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Old 10-04-2010, 11:40   #1
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Marina Slip Contracts

I am about to sign a contract for a slip on the Chesapeake bay and found this paragraph.
The parties hereby agree, that neither the Company, nor any agent, servant or employee shall be liable for any loss to the person or the property of the Owner, including the boat, its inventory and equipment nor the Owner, while using the marina, whether such loss damage or personal injury be occasioned by fire, theft, act of God, the unreasonable acts of others, or any other cause or condition. The Owner hereby agrees to indemnify and save harmless the Company, its agents, servants and employees from or against any claim arising from the maintenance, use, operation, and storage of his boat in the marina area or the use by the Owner of the marina facilities. Owner agrees to maintain insurance with respect to his responsibilities hereunder.
Is this common to contracts for slips as it appears to mean their employees can do anything - including the total destruction of the boat and I have no recourse.
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:44   #2
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Yup. Normal. You and your insurance company alway have recourse thru the courts. You are generally safe from marina employees doing anything because generally marina employees don't do anything at all.
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Old 10-04-2010, 13:05   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kefaa View Post
Is this common to contracts for slips as it appears to mean their employees can do anything - including the total destruction of the boat and I have no recourse.
Yep. This a pretty typical "Hold Harmless" clause.

Let's say a marina employee is walking along the deck with a hand full of pipes and trips on a hose that's been left out by the boat owner docked next to yours and ends up putting a whole through the side of your boat. The party you'll need to instigate a claim against is the owner of the boat next to yours. The Marina is held harmless in this case by this clause.

Now let's say that the Marina fires and employee and, in a rage, he takes a pipe and whacks a hole in the side of your boat? You have to take up criminal action against the (former) employee, and the marina is held harmless (assuming they took reasonable precautions and didn't forwarn that such actions were potentially possible due to prior behaviour of said employee)

Finally, let' say that an employee has made it a habit of taking out boats in the marina for joy rides at night on a regular basis over the past 6 months and damages yours in the process? The marina would have some culpability in such a case and it would be up to them to prove that adequate measures to prevent such actions were in place and it took extraordinary acts by the employee to circumvent such measures. Absent that proving - you'd likely have this clause excluded during a court proceeding and the Marina would bear some responsibility (unless you're in one of those common law states with few actual statutes which specifically codify citizens rights - like West Virginia. Then it's basically the richest guy in the dispute wins...)
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Old 10-04-2010, 14:18   #4
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Also if you hire the marina to do work, that is a separate contract. Not unlike hiring someone to fix your car. The requirement for you to have insurance is because if your boat escapes for any reason including acts of God and does damage you alone are liable. Running a marina requires covering more than just you and them there are the noisy neighbors too.

Criminal stuff is just criminal and follows as anything like that would. It's more like renting an apartment without a roof. Just because something bad might happen to you or your boat while in the marina they pretty much want you to hold them not responsible. They didn't have to know that someone would break into your boat any more than a landlord would have to have known that they broke into your rented property. It's being stated explicitly. They could however be negligent in actions that an ordinary landlord would have done. There are things they can't get away with. You can never under contract eliminate criminal or negligent actions. Crimes are a against the law no you (you are the victim). Same can go for negligence. Gets into legal areas beyond imagination. Would this be in MD, DE, or PA?

We have neighbors across the water with an IP 31. Huge boat!
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Old 10-04-2010, 17:33   #5
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So, suck it up, take care of your boat, look out for your fellow boaters and quit looking for somebody to sue.
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:34   #6
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Highlander - You interpreted the question incorrectly. If I am handing my house keys over to a company and they want to be held harmless from anything their employees may do while in it, that is something I need to cover. It is the cost of ownership, at that marina, compared to others who cover their employees for damages.
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:51   #7
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I think what the marina wants is the choice to decide who is at fault.

My experience has been that when the marina makes a mistake and they know it, most times they will make good.

The last thing the marina wants is to be added to the list of deep pocket entities that can be forced to pay for stuff, regardless of who is at fault.

Of course, it is your job to evaluate the trustworthyness of a particular marina/operator.
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:02   #8
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Having both worked at marinas and stayed at marinas, it is my experience that most problems are caused by the boaters, not the marina staff. Expectations can be unrealistic.
Working at a marina in the keys as hurricane Andrew approached, we were deluged by calls from out of area boaters who wanted dock staff to find some extra line, go to their boats, and secure it in such a way as to guarantee no damage. Right. These were typically the people who used 1/4" line to secure their boats and had apparently never heard of spring lines. We did what we could, but since most of the marina staff lived on their boats in the anchorage other people's boats were a low priority. If you leave your boat at a marina, it is your responsibility to secure it properly. Those of us who have full time homes afloat are leaving and heading to Little Shark River or somewhere for shelter. A good marina staff will do what they can, but there are limits.
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