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Old 12-05-2017, 10:18 AM   #1
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Dockmaster Help in Florida

All,

I'm a dock master at a small local marina associated with a private club and need some guidance.

We have one tenant that's in a transient slip and long overdo for moving, but he's waiting for one of our slips that we are adding a cat walk to. However, the lack of the cat walk won't prevent him from docking there, but just won't have easy access to one side.

We really need the transient slip open for other activities and he is not moving, nor has he paid he docking fees.... and it's starting to get old.

What are my options to get the boat moved? And, if I have it moved by a third party, what are my obligations?

Just looking for some general guidance, and hope that this will not become a legal thing, but have run out of time and patience.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:49 AM   #2
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"We really need the transient slip open for other activities and he is not moving, nor has he paid he docking fees.... and it's starting to get old."

Where we are the docking agreement clearly identifies what will happen if payment(s) are not received and/or current.
On many of the docks here that would eventually include holding the boat for payment(s) which has been used but only in rare cases.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:55 AM   #3
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I guess I'm a little surprised that you don't already have some procedure in place for this type of thing. Of course, the first thing to do is to read and completely understand whatever contract you have in place for transient boats.

In any case, my guess is that you could file a mechanics lien against the boat for non-payment. That is what you should look into. Then send a letter notifying the owner that you will file such a lien if the fees are not paid, and the boat moved, by such-and-such a date.

Unless the contract specifies that you are authorized to move the boat yourself in this situation, I would be very hesitant to do so.

Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:56 AM   #4
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All,

I'm a dock master at a small local marina associated with a private club and need some guidance.

We have one tenant that's in a transient slip and long overdo for moving, but he's waiting for one of our slips that we are adding a cat walk to. However, the lack of the cat walk won't prevent him from docking there, but just won't have easy access to one side.

We really need the transient slip open for other activities and he is not moving, nor has he paid he docking fees.... and it's starting to get old.

What are my options to get the boat moved? And, if I have it moved by a third party, what are my obligations?

Just looking for some general guidance, and hope that this will not become a legal thing, but have run out of time and patience.
It already is a legal thing. First, what signed documents do you have? Typically a dock lease or rental gives you the right to relocate the boat within the marina. If you have such, then fine for you to tow it to the other location. If you don't, then get legal advice before touching it. You probably still have the right to move it, but this is just the type customer to claim damage or claim they don't owe money since they were moved to an unfinished dock. Whatever you do, accompany all moves by photos before and after.

As to payment, I again don't know what your contract or agreement stipulates. However, there are very specific procedures for placing a lien on a boat in a marina and even locking it. Get legal advice and do things by the book. The attorney who drew up your contracts or agreements should be knowledgeable in this area.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:15 AM   #5
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Best advice, contact an attorney so as to keep your butt and the marina's butt out of court.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:16 AM   #6
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Thanks for the good replies.

I inherited this one. One of the former officers at the club made the deal with the boat owner, unknown to me, and didn't use my form, in fact there may be no agreement other than verbal, just don't know, yet. I rewrote the form to put us in a very good spot should things like this happen. So, I'm kinda stuck for now.

I like the group and want to make it better and minimize stuff like this in the future.

My goal is to solve this with minimal hassle, and would like to solve this without any nasty feelings, which may be hard at this time. I've got a call into the boat owner, hoping to come to some conclusion, and meeting with board members later today.

Just looking for all options.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:18 AM   #7
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Best advice, contact an attorney so as to keep your butt and the marina's butt out of court.
Good ides, but once that happens we all end up in court and both sides loose. The guy owes $800 and the attorney would cost more than that. Will check to see if one of our members is an attorney and can give advise.

Hoping for a better solution.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:31 AM   #8
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Good ides, but once that happens we all end up in court and both sides loose. The guy owes $800 and the attorney would cost more than that. Will check to see if one of our members is an attorney and can give advise.

Hoping for a better solution.
Careful with board members. If their opinions aren't legally based, they may be wrong. As to the attorney, if you have an attorney who won't give you 30 minutes of legal advice for less than $800, then you need a new one. A good attorney doesn't get you in court, but prevents you having to go there. Your first question is simple. Can you legally move the boat to the other slip? What next can be deferred for the moment. With no agreement, ability to place a lien is probably not there. Right now though you just want him out of the transient area. I suspect as a practical matter, you're likely ok to tow the boat to the other slip as long as you protect it very well there. As to ever collecting the $800, you likely only will if he wants to stay there. Otherwise he'll sometime fade gently during the night.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:33 AM   #9
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Does the guy need water and electricity?

Turn it off if he does and doest pay. Give him a couple day or week notice of your intentions.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:41 AM   #10
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Does the guy need water and electricity?

