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Old 23-03-2014, 16:31   #1
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Collisions and bumps... how are they settled?

When boats bump in the night... how is it settled?
(or in the day)

Im very interested in real (not hypothetical) stories of how incidents are resolved when cruisers connect and create some kind of damage.

When racing, there are established protocols, and intermediaries, and its all a bit easier to deal with - but when cruising, what happens - in reality?

I've never had to deal with hitting someone, or having someone else hit me, but chances are, it will happen... I know there's a myriad of possibilities, and the extent of damages can range dramatically, and often repairs wont be effected until long after the incident.


So, how have you dealt with it when you've been caught playing bumper boats?
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Old 23-03-2014, 16:40   #2
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

In many cases the state vehicle license laws apply: over a certain $$, you have to stop and exchange info and insurance.

At least on the water if there's a hit-and-run, unless you're a sailboat hit by a go fast, you have a better chance of catching up!
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Old 23-03-2014, 16:51   #3
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

So, no-fault rules apply?
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Old 23-03-2014, 17:17   #4
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

Depends on the situation, the extent of the damage, and whether one or both of the boats has insurance.

If you get damaged by a local boat in another country, the odds of you collecting anything from them are low. I have a friend who was anchored off a Turkish town one night (with anchor lights) and was hit by a local boat who did not expect him there. The Turkish skipper said 'I have no money to pay for the damage, but I'll help you fix it', and he did.

The majority of incidents result in minor damage, and its more trouble than its worth to go after the other boat. I made the mistake in St Augustine one day of helping my neighbor release his lines instead of staying on my boat to fend off. The idiot was going to clear me until he pushed his bow thruster the wrong way, and he bent a stanchion. He didn't stop and I had a collection of extra stanchions, so I let him go. Similarly most anchor-dragging incidents result in a bit of scraping and/or pulpit dings, and are not worth pursuing.

Don't paint your boat prior to cruising, paint it afterwards. Otherwise you will be screaming at the canoes and local boats rather than letting them come alongside to chat and trade.
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Old 23-03-2014, 17:26   #5
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Don't paint your boat prior to cruising, paint it afterwards. Otherwise you will be screaming at the canoes and local boats rather than letting them come alongside to chat and trade.
Good stories, and a nice piece of advice. I'll remember that one.
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Old 27-03-2014, 17:10   #6
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

OK - did i post this in the wrong place, or is nobody interested in talking about this stuff...

...or perhaps, has everything that needs to be said, been said?
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Old 27-03-2014, 18:00   #7
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are they settled?

Really all depends, you can bump a $20k boat or a $700k boat. The owner of the $700k might be super cool and be fine with it, say no big deal. Or the guy with the mastless liveaboard total junk could make a huge stink and try to take you for all he can. Personalities have a lot to do with it . I believe if the damage is over $1000 a CG report must be filed, on a nice boat this is a very easy threshold to meet. A dragging scenario in a packed anchorage is the meeting of many personalities and economic levels. Could be nothing, could be your worst day ever. On either end really.
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Old 27-03-2014, 18:17   #8
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

Yup, thats why im really interested in peoples 1st hand (or even 2nd hand) stories...
Im also interested in events both inside and outside the USA because Im planning on spending next year sailing the coconut milk run.

Its interesting to consider the $1,000 threshold for a CG report.
I wonder how many cruisers have third party liability insurance.

I was in a bay recently where several boats dragged in the night, including my closest neighbor who ended up being fended off by a brand spanking new 60 footer who could be found later that morning anchored half way out to sea.


Its something I've been pondering for a while now... I wonder how cruisers deal with this in real life. I suppose local law comes into play if the parties cant come to some amicable resolution.


I want stories!
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Old 27-03-2014, 19:06   #9
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

My last time in the Marquesas, we were tagged twice in one evening by two different larger boats than us. We were cruising on our wood hulled Herrshoff so was always more than a little careful about anyone coming too close and damaging the top sides. The Macgregor 65 dragged into us first and we spent an hour or two helping the single handed gent extricate himself from our anchor. When we got his anchor up as he layed alongside us we found he had an homemade 15 +/- kg Danforth on that large boat. He assuaged us and others later in the anchorage with 100 dollar bills. Our only damage was we lost a stbd. nav light and a bit of paint.
The second incident was with an Oyster 55 that dragged down on us later that night with only a young inexperienced mother aboard. Again, little damage an although I was tempted to accept their cash offer for any damage, we realized it was just paint.
Generally , we have found most cruisers mortified to damage anyone else's boat, and always quick to offer a bottle of wine or whatever to smooth things out. In a more serious circumstance though where perhaps more damage is done than a few scrapes involving perhaps boats of different nationalities and in a foreign country, I am not sure what could happen as far as claims/lawsuits etc.
My new boat is plated in 9mm/3/8 in. unpainted aluminum partly for that reason.
cheers , Greg
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Old 27-03-2014, 19:14   #10
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
... Don't paint your boat prior to cruising, paint it afterwards. Otherwise you will be screaming at the canoes and local boats rather than letting them come alongside to chat and trade.
I always snicker when I see a new-used boat owner diving into painting and cosmetics before going sailing. I paint my boat before I sell it. Cruising is about being comfortable going there and not yelling at the kids if the dingy bumps the topsides.

