boat, the same Bertram was back in again having run aground just below the Atlantic Beach bridge maybe 3 miles away. When I came back the next week to pick my boat up, he was in again having run aground just past Gallants Channel. That's about another 3 or 4 miles progress. I don't know what happened after that. The owner was delivering, but should have paid a captain. Life is a crap shoot.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:21 PM   #75
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Most cases I see captains hired is when there is a time constraint on the new owners part. If you can budget in a bunch of extra time I think you would be best served building up confidence to bringing it back on your own, for example stay at the local boat yard where you purchased and take out on extended lengths to shake down and get use to the new vessel, when ready just start going.
Exactly. I think this is the lesson I've learned from this thread. But then I look at the chart that got posted above and think to myself it really would be nice to have some local knowledge before going in there...

Hiring a captain to deliver a boat when the owner won't be aboard, for whatever reason, is a completely different story too.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:26 PM   #76
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This was a very interesting thread for me. Love that this forum can surprise like this.

Now, an honest question.

I would have the same reservations as the OP -- new, or new-to-me boat... likely bigger than anything else I've owned.... long trip over unfamiliar water... hiring someone to get my boat safely to her home port sounds like a reasonable response.

But if a hired delivery captain, at the helm, runs a boat aground... He apparently has every legal right to simply walk away? Well then what good is hiring that captain?

Should I (we) simply take our chances and make a best effort on our own delivery? Because if we run aground -- well, it's the same yard bill, but you've still saved the captain's fee...
You hire a plumber or a HVAC person, or you take your car for repairs, or many other things we all do regularly and the service isn't right. Plumber leaves a mess after charging $600 and now you have to get another plumber who points out the things the first did wrong. Does the first plumber just walk away?

Well, you can report to Better Business Bureau or post reviews on Yelp or Google. But are you likely to ever see the $600 again or even part of it? No. Are you going to sue? Get another plumber to testify?

Many times when our choices don't turn out to be the right person, we have no reasonable recourse that doesn't just add to our misery. I've never sued, never been sued, hope to never do either. The lessons I've learned are to be much more selective and careful up front. Deal with those I know do good work, but also I know respond appropriately to problems and complaints.

One of the key factors here than slipped by a bit was the OP pointed out later that there were other problems with this captain along the way. That changes my thoughts, that it wasn't perhaps a good captain making a bad mistake but a not so good captain making another mistake. To his credit, the OP recognizes some things he could have done better himself. But ultimately, because the OP has shown himself to be fair and balanced, I suspect his selection of Captain wasn't the best.

Half the captains out there are below average. Just like all professions. I want my doctor and my lawyer in the top group, not the bottom. Selfish that way, someone else can take the bad ones. Same with Captains.

There are many professional delivery captains who do it regularly and have extensive lists of references. They deliver for builders. They deliver for brokers. They have businesses, fully credentialed. But there are also captains who deliver because they don't have jobs or other work. Do it, not by choice, but at cut rates often due to their lack of good reputations. I know quite a few captains very well. Most, even of those who do boat management rather than being assigned to a yacht, wouldn't have time for this delivery.

One other thing I'd point out. Many delivery captains will not do it with owners or others aboard. They'll bring their own crew if needed. They'll do long runs to get there as quickly as possible. I wouldn't use one of them probably, too obsessive over keeping an eye on things. But I'd probably use a regular captain and do it as a trip. That would cost significantly more too.

But ultimately people often do bad jobs and bad work and we end up stuck with the cost of it. Some industries have horrible reputations and I feel for the good ones in those industries. Look at the service records of big box computer stores or of moving companies. Look at products like Nuwave being sold by the ton on infomercials and elderly women shocked when the $99 plus all the freebies end up costing $260 by the time they reach her. Look at the scams run daily which are far worse than just bad performance.

But seldom does the legal system work well for resolving these unless you end up on People's Court, Judge Mathis, or Judge Judy and get an appearance pool from which the winner is paid. Even small claims which is the best of the system isn't so great for most people who work. Let's see, filing fee, time to go file. Then take a day off from work to go to court. Then, if you win, try to perfect the judgement and try to collect after they don't pay. More costs. And right as you're catching up to them, they file bankruptcy and now you're tossed in the pool of people not getting their money.

Arbitration is written into many contracts as the means of resolving a dispute but that by no means comes free either.

The biggest protection other than good selection that we have is not to pay until after performance. But when it's work on your home or your car or your boat withholding payment gets dangerous too. For instance, the worst auto repair shops are always the best in terms of getting you to sign contracts giving them liens and always very expert and experienced in enforcing those liens. They know the system and use it effectively.

I do believe in well written contracts, and the use of lawyers for them, although I do instruct my lawyers not to turn it into a major project but just address the major issues. However, the contract only really gives you legal standing. It doesn't keep bad service from happening and it won't make up for that.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:29 PM   #77
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But then I look at the chart that got posted above and think to myself it really would be nice to have some local knowledge before going in there... .
Absolutely and good boat captains, hired or owners, learn to seek that knowledge. Once I found myself confused, I would have held up a bit and called the tow company. Sometimes its a marina near. Sometimes it's talking to other boaters and captains.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:32 PM   #78
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T

Should I (we) simply take our chances and make a best effort on our own delivery? Because if we run aground -- well, it's the same yard bill, but you've still saved the captain's fee...
There are excellent captains who greatly reduce your probability of issues. Also, on many newly owned boats, problems develop as did on this one, and the boat only makes it through the trip because of Captain's knowledge and ability.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:51 PM   #79
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There are excellent captains who greatly reduce your probability of issues. Also, on many newly owned boats, problems develop as did on this one, and the boat only makes it through the trip because of Captain's knowledge and ability.
Yeah, there is this as well. I still consider myself an inexperienced boater, even after having owned 4 different "real" boats, and another handful of dinghys and canoes over the past 15 years. Probably always will, even after a trip to Alaska or Mexico.

Quote:
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Half the captains out there are below average. Just like all professions. I want my doctor and my lawyer in the top group, not the bottom. Selfish that way, someone else can take the bad ones. Same with Captains
Very true.

Apparently there are no easy answers? I'm getting old.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:54 PM   #80
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Apparently there are no easy answers? I'm getting old.
Is old the age at which we figure out there are no easy answers?
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