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Old 03-12-2013, 11:31   #1
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Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

Saw this Southern Cross 32 (I think) get towed into Anegada this morning. The boats name was Scat out of Winnipeg. It had been adrift since Nov 3rd when the owner was lifted off for a medical emergency. He was apparently severely dehydrated. Got taken off by a cargo ship and then airlifted to San Juan, PR. The boat was 400 miles N of Puerto Rico when abandoned. It was found E of Anegada in the British Virgin Islands by a local fishing boat.
Except for a broken boom, the boat looked in good shape. Sails looked decent and the solar must have kept the batteries up, as the bilge pump occasionally went on.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:38   #2
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Jackpot!
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:35   #3
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

I wonder what the salvage arrangement will be?
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:30   #4
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

Sweet boat, glad she isn't a floating hazard anymore. Hope the owner is okay.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:51   #5
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

Reading that the bilge pump was still working after all of that time is the best advertisement for solar panels that I have seen yet. I hope the owner is recovered, and gets his boat back. _______Grant.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:45   #6
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

I don't see this as a lucky find. So what do you do as the lucky finder ie:salvor? Our fellow boat owner recovers from his illness & calls you up and thanks you for finding his boat. He explains the boat is his home / lifelong dream and he is retired and every dime he had is invested in the boat. Like many cruisers he has only liability insurance. He humbly asks if he can he have it back.

What do you do? tell him pay up or bugger off..... or do you give it back. To me the latter goes absolutely without question but I fear there many who would take the other stand. My heart goes out to this fellow boater, it could have been any one of us.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:54   #7
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krawdad View Post
I don't see this as a lucky find. So what do you do as the lucky finder ie:salvor? Our fellow boat owner recovers from his illness & calls you up and thanks you for finding his boat. He explains the boat is his home / lifelong dream and he is retired and every dime he had is invested in the boat. Like many cruisers he has only liability insurance. He humbly asks if he can he have it back.

What do you do? tell him pay up or bugger off..... or do you give it back. To me the latter goes absolutely without question but I fear there many who would take the other stand. My heart goes out to this fellow boater, it could have been any one of us.
Not a moral dilemma I would want to be on either side of. I get that everyone wants to get paid for their time but if I had to abandon I would sure as hell hope somebody with a good heart and strong moral compass would understand that I am not rich and want would appreciate my dream back.

To play my own devils advocate though it is easy to sit behind a key board and say that without question I would always do the right thing without a second thought. Because honestly if I found a boat I would dream of the pay day on my way back to port however I hope that I would be human and reasonable again once contacting the owner.....Like I said not a dilemma I want to be on either side of ever.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:16   #8
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krawdad View Post
I don't see this as a lucky find. So what do you do as the lucky finder ie:salvor? Our fellow boat owner recovers from his illness & calls you up and thanks you for finding his boat. He explains the boat is his home / lifelong dream and he is retired and every dime he had is invested in the boat. Like many cruisers he has only liability insurance. He humbly asks if he can he have it back.

What do you do? tell him pay up or bugger off..... or do you give it back. To me the latter goes absolutely without question but I fear there many who would take the other stand. My heart goes out to this fellow boater, it could have been any one of us.
Krawdad,

Well in this case it was found by a local fishing boat who probably took days away from their job, risked serious injury and their own boat, and likely were not much beyond substanance level fishermen. Who towed a boat 400 miles back to a safe port. But it would be the immoral thing for them to get paid what the law allows?

There are risks at sea, we all know them and accept them. We mitigate them by making sure our gear is in good shape, learning the art of seamanship, and then in the end buy insurance for when everything goes belly up anyway.

Would I just return the boat? Possibly, depending on value but I certainly wouldn't criticize someone who didn't. Particularly not by implying they didn't have a decent moral compass, anymore than I think a mortgage company that for loses on someone's house lacks morals.

You don't pay your mortgage you loose your house, you don't pay a salvage claim you loose your house, same difference.
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Old 04-12-2013, 16:24   #9
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Krawdad,

Well in this case it was found by a local fishing boat who probably took days away from their job, risked serious injury and their own boat, and likely were not much beyond substanance level fishermen. Who towed a boat 400 miles back to a safe port. But it would be the immoral thing for them to get paid what the law allows?

There are risks at sea, we all know them and accept them. We mitigate them by making sure our gear is in good shape, learning the art of seamanship, and then in the end buy insurance for when everything goes belly up anyway.

Would I just return the boat? Possibly, depending on value but I certainly wouldn't criticize someone who didn't. Particularly not by implying they didn't have a decent moral compass, anymore than I think a mortgage company that for loses on someone's house lacks morals.

You don't pay your mortgage you loose your house, you don't pay a salvage claim you loose your house, same difference.
I agree with stumble on this one. The person who found it should be compensated for their time. That doesn't give you license to gouge the poor man, but he def shouldn't expect to get it back for nothing.
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Old 04-12-2013, 17:46   #10
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Agreed. Salvor deserves fair compensation. Who knows what will actually happen....
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Old 04-12-2013, 18:12   #11
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

You "would" return it depending on value? Not sure I understand, does that mean if it wasn't worth much you would, but if it was worth a lot you wouldn't? I can only say if you find mine out there, please leave it for someone who's level of morality is not on a sliding scale tied to cash value. Sad the "lower" the value, the "greater" the likelihood the old guy gets his boat back...... and yes, even though I never said it in my first post as claimed, under the circumstances as I outlined, I would call someone morally bankrupt who could look the old man in the eye and tell him to cough up or bugger off.

