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Old 04-09-2016, 13:18   #61
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Don't put it on the men and women that are coasties. They stopped being a towboat company years ago. I believe they are with Homeland Security today. I feel sure if life and limb are at risk you would see a response. I can recall a coworker getting pissed when they stopped towing him in when he ran out of gas. Dah! Write Congress if you don't like it, as if that would help.
I am only reporting my personal experience. Nothing more, nothing less.

Another time, a sailboat was sinking neat the incident I reported. Within sight of the Coast Guard station. Several different boaters reported it on the VHF. The CG did nothing. Finally, it sank. All the five gallon fuel cans floated down the river. Still nothing.

Again, just reporting my personal experience. Make your own judgment.
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Old 04-09-2016, 13:50   #62
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

I was almost charged with theft when I recovered a Walker Bay dinghy 20 miles from shore and towed it back to port. The owner thought it was stolen by me and called the police. I could prove I was almost 60 miles away at the time it went missing but the Ontario Provincial Police wanted to charge me and let the courts decide even though the owner did not have proof of ownership. We worked it out but I felt the Police were pretty heavy handed even after I proved my whereabouts.

During this process I learned (from my lawyer) that there are no salvage rights on the Great Lakes.
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Old 04-09-2016, 14:41   #63
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

I am in a spot off the icw in Florida that has a very hard bottom . boats left here dragged all the time. If they are endangering somebody else's boat or headed for the Rocks i move them with my dingy and Reanchor them. if they are heading for the mud I let them be. At least they are secure and will not endanger any other boats
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Old 04-09-2016, 15:14   #64
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Originally Posted by Saleen411 View Post
We were out on the water yesterday when I noticed a sizable Ketch either dragging or drifting towards shore. By the time I could get to it, it had grounded itself in soft mud.

I wanted to do something to help, but wasn't sure what was appropriate. I probably could have pulled it out of the mud and towed it to deeper water...but then what? Board the vessel and try to re-anchor it? Call vessel assist?

We did wait a few hours for the owners to show up to offer help, but it was getting close to sundown and we had to leave.

I know for sure if the yacht was heading for a reef or rocky shore, I would have had no problem doing whatever I could to save the vessel.

So what would you consider appropriate. I've read many discussion about boarding other peoples boats without permission....some of you are VERY much opposed to it.

What say ye old wise ones?

Had an experience in San Juan , PR Harbour. A Sailboat came in with 4 crew from offshore. They passed close by looking to anchor. I told them the bottom was poor and that his small Danforth wouldn't hold. He assured me it would and after anchoring the crew all went ashore. Few minutes later the boat is drifting by and other skippers are getting excited. I dropped my dinghy and clambered aboard. Fortunately the keys were left at the helm and I started the engine; however, I couldn't raise the anchor. Finding a fender I tied it to the anchor and and untied the shackle leaving the anchor.
I didn't want to raft to my vessel in the poor ground, so I tied up to a large Nav Buoy in the Harbour, illegal of course.
When the owner came back he was a bit insulting after my couple of hours effort saving his boat and others.
Next day after many skippers balled him out for leaving his boat unattended so soon after anchoring he came over with a bottle of wine and thanked me.
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Old 04-09-2016, 15:26   #65
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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I am a rescuer. I cant help it. Its just me. When i see something I have to help. Maybe its some call to adventure, maybe its just some inate thing.
But i couldnt count the number of peoples boats I have been on in the last 8 years, trying to stop them dragging, towing (pushing them), fighting fires, looking for theives... Even ran nightly security patrols in a bay for a few night that was being pestered by theives.

I don't care what your nantzy-pantzy laws are I will already be on your boat trying to save it hours before the Coast Guard et al gets off their bums.
MarkJ great that you still have the Aussie way in you Mark we always just hop in and help somebody in trouble. It is also the Aussie way to thank the helper not blast them for getting on your boat ( that's B/S )
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Old 04-09-2016, 15:38   #66
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

Most novice newbie sailors just don't know enough to spend the money to buy a boat like the one pictured. Which suggests to me that it may not have been anchored there by it's owners. Contrary to what someone else mentioned above, I think you often can tell a lot about someone by the type and looks of their boat. The owner of THAT boat probably knows how to drive it. And anchor it.
My first suspicion would be a crew emergency or theft. Note dinghy in davits. The OP in a later post mentioned seeing a ski boat hip tied to it earlier? That could be completely innocent. Maybe someone trying to unstick it. Or it could be the people who stole it. Could be the people who gave the owners a ride.

