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Old 11-18-2020, 08:15 PM   #1
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Shipping On Freighter Contract Questions

Question for those of you who have done shipments of yachts on transport ships such as Seven Star, United, DYT etc.

In reading through the contract it appears they assume absolutely no liability at all. The contract I received from one of the shippers is very much for CYA of the shipper and gives no protection to the yacht owner at all. If they drop the boat out of the slings the slings it's on the owner. If they don't lash it down or set the supports correctly and the boat gets damaged, it's on the owner. Etc, etc.

Are you expected to assume all the liability for this? In all my years in business I have never seen such a lopsided contract.

Am I missing something, or am I just that naive?

I appreciate any input from others who have done this form of transport as it's all new to me and pretty unsettling.

Thanks,
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Old 11-18-2020, 09:28 PM   #2
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I have not done it, but that is what I have read. You have to get special insurance so that you are covered, they take no liability at all, even if they are grossly negligent.
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Old 11-18-2020, 09:35 PM   #3
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Nearest contract is those movers use where the assume no liability other than their $0.60 per pound or so. Basically they both tell you the same thing and that is to get insurance, lots of it, all you can. In terms of damage, you must look at the combination of the contract and your insurance and decide if you feel protected.

Then there is one other risk that you need some protection on, especially on shippers other than Seven Star and DYT, and that is the situation of them failing to pay the shipper. Seven Star and DYT usually use their own vessels. United and others don't own vessels. United's predecessor was Yacht Path and they failed to pay shippers so the boats were arrested and to get the boat released owners had to pay the second time.
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Old 11-18-2020, 10:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, next call appears to be with my insurance broker. Glad to hear that at least this is normal for the industry. It’s a complicated process, especially with Covid and having to bring the boat from Anacortes to Canada and getting down to Mexico to pick it up.

Wish me luck....
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Old 11-18-2020, 10:36 PM   #5
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There is another thread going now that the poster talks about different ways to move your boat across country. He talks about shipping on a freighter. Do a search and watch his video. Good info.
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:20 AM   #6
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I moved my boat this way and your interpretation of the contract is correct. When I was shopping for a carrier, I requested the proposed contract along with the quote. I reviewed contracts from 3 sources and they were all terrible and completely one-sided. I work with contracts of every type in my business and these shipper contracts were among the worst I have ever seen.

They are entirely in favor of the shipper. If one of the deck crew cuts your boat loose and pushes it over the side in the middle of the ocean, they are literally not liable per their contract. The system relies on the insurance carrier taking on most of the responsibility (less the deductible). They shipper typically provides the coverage through a third-party insurance company. While it is possible to replace or supplement the coverage with outside insurance, I think most go with the provided coverage.Typical deductible is 1% of the value of the boat, so you still have some risk if things go south.
When you get quotes, pay attention to the insurance terms that they include in pricing. I got one quote that included insurance with a 1/2% deductible and the others were 1%.

BandB’s point about the risk of the shipper defaulting is a good one. The risk is probably low with the major players, but it is not zero and the downside is big.

One last thought regarding the liability issue. If you have minor (but significant) damage, which is a common occurrence, your only leverage is the shipper’s desire to maintain a respectable reputation. Even though the contract doesn’t require the shipper to help or pay for damage, they sometimes will as a PR effort so they don’t scare away future customers.

I really didn’t like the process at all just because it is so one-sided in the shipper’s favor. Substantial schedule delays are to be expected and minor damage to your boat is common. In our case, it was the least bad of our options so we went ahead with it. The boat ended up where it needed to be and our minor damage was corrected after many weeks. I would only ship a boat again if there were no other viable options.
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by guy with a boat View Post
I moved my boat this way and your interpretation of the contract is correct. When I was shopping for a carrier, I requested the proposed contract along with the quote. I reviewed contracts from 3 sources and they were all terrible and completely one-sided. I work with contracts of every type in my business and these shipper contracts were among the worst I have ever seen.

They are entirely in favor of the shipper. If one of the deck crew cuts your boat loose and pushes it over the side in the middle of the ocean, they are literally not liable per their contract. The system relies on the insurance carrier taking on most of the responsibility (less the deductible). They shipper typically provides the coverage through a third-party insurance company. While it is possible to replace or supplement the coverage with outside insurance, I think most go with the provided coverage.Typical deductible is 1% of the value of the boat, so you still have some risk if things go south.
When you get quotes, pay attention to the insurance terms that they include in pricing. I got one quote that included insurance with a 1/2% deductible and the others were 1%.

