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Old 07-10-2015, 09:57   #1
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Salvage Rights

Greetings!
I'll try and keep this as concise as possible, but there are a lot of questions I have regarding my current situation.
About 3 weeks ago, my boat tore through its bridle on the mooring ball in Miami and before my Marina-who was extremely proactive in the situation- could get SeaTow out to recover my vessel, a salvage company recovered it. They now have my boat 'under arrest' and are asking a hefty fee. I have contacted my insurance company and what seems to be how insurance companies go, are dragging feet in getting my boat and my home back to me.
The company says it's a salvage, my insurance company agent has mentioned that I should go to the police and claim theft on the company because there was no paperwork submitted to the coast guard regarding this incident.
I have no idea what I should do, though, 'commandeering' my boat sounds a bit Dog the Bounty Hunter-esque... maybe i should just fly my pirate flag and do it?
Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
-Jose
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:09   #2
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pirate Re: Salvage Rights

'Finders Keepers'...
They can claim it was recovered as it was drifting and a hazard to navigation...
You are responsible for your boat.. if things break and it drifts away.. well.. pay the salvage.. saves a lot of grief.. doubt you'll win in court..
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:16   #3
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Re: Salvage Rights

Why are you not taking the advice that you've gotten from your insurance company? The choice here is pretty simple: Either you pay the fee and get your boat back, or you fight this in court. If you don't want to pay the fee, then doing what your insurance company has suggested would be the obvious thing to do.

No matter what the case, the most important thing for you to remember is that internet legal advice is worth exactly what you pay for it... NOTHING!
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:30   #4
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Re: Salvage Rights

Sounds like a pretty clear case of pure salvage to me. The problem isn't with the company it's with your insurance company. Ask them to put up a salvage bond to get possession of your boat back (this is an insurable loss) which they should have done almost immediatly. Then have your insurance company hire a maritime attorney to fight the lein amount, or not up to them.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:31   #5
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Re: Salvage Rights

I guess what I left out was that it's my insurance company agent, not the actual underwriter recommending these ideas. He sounds more like dockside advice than actual legal/insurance advice. I'm still going to wait for my insurance company to work this out with the salvage company
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:32   #6
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Re: Salvage Rights

Exactly, Stumble! That's what I want to happen, these guys( insurance company) are being VERY slow.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:41   #7
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Re: Salvage Rights

The salvor is entitled to a fee, but not just whatever they choose to charge. The fee should represent the salvor's costs, effort, risk and the benefit it provided in preventing damage to the salvaged boat or other property. Maybe the insurance company will have some data as to typical fees.

Everything is negotiable.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:42   #8
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Re: Salvage Rights

Quote:
Originally Posted by dulcinea16 View Post
Greetings!
I'll try and keep this as concise as possible, but there are a lot of questions I have regarding my current situation.
About 3 weeks ago, my boat tore through its bridle on the mooring ball in Miami and before my Marina-who was extremely proactive in the situation- could get SeaTow out to recover my vessel, a salvage company recovered it. They now have my boat 'under arrest' and are asking a hefty fee. I have contacted my insurance company and what seems to be how insurance companies go, are dragging feet in getting my boat and my home back to me.
The company says it's a salvage, my insurance company agent has mentioned that I should go to the police and claim theft on the company because there was no paperwork submitted to the coast guard regarding this incident.
I have no idea what I should do, though, 'commandeering' my boat sounds a bit Dog the Bounty Hunter-esque... maybe i should just fly my pirate flag and do it?
Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
-Jose
Howdy Jose,

I am not a lawyer. I am interested in how your case developed and ends. Please let us know the final outcome.

Also, I have a few questions I hope you won't mind answering. These are not judgemental questions, I am simply curious about what happened.

1. When your boat got loose, was it beached? Or was it just floating free in a mooring field? Or was it floating away from boats and channels ("not an immediate threat to other boats")? Was it in contact with other boats in the mooring field? Did it causes any damage to other boats? Was it damaged by grounding?

2. You mentioned the salvage company expects to be paid a fee. What amount are they asking/demanding/expecting?

3. Was the boat "loose" due to the passage of Hurricane Joaquin?

Thank you for any answers.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:49   #9
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Re: Salvage Rights

See, I'm wondering who's mooring was it? If I'm paying for a mooring and it parts, aren't the owners of the mooring liable or at least partially so?
Or do you sign away any liability they may have in a rental agreement?
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:57   #10
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Re: Salvage Rights

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
See, I'm wondering who's mooring was it? If I'm paying for a mooring and it parts, aren't the owners of the mooring liable or at least partially so?
Or do you sign away any liability they may have in a rental agreement?
Most moorings rental agreements include a non-liability clause.

However, as has been recently demonstrated here in Saint Auggie, they will often negotiate with you if there was a loss due to some failure on the part of the mooring and not due to the way you tied to it.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:31   #11
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Re: Salvage Rights

Not being a Lawyer I had assumed that would be the case, but again not being a Lawyer I don't think an agreement gets them completely out of negligence?
If it can be shown they were negligent I think then that may be different.
I have to assume they may in fact just pay the Salvage fee if in fact their line parted.

Which I think leads to the next point, get a Lawyer who isn't guessing and let them take it, or at least buy an hour with one to see if you have any options or if it's a lost cause. I wouldn't be surprised if the boat isn't racking up storage fees right now.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:42   #12
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Re: Salvage Rights

Go steal your boat back, move it somewhere else and park your butt on it.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:58   #13
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Re: Salvage Rights

I'd go ahead and call the cops. It's free, it's what they are there for. They will at least pay the guy a visit and have a chat, just to complete their report. If they decide not to act, that's up to them but that call won't cost you anything. It will let the salvage company know you're serious about not paying them.
Just how bad is their fee? Their basic hourly rates look high, but salvage can get into half the value of the boat depending on what they have to do. I know these guys. I have been one of these guys.
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Old 07-10-2015, 13:18   #14
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Re: Salvage Rights

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Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
I'd go ahead and call the cops. It's free, it's what they are there for. They will at least pay the guy a visit and have a chat, just to complete their report. If they decide not to act, that's up to them but that call won't cost you anything. It will let the salvage company know you're serious about not paying them.
Just how bad is their fee? Their basic hourly rates look high, but salvage can get into half the value of the boat depending on what they have to do. I know these guys. I have been one of these guys.
Yeah, I agree. If you can at least start locking the guy into a story you have something to work with.

First off... find out how they actually found out about the boat in the first place. Did someone call it in? Did they hear the call to the tow company over the radio?
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Old 07-10-2015, 13:19   #15
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Re: Salvage Rights

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Not being a Lawyer I had assumed that would be the case, but again not being a Lawyer I don't think an agreement gets them completely out of negligence?
Ran into this question when I was taking technical diving class. The instructor required all students to sign a waiver making the instructor exempt from any liabilities due to injuries to the student even in the case of gross negligence by the instructor.

So before signing I asked my father who is a lawyer who assured me that in general, no person or company can be absolved of responsibility for damages due to their negligence no matter what they make the customer sign.
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