Turn it off if he does and doest pay. Give him a couple day or week notice of your intentions.
Not without legal advice. That can be highly illegal and at the very least make you liable for any damage. That's something landlords have tried and lost big time in doing so.
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:03 PM   #11
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I too am Dockmaster at our Dockominium and Yacht Club.
Take it to the board and get their instructions in writing.
Then carry them out to the letter.
Your board of Directors has, or should have, Director's Insurance but you don't.
CYA in the above manner.
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:48 PM   #12
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I own a rental dock, so I guess I am the dockmaster here. Nothing like a face to face meeting to discuss the issue.

1. He owes for dockage. We need payment for the amount due, can we get a check right now?

2. We need to move your boat to the other slip. Is there an issue with that? When can we do it?

Move forward based on his responses. No atty needed for this. Yet.

Since you have a board to deal with, discuss with them first.
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:07 PM   #13
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Not without legal advice. That can be highly illegal and at the very least make you liable for any damage. That's something landlords have tried and lost big time in doing so.
Bet it would not be a big deal if he were not a liveaboard.....claim maintenance....and state so.

Just like evictions are a big deal.....probably not at a marina if he is not a luveaboard without a written contract.

My narina turns off power and water all the time without prior notice.

Just turn it off enough to be annoying, not permanently....may shake some money loose.
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:34 PM   #14
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Bet it would not be a big deal if he were not a liveaboard.....claim maintenance....and state so.

Just like evictions are a big deal.....probably not at a marina if he is not a luveaboard without a written contract.

My narina turns off power and water all the time without prior notice.

Just turn it off enough to be annoying, not permanently....may shake some money loose.
Well, turn off power, all his food spoils. Your responsibility. Boat has a small leak and bilge pumps don't work, boat sinks. Your responsibility. Very dangerous games to start playing.

No contract so who is to say he's in default? When is payment due and when late and what are the provisions? Plus the slip he wants isn't ready. He could say he was just waiting and didn't think there was rent until his slip was ready. Seavee inherited this mess but it's a very sloppy way to do business and one must be careful to stay within the law in addressing it.

Now, in Florida a possessory lien is established when the boat is first brought there for storage. Satisfying that lien first requires notification of the owner in writing either delivered in person or by certified mail. They also must notify anyone else with a lien on the boat such as a mortgage company. Then there are specific forms for getting a judgement and proceeding to sell the boat. That's the procedure for dealing with non paying boat owners. Hard to prove they're in default though when there is no rental agreement.
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:48 PM   #15
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Sounds like up to this point there is nothing in writing that says he needs to do anything.
Perhaps notifying the owner in writing of his/her responsibilities will at least get the clock rolling should you want/need to pursue this otherwise.
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Old 12-05-2017, 02:09 PM   #16
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If nothing in writing, probably can do nothing through the legal process.

You can confront him directly and tell him he owes $800 for past dockage. Sounds like there was a verbal contract. Be nice about it and do not discuss moving to the other slip, yet. If he refuses he is a POS. Options are limited there, and you may just have to send him on his way and eat the $800.
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:58 PM   #17
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If it isn't in writing it didn't happen. I agree with the initial attempt at phone contact, but I would follow it up with polite weekly letters. It's difficult to undo BOD past actions but you can start the paper trail today in case it drags on.
I am guessing that he has contracted annual fees for a slip (under construction) but hasn't paid the bill. That is a problem for the treasurer not the dockmaster. I am also guessing that he hasn't moved because the promised catwalk hasn't been completed. That's a problem for the dockmaster.
Finish the catwalk.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:05 PM   #18
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Sounds like up to this point there is nothing in writing that says he needs to do anything.
Perhaps notifying the owner in writing of his/her responsibilities will at least get the clock rolling should you want/need to pursue this otherwise.
Certified mail, return receipt requested.

Document, document, document all contacts, attempted contacts indicating the date, time, subjects discussed and copies of all correspondence and attempted contacts.

You may not be able to do much if anything about the past but you sure can document going forward. Verbal contracts can be denied. Some are willing to commit perjury in an attempt to avoid paying a bill.

Of course, you can increase the dockage fees, electric fees too aka a surcharge to maintain the wiring.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:11 PM   #19
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I own a rental dock, so I guess I am the dockmaster here. Nothing like a face to face meeting to discuss the issue.

1. He owes for dockage. We need payment for the amount due, can we get a check right now?

2. We need to move your boat to the other slip. Is there an issue with that? When can we do it?

Move forward based on his responses. No atty needed for this. Yet.

Since you have a board to deal with, discuss with them first.


I would second this.
Start to have a good adult calm talk with the boat owner and be clear about the non payment and boat move. It cost nothing to first talk, then if no cooperation you can look at something more.

L
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:32 PM   #20
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I would use his future slip as leverage.

"you know.....you want that slip over there....but your payment history isn't the best......If your account is squared away in 7 days, that slip goes to the next person on the wait list...."
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