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Old 03-02-2015, 10:28   #1
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Boarding someone elses boat

I was down working on our boat yesterday at the marina and the wind unexpectedly kicked up. I don't think they were really calling for any wind but I flipped the instruments on and saw a steady 22-23 knts with gusts to about 33.

A boat in a slip a few down from ours had their headsail unfurl slightly so that the wind was getting between the rolls of the sail and causing it to flog badly. I went up to the marina office to let them know so they could call the owner and was told they'd already called an hour ago and left a message. Not wanting to see their headsail get shredded I asked the office if I should jump on the boat and fix it. Their reply was that they'd left a message and it was up to the owner to fix it now. I was a little disappointed in their lack of caring if someone's boat is damaged, though I guess not really surprised.

Anyway, I walked down to the boat hoping maybe I could reach the headsail from the dock and could re-wrap it without actually getting on the boat (I couldn't). Ends up the owners had emergency contact numbers in one of the ports so I was able to get ahold of them, which was a good thing because they weren't even in the same state at the moment. I let them know what was going on and asked permission to board the boat and fix the sail, which of course they happily allowed me to do.

I was glad that I was able to get ahold of them, but I think I would have boarded the boat anyway to fix the sail. Does this seem like a reasonable thing to do to everyone else? I wouldn't go inside the boat (unless maybe if it were sinking), but walking on deck to fix a flogging sail seemed ok to me. I'd be much more upset if I found out that people stood by and watched my boat destroy itself than if someone jumped on board to perform such an easy fix.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:34   #2
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

I have boarded other's boats to fix a problem and I hope that others might board my boat if I am not there.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:41   #3
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

I would have boarded the boat and fixed it. But some people go crazy over this (and God forbid you go to just fix a slapping line )
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:42   #4
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

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Originally Posted by Cowboy Sailer View Post
I have boarded other's boats to fix a problem and I hope that others might board my boat if I am not there.
This in a nutshell. I'm a little more than an hour away from my boat. A few weeks ago we had some really low tides and my boat was almost hanging from the ropes. One of my slipmates jumped on and adjusted them for me. Lat Saturday I returned the favor by closing a vent that he had left open on his boat.

We both called each other after the fact.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:46   #5
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

That was the right thing too do. Good job good if our boat is ever in trouble hope some one helps us we certainly would and have.

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Old 03-02-2015, 10:59   #6
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkerfluid View Post
I was down working on our boat yesterday at the marina and the wind unexpectedly kicked up. I don't think they were really calling for any wind but I flipped the instruments on and saw a steady 22-23 knts with gusts to about 33.

A boat in a slip a few down from ours had their headsail unfurl slightly so that the wind was getting between the rolls of the sail and causing it to flog badly. I went up to the marina office to let them know so they could call the owner and was told they'd already called an hour ago and left a message. Not wanting to see their headsail get shredded I asked the office if I should jump on the boat and fix it. Their reply was that they'd left a message and it was up to the owner to fix it now. I was a little disappointed in their lack of caring if someone's boat is damaged, though I guess not really surprised.

Anyway, I walked down to the boat hoping maybe I could reach the headsail from the dock and could re-wrap it without actually getting on the boat (I couldn't). Ends up the owners had emergency contact numbers in one of the ports so I was able to get ahold of them, which was a good thing because they weren't even in the same state at the moment. I let them know what was going on and asked permission to board the boat and fix the sail, which of course they happily allowed me to do.

I was glad that I was able to get ahold of them, but I think I would have boarded the boat anyway to fix the sail. Does this seem like a reasonable thing to do to everyone else? I wouldn't go inside the boat (unless maybe if it were sinking), but walking on deck to fix a flogging sail seemed ok to me. I'd be much more upset if I found out that people stood by and watched my boat destroy itself than if someone jumped on board to perform such an easy fix.

Thoughts?

Blink,
I my opinion you did the best thing. However, if you weren't able to contact the owner, in a worst case scenario, you could have been a Good Samaritan and have been held responsible for damage-- real or imagined. Sadly, our world has been destroyed by frivolous litigation claims and many who have first hand experience with this reality will cease to do the right thing for fear of retribution. I have boarded other vessels, on occasion, in anchorages with other vessels present. I have notified at least one of the vessels of my intentions before boarding the vessel in need. I have also boarded vessels in marinas using the same procedure and have never had a problem. However, past experience is no guarantee. The world, in my opinion, has changed for the worst. There are those among us who would use any opportunity for material gain irrespective of good intentions. My personal practice has remained unchanged for over 30 years: if another vessel is in need I will render assistance to the best of my ability. So far, I have been lucky. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:00   #7
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

Absolutely I would have stepped on board to fix this easily solvable situation. And yes, I certainly hope others would do the same for my boat.