BandBís point about the risk of the shipper defaulting is a good one. The risk is probably low with the major players, but it is not zero and the downside is big.

One last thought regarding the liability issue. If you have minor (but significant) damage, which is a common occurrence, your only leverage is the shipperís desire to maintain a respectable reputation. Even though the contract doesnít require the shipper to help or pay for damage, they sometimes will as a PR effort so they donít scare away future customers.

I really didnít like the process at all just because it is so one-sided in the shipperís favor. Substantial schedule delays are to be expected and minor damage to your boat is common. In our case, it was the least bad of our options so we went ahead with it. The boat ended up where it needed to be and our minor damage was corrected after many weeks. I would only ship a boat again if there were no other viable options.
There are two very different levels of performance. Seven Star and DYT, owned by Seven Star perform relatively close to schedule and they are decent to deal with. They also make it clear that the insurance is necessary and put it on 90% of their contracts.

Many of the others are months late and occasionally don't make the trip at all. Worse situation is your boat only makes it part way. Again, from my knowledge and experience, Seven Star and DYT perform best.

That is with one exception. Many builders have long standing relationships with their own carriers who do an excellent job and have long term business riding on it. However, these are specific carriers for those builders from those locations, so likely not available to most people. They are also not really boat carriers as such but the builders do an excellent job of building a cradle and the boat ships on that. If your boat is going on deck of a freighter, cradles built just for your boat are, in my opinion, much better than stands being improvised on deck.
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Old 11-19-2020, 01:01 AM   #8
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OP - Iím not sure what you are buying but are you moving a boat from Anacortes to the West coat of Mexico or San Diego? Lots of very good delivery captains happy to make that delivery on her own bottom. Iíd much prefer that route over a freighter for west coast transport.
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Old 11-19-2020, 01:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bradenvlp View Post
OP - Iím not sure what you are buying but are you moving a boat from Anacortes to the West coat of Mexico or San Diego? Lots of very good delivery captains happy to make that delivery on her own bottom. Iíd much prefer that route over a freighter for west coast transport.
Would help to know what kind of boat and from and to where.
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:17 AM   #10
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I used three times Starclass Yacht Transport to ship my boats to and from the Netherlands to Croatia. Twice a President 385 Sundeck and the last time a Beneteau ST 52. Starr Class provided an insurance which covered all the possibles issues. The journey went very smoothly with no problems. The schedule is nearly as tight as the Dutch railways. Even in the Covid-19 period in Croatia the local agent provided a licensed skipper who transported the motoryacht from the marina to the carrier. First time was a bit exciting because it was all new to me.
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:52 AM   #11
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Sevenstar is in the Splieltof Group. Due to the size of that group and their experience I would put their default risk very low. In addition to the insurance / damage concerns raised by other posters is the schedule working under Covid restrictions. You will make full payment in advance of the shipment, if you miss the load out date you will still be out the full amount. Under the best of circumstances the schedule is fluid. My experience was 4 days laying Rotterdam, this was after many weeks of the departure port and date shifting. Then 2 weeks in West Palm Beach Fl, the boat had to be offloaded from the 1st ship and loaded onto the next. And finally 4 days in Victoria BC as the transport ship lay at anchor before moving to Ogden Pt to unload. Once load / unload date and time are committed you will be on short notice standby to move or receive the boat. In my experience the shortest time was 6 hrs, the longest 36 hrs. Covid with border restrictions and quarantine adds to that challenge. I would consider hiring a professional delivery captain who has worked out the border crossing wrinkles on the Anacortes to Vancover end. If you can get into Mx well in advance of the ship's arrival you can easily do that end yourself.
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Old 11-19-2020, 09:24 AM   #12
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That is exactly what we are seeing, as we discuss shipping options from Europe to the PNW:

First you have to navigate the various local EU travel restrictions to make it in time to your loading port
Then you have to trans-ship in FL, which can mean a 24h to 3 weeks stopover Ė the boat handled by a local agency, as the EU owner plus crew is not allowed into the US at this time
In Victoria BC you have to again work with an agency, because even if you are allowed into CAN, there is a mandatory 14 day quarantine

Peters & May appears to be a very reputable shipping company as well, used by high profile yachts and regatta events for decades.

