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Old 02-15-2015, 08:08 PM   #1
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Any lawyers out thar?

From the latest issue of the Log in the "Ask an Attorney" section- Question " I recently lost my boat in a marine fire in Northern California. (Walnut Creek?) The burned out hull of my boat is still in the slip but is submerged. The marina has demanded that I remove the wreck but the boat was not insured and I don't have the funds to take care of it on my own. Since it is not in a navigable channel, am I legally required to have it removed.
Answer- Yes, you are legally obligated to remove the wreck. Under the California Harbors and Navigation Code #525, it is a crime to abandon a vessel upon a public waterway or on public or private property without the express permission of the property owner. If convicted of failing to remove an abandoned wreck the fine ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 PLUS the cost of wreck removal.
In conclusion: This should serve as a lesson for all boat owners. Boat insurance is cheap. (?) The alternative may be very, very, expensive.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:32 PM   #2
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We just had a bunch of boats go down because of a 5.5 foot snowfall. The marina has demanded copies of everyones up to date insurance, or the boat gets hauled at the owners expense.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:54 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. MM. "...everyones up to date insurance...". Any marina I've ever rented a slip at has required proof of current insurance before they would rent me a spot. Different in Canada?
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:43 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. MM. "...everyones up to date insurance...". Any marina I've ever rented a slip at has required proof of current insurance before they would rent me a spot. Different in Canada?
Probably not different. The marina used to be managed by the Kitimat Stikine Regional District, but was sold a couple months ago. It wouldn't surprise me that double checking whether boats were insured or not was something that fell off the radar. Things got pretty lax towards the end.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:43 PM   #5
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Nope same in Canada. Unless your at a Mom & Pop marina that doesn't worry about "details"

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Old 02-16-2015, 12:26 AM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. MM. "...everyones up to date insurance...". Any marina I've ever rented a slip at has required proof of current insurance before they would rent me a spot. Different in Canada?
Currently the same here as well as proof of annual registration/documentation; however, in my 1980s marina it was not.
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:39 AM   #7
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Boat insurance is cheap. (?)

WHERE?
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:55 AM   #8
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My sailboat was in Oak harbor Marina in Slidell, La. (North side of lake from New Orleans) during Hurricane Katrina. The harbor master was fairly new and didn't check for current insurance. The Katrina devastation eventually led to a clean-up. You would be amazed at some of the high dollar boats that did not have insurance and couldn't be pulled from land or re-floated for removal.
Every marina I can remember required proof of current liability insurance when I came in. Some were just more lax about checking to verify renewals.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:24 AM   #9
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Boat insurance is cheap. (?)

WHERE?
Just got a Gieko liability policy in Florida for my 36 footer for $124 a year. I did have to get a survey though which was $324. I would consider that cheap.

Underwritten by Seaworthy.

100,000/300/000 and $826,000 clean up.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:38 AM   #10
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Boat insurance is cheap compared to what it covers and the potential costs of not having insurance. Someone who is too cheap to buy insurance is likely to be too cheap to properly maintain his boat, and probably most likely to damage other boats...
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:43 AM   #11
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We are in our yacht club marina and are required to show registration/documentation, and proof of insurance every year. We recently had a meeting to discuss mandatory VEs for our marina boats with the CG in attendance. One of our members asked the CG why they pull over boats with current VE stickers and he said they do not do that. The room erupted over that statement. How about other areas?
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:14 PM   #12
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Someone who is too cheap to buy insurance is likely to be too cheap to properly maintain his boat, and probably most likely to damage other boats...
Isn't that the truth. Every Marina I've been berthed in required proof to get in AND to have their name added as additional insured with annual renewal proof. Others may also have a "hold harmless" clause in the slip agreement you sign. In some less than reputable marinas they can let a non-insured or un-insurable boat in and if anything happens - whoever gets affected is responsible.

Always good to read the fine print and have a reputable insurance company. BoatUS has a good article about it if your interested look for "Boat Marina Liability"

I'm really surprised Geiko is offering boat insurance. The rate you quoted for the premiums and even the survey are super cheap! I may have to look into that - thanks for the tip.