I understand what's behind the question, but that in itself is pretty sad. Our societies (I'm Canadian. I assume you're American) have become so insular, paranoid, and litigious that you have to question this basic act of concern and kindness.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:03   #8
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

I'm a liveaboard and normally I jumped over boats at my marine if I see something abnormal or under storm with high winds to tight lines or sails..
Until now nobody complaint about it, it's simply a safety question.. nobody want a loosing boat bumping around at the marine o worst.. going alone over the commercial channel...
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:03   #9
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Absolutely I would have stepped on board to fix this easily solvable situation. And yes, I certainly hope others would do the same for my boat.

I understand what's behind the question, but that in itself is pretty sad. Our societies (I'm Canadian. I assume you're American) have become so insular, paranoid, and litigious that you have to question this basic act of concern and kindness.
I agree. Sad state of society. Maybe not so much in boating, I hope.

This is a famous or infamous writeup about clanging halyards, covers the same issues:

The Romantic Sound Of Clanging Halyards
Sunday, November 28, 2004
By Capt. Alan Hugenot


Have you ever been woken up at night while sleeping in a marina because the neighboring sailboat’s halyards were banging against the mast in the wind?
If you have ever tried to sleep through this constant noise, which is like someone continuously knocking on your door, then you know the dilemma which this causes for any poor sailor trying to sleep nearby.
Of course, the skipper of the offending boat is not there to hear the incessant slap, slap, slap, and he probably wants to keep those halyards ready to hoist sail as soon as he comes aboard, totally unaware that by doing so he is creating a nerve-racking noise machine.
So what can you do?
You can’t sleep and you are conflicted about what action to take.
You know that if you go aboard his boat and swing the halyards outboard around the spreader before making them fast again that the incessant slap will stop. And, you wonder why the inconsiderate skipper did not do that before he stowed his boat.
Maybe you also know that he only comes down to the marina once a month or even less to check his boat. You know he is totally unaware that you have to listen to his halyards going slap, clang, slap, clang every night.
On the other hand if you go aboard his boat to fix the problem, it will actually be trespassing - not quite breaking and entering - but trespassing none the less.
When he comes back to the boat, he may even get angry at the “prankster” who tangled his halyards around the spreaders, thinking “who would do such a thing, just to confound him.” He, of course, never realizing the true reason unless you tell him.
Yet, from a different perspective you might only be a “good Samaritan.”
For instance, if the halyard were loose and about to carry away through the top of the mast, then that same skipper would want you to quickly go aboard his boat (even though he had not given you permission) and “properly” secure it.
That simple act of neighborly seamanship would save him the grief of having to go aloft to re-thread the halyard through the top of the mast.
So wouldn’t it be the same thing here?
His halyard is clearly wearing itself out beating against the mast, and if you will just “properly” stow it for him, then it will not wear out as quickly. Also your nerves won’t wear out as quickly either.
This is no small problem.
I have lived aboard for several years, in both Seattle, Wash. and San Francisco, and have also spent a night or two in nearly every marina from San Diego to Seward, Alaska. In every one there are these slapping halyards.
At first you might think that a polite word to the offending skipper would solve the problem.
But, a couple of times when I asked the owner of an offending boat if they could take a moment before going ashore to quiet their halyards by rigging them away from the masts, they became defensive.
They acted like I was being rude for butting into their business, criticizing their seamanship.
They arrogantly pointed out that they knew what they were doing, had studied proper halyard techniques, and had graduated from ASA or US Sailing. They were not going to quiet their halyards by rigging them outboard.
Besides who was I to tell them anything.
In one case the offending skipper said that “If they found their halyards any different than how they chose to leave them” then they would blame me for trespassing on their boat, and would report it to the marina manager.
After this encounter, I could not stop the noise from his boat, and wished I had never spoken to him about it.
I knew that if I had never brought it up, I could have quieted his halyards and he would not know who “fouled” his lines.
Instead, I changed marinas and learned the lesson that my safest bet was to quiet all offending halyards myself, and do so without telling the owner that I was the culprit.
This “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy allowed me to sleep, and several weeks later when the offending skipper turned up to sail his boat I was not there to hear his wrath about “Whoever fouled his halyards was going to catch hell.”
I guess it comes down to who is more inconsiderate: Me for trespassing on his boat, or him for leaving the noisy halyard slapping against the mast.
It is such a simple thing to just tie the halyards off on the shrouds, or swinging them around the spreaders. Maybe 60 seconds to quiet every halyard on the boat.
Another, idea is to use a shock cord to pull them over toward the shrouds and away from the mast, and there are dozens of other ways to stop the slap, slap, slap.
Of course no way am I advocating that you climb on someone’s boat and adjust their halyards. Trespassing is something I would never encourage you to do.
Several times in marina parking lots I have heard novice boaters saying “Wow, listen to the clanging of the all the sailboats in the wind. Isn’t it romantic.”
So maybe it is a matter of perspective, or rather ignorance of the harm that may be caused by what may be romantic to one person and pollution to another, depending upon perspective.
It baffles me to no end why sailing instructors don’t teach this simple courtesy to their students.
It seems that simple courtesy should always be part of every lesson for novice sailors.
We live pretty close together on the water, which means we need to cultivate proper manners and respect for our fellow boaters. Learning how to rig our boat so that it does not create undue noise pollution should be part of every sailing lesson.
Actually, in California the boating laws are beginning to take notice of noise pollution.
Beginning in the fall of 2004 agencies will begin to enforce a new law that makes it illegal to have a power boat that is too noisy.
Maybe this idea that noise pollution on the water is a crime can be stretched to include sailboats that are too noisy. Clang, slap, clang - but it’s so romantic. Yea, right.
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:10   #10
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm glad to see most people are of a like mind.
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Old 03-02-2015, 13:43   #11
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkerfluid View Post
I was down working on our boat yesterday at the marina and the wind unexpectedly kicked up. I don't think they were really calling for any wind but I flipped the instruments on and saw a steady 22-23 knts with gusts to about 33.

