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Old 06-12-2019, 04:50 AM   #1
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City: La Conner, WA
Country: United States
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Vessel Model: Davis Vashon 42 Trawler (Defever design)
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My boat was hard aground...

I guess I already should have known this. Here's the story of probably being a little too meek, a little to forgiving, a little too little.

At survey our surveyor detected repairs to the keel at the bow. He was satisfied with the repair. The owner (through the broker) had already disclosed the starboard shaft had been replaced due to hitting something prior to our offer. At survey the owner disclosed it was a rock coming out of a little bay I am very familiar with - at Jones Island in the San Juans. What I didn't ask is how bad was the grounding, what happened, did he have to get towed, was the boat stuck.

Many of you know the search engine

https://cgmix.uscg.mil/psix/psixsearch.aspx

When checking your boat in the search, you can click to find Coast Guard contacts... when I did that I found this:

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Curiouser and curiouser. So I did what any other red blooded American would do, I filed a FOIA request for all related documents to the vessel or the incident numbers. It took almost exactly six weeks, but the reports arrived today. It was funny, about three weeks ago the USCG called to let me know there was a FOIA request for information about my boat, and wanted to know if I objected to its release. ) Lots of pages of very skimpy text, a USCG report does not include much narrative! But it does have the Lat/Long of the incident, and that the pollution was approximately 5 gallons of diesel fuel which leaked from a fuel tank vent as the vessel was listing due to being hard aground, and had to be towed off by Tow Boat US.

!!!!

Additionally, the location was not the rocks in the north cove as I'd thought, but the shoreline on the southwest end of the island, west of the south cove.

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As you can see, I've made a little notation in my electronic charts not to try to put the boat there.

Had I known this at the time would I have still bought the boat? Yeah, I think so. We knew of damage at the time, and I had a specific discussion with the surveyor about other possible damage, and he hadn't seen any evidence of any.

BUT, I thought this is an interesting way to find out if your boat, or a boat you're interested in purchasing, has been part of a USCG investigation. The six week timeline might be problematic for a purchase process, but it might also be useful for you to start a conversation.

BTW, the USCG history follows the documentation number. The boat has a new documented name, a new owner, but the history of being a known pollution source still follows.

Knowledge is power!
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:41 AM   #2
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Nice job digging that up.


This is a great example of the risk involved in buying an LLC that owns a boat, vs buying only the asset itself. All it takes is for someone to come around with a new claim related to this incident, and it's your problem, not the previous owner's problem.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Nice job digging that up.


This is a great example of the risk involved in buying an LLC that owns a boat, vs buying only the asset itself. All it takes is for someone to come around with a new claim related to this incident, and it's your problem, not the previous owner's problem.


Do you have an example of this happening?
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:19 AM   #4
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Having been involved past and present with non marine LLCs, once the LLC is dissolved the recouse can pass to the object or in this case the vessel. Environmental law allows state and Feds to chase any and all entities, with a non-liable LLC well protected if a current owner of a polluter exists.

This is why in corporate takeovers the liability language is paramount. With a boat purchase, language can and is common to protect the new entity if so written and agreed to by the parties.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:41 AM   #5
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I guess I already should have known this. Here's the story of probably being a little too meek, a little to forgiving, a little too little.

You must have been an English major, great literary opening to the story.
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the USCG database link. I was relieved to find only a single 'boarding' entry from back in 2012. Just an 'Activity' number, no associated case number.
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