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Old 09-04-2020, 10:55 AM   #1
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Super yacht damages reef and fined 100K. How do I avoid this?

In the news :

Owners of $41 million superyacht agree to pay $100,000 after dropping anchor, damaging coral reef in Hawaii

After reading this I ask these questions;
What did this yacht do wrong?
Was he anchored in a restricted area?
Did he have too much rode paid out?
Was it noted on the chart of cautions?
Can this happen to me?

I soon will be purchasing my first trawler and want to learn from this. The news article does not go into this detail and only tells the outcome. Here's the news link:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/owners-41...193924253.html
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Old 09-04-2020, 10:58 AM   #2
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Well first, they tried to anchor in coral. From what I read, they dragged a bunch, breaking off all sorts of coral heads, until they finally wised up and went deeper and dropped into sand.

So to me the lesson is don't drop in coral, which should be obvious.

BD

Here's the link that I read a couple days ago.
https://bigislandnow.com/2020/09/01/...in-kailua-bay/
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Old 09-04-2020, 11:13 AM   #3
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Curious. How deep do you normally have to go to get away from the coral and into sand?

In the PNW its all about the eel grass.
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Old 09-04-2020, 11:15 AM   #4
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Can I assume then that I am responsible for any damage my anchor causes to the sea floor? If my anchor is set in sand and weather or current drags it across a patch of coral, am I liable? Whether it is accident or negligent I would have to think I would be.
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Old 09-04-2020, 11:31 AM   #5
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Can I assume then that I am responsible for any damage my anchor causes to the sea floor? If my anchor is set in sand and weather or current drags it across a patch of coral, am I liable? Whether it is accident or negligent I would have to think I would be.
I think only if it's an MPA (Marine Protected Area). But I'm not an expert in this.
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Old 09-04-2020, 12:08 PM   #6
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Can I assume then that I am responsible for any damage my anchor causes to the sea floor? If my anchor is set in sand and weather or current drags it across a patch of coral, am I liable? Whether it is accident or negligent I would have to think I would be.
There is a big difference in the eyes of the court between "Intentional" and "Accidental". A storm has you dragging your anchor versus "That dark spot looks like secure bottom". Starting in designated anchorages until you get good, is a safer way to start.

Ted
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Old 09-04-2020, 12:10 PM   #7
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Curious. How deep do you normally have to go to get away from the coral and into sand?

In the PNW its all about the eel grass.
It depends where you are. Coral reefs in the Caribbean and South Pacific can go down hundreds of feet.

Ted
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Old 09-04-2020, 02:08 PM   #8
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We'll, that's it. I'm selling my superyacht and going back to a pontoon boat.

No way I'm spending my superyacht liquor budget on anchoring fines.
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Old 09-04-2020, 02:21 PM   #9
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We bareboated in Belize a few years back and the much of the checkout consisted of explaining how to identify coral and don't anchor in it, or in a way where you'd drag into it.
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Old 09-04-2020, 03:10 PM   #10
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Its why I am a fan of opencpn and the ability to do geo-referenced satellite overlays.

Easy to see the reef, even in the dark.
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Old 09-04-2020, 04:35 PM   #11
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Yes if you drag you can be fined. I know of a boat that had this problem. It’s called Anchor Watch. Sorry no excuses accepted
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Old 09-04-2020, 07:32 PM   #12
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I'm no expert, but when I have boated in the tropics in coral areas (which are generally nice places to boat, especially if you like to dive and snorkel), we took a lot of care to not anchor in coral. At that point (twenty years ago) we were not thinking of fines, but of damaging the coral we loved.

Fortunately, at least in our size boat (not a superyacht), coral area anchoring is usually reasonably shallow, and also the water is clear. General rule of thumb was to only move the boat in the morning or mid-day because in the afternoon it can be very hard to see into the water due to glare (so you can run aground in addition to it being harder to see where you are anchoring).

Some areas are big and sandy, so it's fairly obvious. In other places we had someone on the bow calling out where would be a good spot to drop the hook (once we had already identified a general area). If things didn't look good vis-a-vis coral after settling, we'd move and get a better spot. Not only would it damage coral to have your anchor or chain running over it, but I think it could be noisy and unpleasant.

We also usually took a swim to check out the set, but then we were there to swim and enjoy the water anyway. We learned quite a bit about our anchor and setting technique, because in our home waters these things were not possible to see in real time.

Another factor that may work in your favor (but is I'm sure location and season dependent) is that there may be consistent trade winds where you are in the tropics. That can make the boat's motion while you are anchored more predictable.

Long story short, move boat in later morning or mid-day but not later (so you can see into the water), choose a sandy spot, and keep an eye on things (coral water has always been clear water when I have encountered it, although obviously I have not boated everywhere).

I think modern anchors could make this process easier. With our old CQR (which was modern back then ) it sometimes took a bit of distance to set, making prediction a bit more of an art.
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Old 09-05-2020, 11:56 AM   #13
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All of this input is good common sense most of us practice now. What I can't get my head around is a $41 million dollar yachts captain allowed this to happen. Drunk, absent? His teenage son borrowed the boat?
The news said the boat was owned by a wealth management firm. My best guess is a celebration took place and it involved the captain. After a night of debauchery with women and rum, he woke up to the police surrounding his boat. I can relate to that... but he should have had an anchor watch which he clearly did not.
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Old 09-05-2020, 12:54 PM   #14
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We were hired to dig up thousands of yards of coral in Jamaica.Took it all out into 3500' of water and dumped it, 4000 yards at a time.
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Old 09-14-2020, 01:54 PM   #15
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After 2 years anchoring in the Bahamas and Caribbean....

We would all like to anchor in big sandy patches with no coral in sight. Unfortunately, that seldom happens especially in the islands of the Caribbean. You simply do the best you can to anchor in areas of sand - some small. Many times anchor chain will lie over coral and as you swing in response to wind and currents will drag over coral or occasionally get caught or wrap around a small coral head. You own a boat and anchor in the Caribbean you will unavoidably and unfortunately damage coral otherwise use marinas if you can find one (non in the Grenadines).

There are designated areas (MPA) that anchoring is prohibited or restricted to designated sites (i.e., mooring balls) to protect this environment and other areas designated for anchoring. For example, areas outside St. George’s Harbor in Grenada. These areas as determined by island officials may be subject to fines for non-compliance.
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