A boat in a slip a few down from ours had their headsail unfurl slightly so that the wind was getting between the rolls of the sail and causing it to flog badly. I went up to the marina office to let them know so they could call the owner and was told they'd already called an hour ago and left a message. Not wanting to see their headsail get shredded I asked the office if I should jump on the boat and fix it. Their reply was that they'd left a message and it was up to the owner to fix it now. I was a little disappointed in their lack of caring if someone's boat is damaged, though I guess not really surprised.

Anyway, I walked down to the boat hoping maybe I could reach the headsail from the dock and could re-wrap it without actually getting on the boat (I couldn't). Ends up the owners had emergency contact numbers in one of the ports so I was able to get ahold of them, which was a good thing because they weren't even in the same state at the moment. I let them know what was going on and asked permission to board the boat and fix the sail, which of course they happily allowed me to do.

I was glad that I was able to get ahold of them, but I think I would have boarded the boat anyway to fix the sail. Does this seem like a reasonable thing to do to everyone else? I wouldn't go inside the boat (unless maybe if it were sinking), but walking on deck to fix a flogging sail seemed ok to me. I'd be much more upset if I found out that people stood by and watched my boat destroy itself than if someone jumped on board to perform such an easy fix.

Thoughts?
Good for you.

We will do the sensible thing on boats where we know the owners. Otherwise we contact the harbormaster.

If we can need to act quickly to prevent damage or damage to other boats we'll tell the harbormaster, by phone or voicemail, that we're acting to stop an issue escalating.

We've also built a relationship with our harbormaster so that there is a mutual level of trust.

It's a tricky topic. We tend to act in way that hopefully a court of law would consider appropriate for a reasonable person.

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Old 03-02-2015, 13:54   #12
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

Boarding the boat was the right thing to do. I've done it twice, boats dragging anchor with nobody aboard. I let out more chain. Stopped the dragging on both occasions.


Anyone who did likewise for me would get a beer.
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Old 03-02-2015, 13:55   #13
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Maybe this idea that noise pollution on the water is a crime can be stretched to include sailboats that are too noisy. Clang, slap, clang - but it’s so romantic. Yea, right.[/FONT][/COLOR]
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Old 03-02-2015, 14:05   #14
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

My bet is that the marina staff is restricted from boarding any boats for liability purposes. If they had boarded and refurled the sail and the sail still sustained some form of damage, the marina could be subject to blame. I bet they silently were hoping you or another tenant would handle the situation but for the same above reasons, prob couldn't explicitly suggest it.

Others hit the nail on the head: businesses and the extents they are willing to go in service to their customers is handicapped by the ever present fear of litigation. Even if a business has no fear of litigation they are still at the mercy of their insurance company that sure as hell does.
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Old 03-02-2015, 15:00   #15
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Re: Boarding someone elses boat

In our minds, boarding a stranger's boat to fix a problem that might damage the boat is the right thing to do and most of us do it without thinking. I've seen people jump on someone else's boat at my marina to fend off a boat trying to enter a slip.


The problem comes once in a thousand times when something goes wrong. Either you damage the other boat or you injure yourself while on their boat, either your own fault or because of some defect on the boat.


That's when you hope your insurance you've paid for all these years steps up and takes care of things.
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