We have put our PNW cruising plans on hold for the time being, as even the delivery via North Atlantic route, as originally planned, is closed for pleasure cruisers at this time.
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Old 11-19-2020, 10:41 AM   #13
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Shipped my boat from St. Lucia to Newport RI with seven seas due to covid. As part of initial arrangements took the the liability contract they suggested. Also contacted my usual insurance (Concepts Special Risk). Had a owners operated contract with them. Then due to being 2000nm away from my boat incurred two additional expenses. One for a captain and one crew to be available and sail the boat to the ship. Second to insure them separately for that and any time they spent on the ship or being transported off the ship back to land. Your third additional expense is arranging clearance at both ends. You hire shipping brokers for that and some are rip off artists so shop around.
On the other end I took acceptance of my boat. That meant the ships shore boat picked me at the Hinckley yard (needed permission for that beforehand) and took me to the ship. Getting on the ship was scary. You climb up rickety boarding stairs and better not be scared of heights or movement. Then you crawl through a maze of obstacles (don’t wear good clothes) to finally climb up another really rickety ladder to get on your boat. Eventually they put slings around your boat and crane you off. You’re inches from a huge heavy steel structure so better hope your engine(s) start up. We had the tanks filled before loading and changed out filters. Then you’d better have good small boat handling skills to get away if there’s any sea running.
Was also told by friends to wax the boat before leaving. Apparently you can get a lot of soot and salt. We had no soot but an amazing amount of salt. Finally told to act like you were going on passage and really secure things.
All in all it was a weird experience. $25k for seven seas and shipping insurance.Another $2k for the other stuff. But now told got off cheap with St.Lucia labor costs v elsewhere and a bit of negotiating. Boat had no injuries. But a bit stressful as the ship left 2 days earlier than scheduled as they wanted to get ahead of a hurricane. Then sat in Ft.Lauderdale. But delivery date was spot on.
I would have no reluctance to do it again if stuck like we were due to covid. Give seven seas +1.
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy with a boat View Post
I moved my boat this way and your interpretation of the contract is correct. When I was shopping for a carrier, I requested the proposed contract along with the quote. I reviewed contracts from 3 sources and they were all terrible and completely one-sided. I work with contracts of every type in my business and these shipper contracts were among the worst I have ever seen.

They are entirely in favor of the shipper. If one of the deck crew cuts your boat loose and pushes it over the side in the middle of the ocean, they are literally not liable per their contract. The system relies on the insurance carrier taking on most of the responsibility (less the deductible). They shipper typically provides the coverage through a third-party insurance company. While it is possible to replace or supplement the coverage with outside insurance, I think most go with the provided coverage.Typical deductible is 1% of the value of the boat, so you still have some risk if things go south.
When you get quotes, pay attention to the insurance terms that they include in pricing. I got one quote that included insurance with a 1/2% deductible and the others were 1%.

BandBís point about the risk of the shipper defaulting is a good one. The risk is probably low with the major players, but it is not zero and the downside is big.

One last thought regarding the liability issue. If you have minor (but significant) damage, which is a common occurrence, your only leverage is the shipperís desire to maintain a respectable reputation. Even though the contract doesnít require the shipper to help or pay for damage, they sometimes will as a PR effort so they donít scare away future customers.