But if you don't investigate, there's no way to know. I heard through the grapevine that one of the older gentlemen living aboard at a marina I used to live at was found dead on the cabin sole after three days. He had missed the morning coffee klatsch three days in a row. But everyone was just minding their own business. No one bothered to investigate. Different situation. Same mentality. "Not my problem. Not getting involved."

I would (and have) gone aboard to see what I could see. Then I would decide on the best course of action to secure the boat. Pardon me, but I just could not stand by and do nothing while such a beautiful thing fell into peril. I would hope someone would do it for me. Would I put my own vessel in jeopardy or risk my own life for it? No. Not intentionally. Not for a boat. But things look pretty calm in the pic.
One thing I would NOT appreciate would be some opportunistic jerk looking to make a quick buck off my troubles.

As far as the Coast Guard is concerned, they rescue people. Not boats.

And as far as the cops detaining you for hours because you found a body or stumbled on a crime scene.... well, cops often act like they have authority over you, when in fact, they do not. As a matter of convenience for them.
They more or less intimidate and bluff you into voluntarily forfeiting your civil and constitutional rights by implying that you must do what they say. They will say that they "need" you to come to the station and make a statement. Or that you need to wait till the coroner or crime scene tech or captain or whatever arrives.

The key question to ask in that circumstance is, "Am I free to go?" If the answer is yes, then go. If no, then the next thing is, "If I am being detained, then I want a lawyer." Then stop talking. Completely. Because if you are being detained, it means they may be trying to pin it on you. Make them cuff you, if they aren't going to let you go. Then shut up. And you need a lawyer! Most of the time, unless they have real probable cause, they will make no actual physical effort to stop you from leaving. Just walk away. They may not like it. But they can't really, legally stop you. Without cause. Most of the time, if you aren't wearing cuffs, you are free to go.

I spent most of my life working with and around cops every day. MOST cops, water, land or other (a significant percentage of psychopaths excepted!) are just trying to do the right thing and are grateful for your help and willingness to get involved. If you encounter one of the other types, your best course of action is silence. He'll let you go when you stop being fun to play with.

But I would never let fear of legal entanglement stop me from rendering aid.
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Old 04-09-2016, 15:50   #67
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

At least in my experience, the CG would be very interested in moving and/or securing a potential hazard to navigation right away or calling a tow boat to do it. In either case they would not ignore it. Not sure why rwidman had the trouble he did... pretty odd.
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Old 04-09-2016, 15:50   #68
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

I was faced with this exact situation in the big "lagoon" in North Palm Beach while waiting for a weather window to scoot over to the Bahamas. A big blow came through, and an unoccupied 40'er was dragging fast straight toward some very expensive powerboats in a shore-side marina. I keep a Fortress on my stern as a "kedge" anchor with chain and rode ready to go, so I tossed it all in my RIB and zoomed down to save the unoccupied yacht. Got my anchor tied to the bow, blahblahblah, it held. Good deal.

Towboats showed up shortly after, and we had a chat on Florida law concerning such things. The skipper said (I'm not an admiralty law dog, it's just what he said), that we done good, putting down a new anchor. All good Samaratiny stuff.

BUT, he said, if we had upped their anchor. or attempted to move their boat, any negative consequences (slamming into a bunch of shiny powerboats) would have been on us. My takeaway was, "Yes, add another anchor, no problem." But if you move their dragging anchor, or attempt to move their unoccupied boat, then YOU OWN anything bad that happens after that.

Like I said, I'm not a law dog, but it seemed logical to me. This was Florida, 2014, Palm Beach. YMMV.

(The Canadian owners of the boat, when they returned, were EXTREMELY happy to return my anchor, along with some brews, and much gratitude.)
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Old 04-09-2016, 15:55   #69
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Originally Posted by Travis McGee View Post
I was faced with this exact situation in the big "lagoon" in North Palm Beach while waiting for a weather window to scoot over to the Bahamas. A big blow came through, and an unoccupied 40'er was dragging fast straight toward some very expensive powerboats in a shore-side marina. I keep a Fortress on my stern as a "kedge" anchor with chain and rode ready to go, so I tossed it all in my RIB and zoomed down to save the unoccupied yacht. Got my anchor tied to the bow, blahblahblah, it held. Good deal.

Towboats showed up shortly after, and we had a chat on Florida law concerning such things. The skipper said (I'm not an admiralty law dog, it's just what he said), that we done good, putting down a new anchor. All good Samaratiny stuff.