As for that fire in Northern CA, I wonder if the owner of the sunken boat has any legal recourse against the marina or boat owner who's boat caused the fire? Seems to me the marina should have some responsibility for not requiring birthed boats to be insured.
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:32 PM   #13
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We are in our yacht club marina and are required to show registration/documentation, and proof of insurance every year. We recently had a meeting to discuss mandatory VEs for our marina boats with the CG in attendance. One of our members asked the CG why they pull over boats with current VE stickers and he said they do not do that. The room erupted over that statement. How about other areas?
USCG might have local "latitude" in not stopping vessels with a sticker...but not USCG policy that I know of. A recent boarding form yes...but not VE sticker.

Too easy to load your boat up with your buddies gear and lose it 10 seconds after the inspector leaves.

I would be totally against mandatory VE inspections....while some are great....I have heard more urban legend boating stuff coming out of VEs than probably any one source.
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:40 PM   #14
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From Captgrail
"I'm really surprised Geiko is offering boat insurance. The rate you quoted for the premiums and even the survey are super cheap! I may have to look into that - thanks for the tip."



I was surprised at the rate. We have been with Progressive for three years but they changed their policy to where they will not insure a boat over 35' Hence we started looking elsewhere. It also surprised me that Gieko did not care that we lived on the boat full time. The first quote I got from them was full coverage so to speak with an agreed value of $40k. It was only $1,200 per year, but my work is seasonal and right now is not the season. In the summer I will go ahead and add the other overages.

The price for being 1. In the Keys and 2. living on the boat full time I think is amazing. I do not know much about Seaworthy the underwriters but here's hoping.
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Old 02-16-2015, 01:05 PM   #15
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In the case of the original post, if the boat was burned by a fire originating from another boat, is not the boat where the fire started responsible for the damage?
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:27 PM   #16
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"In the case of the original post, if the boat was burned by a fire originating from another boat, is not the boat where the fire started responsible for the damage?"

Maybe, but:
1. Usually third party culpability is sorted out among the insurance companies involved, with each insurer paying out claims on its own clients and then subrogating, ie., going after the insurance of the culpable person.
2. If the original poster in this thread had no insurance, the chance of him getting the culpable third party to pay out in any fashion are slim and none. He'd need a lawyer.

I'm not a lawyer. I'm a public insurance adjuster, ie., someone who advocates for the insured. I'm not giving advice, I'm suggesting what often happens on property insurance.

My actual advice is on any insurance with cheap premiums: Gosh, folks, if you go that route, take the time to read the actual policy, because you may not be covered for things you think are automatic. If you're lost in a sea of verbiage with a 20-page policy in eight-point type that references cryptic acronyms and numbers, see if you can pay a public adjuster in your state to look it over for you. And check it every renewal: exclusions, conditions, etc. can change.

Many of the homeowners I deal with had cheap insurance they didn't understand until they were forced by circumstances to file a claim. It's often an unhappy revelation, either because of coverage limits or peril exclusion. It's no different whether it's car, boat, trailer or home: Really cheap insurance requires due diligence.
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:42 PM   #17
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"In the case of the original post, if the boat was burned by a fire originating from another boat, is not the boat where the fire started responsible for the damage?"
Maybe, but: ......
It is necessary to show the original fire was negligently caused. Most likely it was, but bad things can happen without negligence.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:53 PM   #18
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In any case, the sunken boat owner does not have enough money to remove the boat. I'm bettin' he don't have enough money to hire a lawyer either. On contingency? Not a chance.
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:04 PM   #19
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Let's say boat A caught fire due to something negligent like leaving a stove on with bacon in a pan.. and fire investigation report reveals that. Just speculating here. And the subject uninsured boat B catches fire as a result.

Would that require a lawyer? Or could owner B simply file a claim with boat A's insurance?
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:33 AM   #20
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The cost of a burning boat may be way more that just removing your boat....See my post Titled "Boat on FIRE"!
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