I really didnít like the process at all just because it is so one-sided in the shipperís favor. Substantial schedule delays are to be expected and minor damage to your boat is common. In our case, it was the least bad of our options so we went ahead with it. The boat ended up where it needed to be and our minor damage was corrected after many weeks. I would only ship a boat again if there were no other viable options.
Thanks for the reply, very helpful.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradenvlp View Post
OP - Iím not sure what you are buying but are you moving a boat from Anacortes to the West coat of Mexico or San Diego? Lots of very good delivery captains happy to make that delivery on her own bottom. Iíd much prefer that route over a freighter for west coast transport.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Would help to know what kind of boat and from and to where.
This is my Lindell 36 shown in my avitar. I have a quote from Sevenstar which is very reasonable, maybe only a few thousand more than the cost of hiring a delivery captain, crew and factoring in all costs. I also would prefer not to run the boat that long and along such a forbidding coast when it's still not fully tested. It's a solid boat and I'm sure cane make it OK, but it is a little on the small side for such a journey. I've put on 100 hours so far and things seem good, but I still planned to factor in $2,000 along the trip for unknown repairs. Then plan for a few days layover for bad weather and things add up. For a few thousand more it seems better to ship it, especially this time of year with unpredictable weather. Trucking quote was $19K since they need to go through Nevada due to height. Sevenstar quote was $12K plus $1,200 for the cross-border captain shuttle. I figured bringing it on it's own bottom to Santa Barbara to be around $10K, maybe a little less if things go well. I would plan to wait till spring if bringing it down on it's own bottom and with Covid restrictions and the cold weather this means I won't be able to use the boat for months (it's winterized at the moment). Weather in San Diego is beautiful and we could be boating most weekends. Life is short and I'm not a patient man.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Portage_Bay View Post
Sevenstar is in the Splieltof Group. Due to the size of that group and their experience I would put their default risk very low. In addition to the insurance / damage concerns raised by other posters is the schedule working under Covid restrictions. You will make full payment in advance of the shipment, if you miss the load out date you will still be out the full amount. Under the best of circumstances the schedule is fluid. My experience was 4 days laying Rotterdam, this was after many weeks of the departure port and date shifting. Then 2 weeks in West Palm Beach Fl, the boat had to be offloaded from the 1st ship and loaded onto the next. And finally 4 days in Victoria BC as the transport ship lay at anchor before moving to Ogden Pt to unload. Once load / unload date and time are committed you will be on short notice standby to move or receive the boat. In my experience the shortest time was 6 hrs, the longest 36 hrs. Covid with border restrictions and quarantine adds to that challenge. I would consider hiring a professional delivery captain who has worked out the border crossing wrinkles on the Anacortes to Vancover end. If you can get into Mx well in advance of the ship's arrival you can easily do that end yourself.
I have a US delivery captain lined up and he has a Canadian captain he coordinates with. The US captain takes the boat to Victoria and docks it at a marina, he then goes straight to the airport and flies home. The Canadian captain takes the boat to the ship when called for. They have done this routine many times over the past months so it seems to be well sorted.
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:15 AM   #15
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Finally would mention. I fart dust but am reasonably fit. If you’re not hire some hands to take delivery. I had two salty friends with me so didn’t need to hire anyone. But having 3 was worthwhile.
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:18 AM   #16
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Finally would mention. I fart dust but am reasonably fit. If youíre not hire some hands to take delivery. I had two salty friends with me so didnít need to hire anyone. But having 3 was worthwhile.
I would love to do it and have friends who have offered to join but unfortunately I don't have the time.
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:40 AM   #17
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Hippocampus in post #13 gives a great overview. I will note that my experience with Sevenstar is they didn't want me on the ships. I was taken off the boat by shore boat after the slings were in place and I had the boat secured. Similar on the other end. I was delivered to the boat by shore boat. I did need to get aboard in Fl but getting permission was a challenge. It was as dirty and challenging as Hippocampus says.

Have extra keys made and on hand. The FL to Victoria BC load master wanted keys on his ship. Your delivery caps will need keys too. Make sure your boat is ready to be quickly secured at load out and quickly started up at launch. Any time of day, any weather. Remember Sevenstar tolerates no delays caused by you or your hired caps and crew.

While I state concerns and list delays I have only good things to say about Sevenstar's load masters, rigging crews and ship's crew. What they do in short order is very impressive.
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Old 11-19-2020, 01:32 PM   #18
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I'm involved in one right now thats heading towards a $400k claim.
it's shaping up to be an ugly fight.
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:14 PM   #19
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And part of the United group which succeeded bankrupt Yacht Path is now operating as a new company, Cross Chartering Yacht Transport. The history goes on and on. Are the successor companies different?
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:31 PM   #20
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I shipped on Yacht Path about 20 years ago, from Ensenada to Nanaimo BC fortunately before they collapsed and the boats on board held hostage. The insurance issues have been covered above, but a practical concern is that your boat will probably be covered by heavy salt scale and diesel soot at its destination like mine was. A cover or shrink wrap would be a good plan and is what I'd do next time around.
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