And when boats bump in a crowded anchorage, how in the h___ are you going to document who shouldn't have been there? Or even who dragged?
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Old 27-03-2014, 19:56   #11
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

Been hit once by a powerboat, they stopped and apologized and offered insurance info etc, our tenders outboard was up and the skeg did more damage to their boat than to ours, they basically flattend a fender and that was all.
Another time on a Mono long ago, we had a drunk skipper stop infront of us in a very narrow channel of which we were CBD the wind was blowing 30+ knots across channel and we slowed to 1 knot of head way just to maintain steerage blowing warnings at him, to which he didnt know what to do. Rather than collide we grounded on the rocks bordering the channel. We could not maintain steerage in reverse with the wind and prop walk etc. The power boat panicked and hauled A$$, we got his FL #, then his wake caused even more damage, We filed a report and his insurance company actualy paid for haulout and fixing prop etc, We actually got pictures of him when he took off heading across shallow rocks throwing up spray and trashing his lower units and props. His insurance company was actually thankful, (pretty sure they denied his claim) Fwc officer said he was stupid drunk when he got to his house but nothing he could as no one could prove he was drunk while driving. Still a Pain in the ,,, but at least the damage wasnt too bad. The boat yard did how ever make an absolute killing on the deal and raped the guys insurance company. He said next time we needed a haul out it was on them,,,,
Another time we had a kid on a rental jet ski plow into us at a fuel dock, had the damage been worse we would have contacted the rental company and gotten their insurance issue.
Then offshore we had a 120+' megayacht crossing from starboard who should have crossed 1/2 mile away, change course and cross our bows about 50 ft away going 20+ knots throwing up a huge wake. He has been the only person I have cursed out vehemently on the VHF. It was as if they intentionaly turned into us offshore. We were going a whopping 5 knots.
Come to think of it, most of the issues we have had have been with power boaters.
what does that tell you,,,,,,,
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Old 28-03-2014, 16:01   #12
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

When we were cruising in Mexico, we bought a Mexican Liability Insurance Policy on top of our current boat policy. It was redundant, but only $250 US a year. The reason was that the Mexicans have Napoleonic Law and you might end up in jail if someone was hurt during a collision, regardless who is at fault. At least with a Spanish written policy and a local Insurance Company, that reduced your risk of jail some.

Throughout Central America it was a different story... No one seemed to care and most small fishing boats (Under 30 feet) had no running lights or insurance.

We had several close calls in the middle of the night with fishing boats and sleeping crews. One small fishing boat actually slid down the side of our sailboat... I guess we woke them up, because they started apologizing in Spanish as we passed. Scared the crap out of all of us.

Also we were in Central America during the rainy season and on three different occasions we struck floating debris during night passages... One was a floating tree about 40 feet long with a huge root ball. No damages, but a hell of a noise on a quite night.

So things do go bump in the night, but god seems to look after sailors and fools!!!
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Old 28-03-2014, 17:04   #13
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

A few years ago, I was the skipper on a boat from a sailing association and I made a mistake in St Helier (Jersey) when the engine lever came out of its socket: I was too close from another French yacht and I couldn't put the transmission in astern, so our bow struck the other boat transom.

I made an accident report, explaining what had happened and what the damage was on both boats. I gave one copy to the owner and another to the association.

Afterwards, the owner contacted the association with a quotation from a boatyard for the repairs (770€). I don't know whether the association paid or activated its third-party insurance.

Alain
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Old 28-03-2014, 21:55   #14
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Re: Collisions and bumps... how are they settled?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horror Hotel View Post
Really all depends, you can bump a $20k boat or a $700k boat. The owner of the $700k might be super cool and be fine with it, say no big deal. Or the guy with the mastless liveaboard total junk could make a huge stink and try to take you for all he can. Personalities have a lot to do with it . I believe if the damage is over $1000 a CG report must be filed, on a nice boat this is a very easy threshold to meet. A dragging scenario in a packed anchorage is the meeting of many personalities and economic levels. Could be nothing, could be your worst day ever. On either end really.
At the risk of thread drift, your post is, well stated.
Try to write a check for $10 at someplace like Walmart and they need 3 pi3ces of ID.
Write a check for $150k for a boat, and they don't even ask.
Ask me how I know.
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Old 29-03-2014, 07:03   #15
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Collisions and bumps... how are the settled?

It's more about the personalities and economic levels than damage. For instance two similarly aged retired guys on a pension tap each other, they both chat it up and are best buds, every thing is all right. Add a snotty rich guy or a 20 year old surfer and things might go differently. I've been stereotyped before if your not the norm, its probably your fault. Faults a whole issue in itself.
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