BUT, he said, if we had upped their anchor. or attempted to move their boat, any negative consequences (slamming into a bunch of shiny powerboats) would have been on us. My takeaway was, "Yes, add another anchor, no problem." But if you move their dragging anchor, or attempt to move their unoccupied boat, then YOU OWN anything bad that happens after that.

Like I said, I'm not a law dog, but it seemed logical to me. This was Florida, 2014, Palm Beach. YMMV.

(The Canadian owners of the boat, when they returned, were EXTREMELY happy to return my anchor, along with some brews, and much gratitude.)
Only some brews?
hmmm... Fortress with some chain and line used as a kedge saves 40 foot boat in storm.... that's one for the anchor thread!
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Old 04-09-2016, 15:59   #70
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

It weren't no storm, just a typical blow, over bad holding ground. I was glad my maybe 30# Fortress kedge anchor held. And we kept a close eye on it until the owners came home. They were very grateful, I was happy to do it. "Easy day." Almost anybody here woulda done the same. I only mentioned it because of what the Towboats skipper said about putting down an extra anchor, no problem, but if you pull up THEIR dragging anchor to try to reset it, (or try to move the boat) and it goes and hits something or grounds, FL law says you own the responsibility. According to him. I ain't no law dog, but it made sense to me.

The whole deal took maybe 2 hours, and the blow only lasted one hour, or less, "easy day." Anybody would (or should) do the same. And everybody should have a kedge anchor/chain/rode ready to go. I saved a few folks who were just slightly grounded from being bad grounded in the islands now and then just by getting over in my RIB and putting out a kedge for them. You know, charter boats. Once they hit bottom, sometimes they haven't got a clue. Just putting tension on a kedge anchor over to deep water can save their bacon easy, done it plenty times.

Everybody should have a kedge anchor/chain/rode ready to pitch in the dink and go help somebody. Karma and all that Boy Scout "good deed" stuff. And helping other folks gives you good practice for helping yourself. Keeps you fresh. Your RIB and a kedge anchor ready to go is pure gold in a tight spot, for you or for anybody.
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Old 04-09-2016, 16:04   #71
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Originally Posted by Travis McGee View Post

BUT, he said, if we had upped their anchor. or attempted to move their boat, any negative consequences (slamming into a bunch of shiny powerboats) would have been on us. My takeaway was, "Yes, add another anchor, no problem." But if you move their dragging anchor, or attempt to move their unoccupied boat, then YOU OWN anything bad that happens after that.

Like I said, I'm not a law dog, but it seemed logical to me. This was Florida, 2014, Palm Beach. YMMV.

(The Canadian owners of the boat, when they returned, were EXTREMELY happy to return my anchor, along with some brews, and much gratitude.)
Uhhmmm....NO!
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Old 04-09-2016, 16:10   #72
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

Looks like a good boat....
Leap on board with a cutlass in your teeth screaming "MY BOAT NOWWWW..... ARGGGH"
and raise the "Jolly Roger"
Yeah, I know.././.
it's hard to shout with a cutlass in your mouth but you have to do something....
Right?.
;-)
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Old 04-09-2016, 16:13   #73
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

Florida, in general, and South Florida in particular is one of the most litigious parts of the whole country. Maybe the most. Carl Hiassen wrote, "Given the pestilential abundance of lowlifes in South Florida...." Truer words were never spoken.

And inland areas like the one you describe are where the laws of the sea and the law of the land often collide. In civil court, the law is whatever a lawyer is willing to try and whatever a judge is willing to hear and rule on.

Best course in the event your situation had gone south would have been to abandon your Fortress and sail away! They can't sue you if they can't find you!
But thanks for knowing what to do and being willing to do it! I would expect no less of Travis McGee.

BTW, You still on the Busted Flush?
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Old 04-09-2016, 16:26   #74
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Uhhmmm....NO!
No what? No to what part? Are you an admiralty lawyer? That's what the Towboats/Seatow skipper said: putting down an extra anchor brought us no liability, but if we tried to reset their anchor, or otherwise detach their dragging boat from the bottom, we'd own the consequences.

If you can cite FL law to the contrary, I'm all ears.
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Old 04-09-2016, 16:27   #75
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Only some brews?
hmmm... Fortress with some chain and line used as a kedge saves 40 foot boat in storm.... that's one for the anchor thread!
Yeah, but Mantus (or Spade or Rocna) would most likely have stopped it sooner by setting sooner.

Note: I suggested using a Fortess earlier, because it is common on boats as a kedge anchor and light enough to easily deploy from a dinghy.
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