As far as fishermen dragging it 400 miles back home, you may want to re-read the original post. Even were it so, a sustenance level fisherman is no more excused from morality and common decency than a rich fisherman. Something tells me the poor fisherman is more likely to give it back anyway. Again, you tie doing the decent thing to the dollar.

Using a mortgage as an analogy is just plain wrong, a mortgagee has voluntarily signed a contract, the old guy didn't voluntarily sign anything with anybody, least of all a stranger holding his boat for ransom. I further suggest getting hauled off your boat during a medical emergency can hardly be equated to a lien default. How about this analogy, your driving your car to work & have a heart attack, the good Samaritan behind you picks you up & rushes you to the hospital. In the meantime, another chap spies your abandoned expensive car sitting on the side of the road and hires a wrecker to tow it to his home. We all know the outcome of that hypothetical situation, fortunately our archaic maritime laws do not apply to automobiles.

I think OnTheRocks83 summed up the position of many quite honestly and eloquently. I have actually been in this situation and like he suggests, I was delighted with my find and somewhat broken hearted to give it back, but give it back I would and did..... and without a price tag attached.

May this old sailor get his boat back and continue on his great adventure!
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Old 04-12-2013, 18:34   #12
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

If I were the owner who abandoned the boat, I would not expect others to compensate me for that decision.
Instead, I would be thankful to be alive,
Grateful to those who saved me and incurred costs in taking me to a safe haven.
If anyone has a claim to be compensated for any salvage benefit it would be my saviors before myself.
You can’t have it both ways
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Old 04-12-2013, 20:08   #13
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

Krawdad,

Take a look at some of the stories of people trying to tow a boat hundreds of miles and tell me they don't deserve substantial compensation for their work. Most cruising boats are not equipped to tow a boat that distance, and the people involved don't have the equipment or experience to really do it safely. Thus they often put themselves and their vessels at risk to attempt a salvage.

If you were the old guy would you rather have part of what was written off, or nothing? See Matt Rutherford encounters abandoned Swan 48 during Ocean Research Project expedition | Sailfeed as an example of what one would be rescuer tried. And remember if you don't complete the salvage you get nothing.
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Old 04-12-2013, 21:30   #14
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You "would" return it depending on value? Not sure I understand, does that mean if it wasn't worth much you would, but if it was worth a lot you wouldn't? I can only say if you find mine out there, please leave it for someone who's level of morality is not on a sliding scale tied to cash value. Sad the "lower" the value, the "greater" the likelihood the old guy gets his boat back...... and yes, even though I never said it in my first post as claimed, under the circumstances as I outlined, I would call someone morally bankrupt who could look the old man in the eye and tell him to cough up or bugger off.

As far as fishermen dragging it 400 miles back home, you may want to re-read the original post. Even were it so, a sustenance level fisherman is no more excused from morality and common decency than a rich fisherman. Something tells me the poor fisherman is more likely to give it back anyway. Again, you tie doing the decent thing to the dollar.

Using a mortgage as an analogy is just plain wrong, a mortgagee has voluntarily signed a contract, the old guy didn't voluntarily sign anything with anybody, least of all a stranger holding his boat for ransom. I further suggest getting hauled off your boat during a medical emergency can hardly be equated to a lien default. How about this analogy, your driving your car to work & have a heart attack, the good Samaritan behind you picks you up & rushes you to the hospital. In the meantime, another chap spies your abandoned expensive car sitting on the side of the road and hires a wrecker to tow it to his home. We all know the outcome of that hypothetical situation, fortunately our archaic maritime laws do not apply to automobiles.

I think OnTheRocks83 summed up the position of many quite honestly and eloquently. I have actually been in this situation and like he suggests, I was delighted with my find and somewhat broken hearted to give it back, but give it back I would and did..... and without a price tag attached.

May this old sailor get his boat back and continue on his great adventure!
"our archaic maritime laws" deal with circumstances you will NEVER encounter on land. For instance. There are thousands of wreckers in the US, one usually within an hour of any given point. That is not the case at sea. Second, a wrecker operator ebcouters no to very little risk to tow a broken down or abandoned car to a garage or impound lot. The same cannot be said for a vessel towing a disabled vessel on the high seas. On land, a rigid tow bar or flat bed is used. At sea, rope or at most, steel cable is used. A rope is not going to stop the boat you are towing from crashing into you in bad weather. For anyone other than a professional marine salvage company to attempt a tow is putting them at high risk. Not to mention costing them massive amounts of fuel and, in some cases, days to tow your boat to port. Therefore, by maritime law, whoever salvages your vessel is entitled to compensation. And if an agreement is not reached on what that amount may be, to sell your vessel to the highest bidder. As I said before, though whoever salvaged that boat has every right to charge whatever they wish, I hope they are able to come to an agreement on a fair amount. If you still don't believe a salvager is entitled to any compensation what so ever, I believe we will have to just agree to disagree
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Old 04-12-2013, 22:55   #15
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Re: Abandoned cruisng boat recovered in the BVI after a month at seas

If anyone is interested http://scholarship.law.georgetown.ed...context=facpub is a statistical analysis of the value of a salvage award in the courts. Most of them are for commercial awards so the amounts in play are much larger than for a recreational boat. But it gives some guidance on the way salvage claims work.

In practice the value of a claim like this is probably 100% the value of the boat in part due to the value place on the rescuers time, but if it were an unusually high dollar boat it may not be.
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