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Old 04-09-2016, 16:30   #76
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Originally Posted by dgz3 View Post

BTW, You still on the Busted Flush?
No, but the older I get (pushing 60) the better 50' houseboats look to me.
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Old 04-09-2016, 16:48   #77
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pirate Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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No, but the older I get (pushing 60) the better 50' houseboats look to me.
Sheesh..!! Kids these day..
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Old 04-09-2016, 16:55   #78
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
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.
This was in Charleston, SC directly on the ICW. I've seen them repairing aids to navigation and they have boarded me twice in two years but I've never seen them removing hazards to navigation. They do broadcast the location though.
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Old 04-09-2016, 17:35   #79
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Why would anyone WANT to file a salvage claim? I wouldn't voluntarily help someone, or someones boat for monetary gain. I would help them or their boat because my mom taught me right!
Besides salvage claims are not that simple:

http://www.orcv.org.au/index.php/doc...ge-issues/file
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Old 04-09-2016, 17:40   #80
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Originally Posted by Travis McGee View Post
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.
No i'm not a lawyer but i personally have gone through this and consulted with 4 different FL. admirality lawyers over just such a case that i was involved in. I even PM'ed Stumble who i believe is an admirality lawyer and he has posted contrary to your post in this thread.

I believe you are talking about the area near peanut island. I'm pretty sure any of the tow services are going to steer you away from saving the boat as these a very very big paydays for them. I personally would not claim salvage but rather at the very least ask for reasonable compensation if it took considerable effort. (IE if it took an hour and you break a pretty good sweat i'd want a case of cold beer instead of 2-3).
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Old 04-09-2016, 18:13   #81
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

The situation was in a populated area.

Call the authorities then call over to the boat and if no response check for injured.

If no immediate danger to the boat, request direction from the authorities.

This isn't a complicated situation.
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Old 04-09-2016, 18:35   #82
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

Dear SV Destiny Asce,
I find your comment; (spot the "don't do well with civilization so I'm solo sailing around" folks pretty easily. They're also there ones most likely to climb abroad and steal your crap while you're ashore.) ...offensive.
I find it is better not to prejudge people. I think you are very much mistaken in your character generalization.
Anyway who would steal from your holding tank.?
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Old 04-09-2016, 18:51   #83
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

If you take offense I apologize - although I do not mean all solo sailors are poorly socialized individuals prone to thievery, but the don't do well with civilization solo sailors. my personal experience has taught me to look at neighboring boats, and there are warning signs. Perhaps you are too sensitive?
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Old 04-09-2016, 21:19   #84
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

My comment is on a different type of situation, but I'm glad of the Samaritan people that helped.

We were slipped in at Atlantic Highlands, nj, near Sandy Hook.
(After a microburst in the anchorage we slipped in to weather it out and tape up my fingers which lost a couple nails while unfouling anchor line from rudder. Another story.) Next night wife ends up in hospital for emergency surgery. I stayed in the room with her. I taxied back in the morning to check on the dogs. Low and behold our dingy is gone! Two line tied were tied to it . Both gone , not cut or chafe severed. Reported to harbor master. Two days later called insurance, they started a claim. Two days after that the harbor master contacts me to check the launch dock, some fishermen towed in a dingy. Sure enough it was ours , nothing missing not a thing. About 4 inches of water in it. I asked the harbor master who can I thank properly? He said he didn't know them and they said just doing a good deed, and they suggested. paying it forward !
Called the insurance the cancel the claim.
Now the nice guys that towed her in were obviously not concerned over boarding for sure. And could have asked compensation but didn't. Heck they could have taken her I suppose or stripped her and let her float. She wasn't pretty but very seaworthy. They were certainly removing a hazard to navigation . Bravo.
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Old 04-09-2016, 22:21   #85
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

Would depend on the location. Waters close to cities often have local laws that supercede maritime law and knowing where the boundaries lie can be tricky to determine.

A friend spent several months in jail after being arrested and charged for moving a grounded yacht to an adjacent pile mooring near Brisbane. Police claimed he was preparing to steal it. And yet a call to water police about yachts adrift in this area typically gets the response, "What do you want us to do about it?"
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Old 04-09-2016, 22:58   #86
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Originally Posted by Travis McGee View Post
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.
I am a former president of The Loyola Law School Maritime Law Society, clerked for one of the most well known Salvage experts in the country until he passed away, and have practices some maritime law. Though I do not claim to be a maritime law expert. I pretty quickly moved to business law instead, though I wish I could have spent the rest of my legal career practicing Maritime Law.

The captain was wrong. Anything reasonable done to save the vessel, or to minimize the damage done (in the event it was already on the rocks for instance) creates a maritime salvage lein against the boat. The salvagor is only responsible for damage to the vessel thru grossly negligent behavior.

So what is GROSS NEGLIGENT BEHAVIOR? There are legal definitions of course, but the simple answer is the definition from Blacks Law Dictionary

"Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both. It is conduct that is extreme when compared with ordinary Negligence, which is a mere failure to exercise reasonable care. Ordinary negligence and gross negligence differ in degree of inattention, while both differ from willful and wanton conduct, which is conduct that is reasonably considered to cause injury."

Pulling up their anchor then forgetting to put it back down, that would be gross negligence. Setting a signal fire onboard to alert the USCG by pouring gasoline on the deck is gross negligence.

Pulling up a dragging anchor and trying your best to re-anchor the vessel is prudent seamanship. Even if the vessel were to drag again you are still not liable. Unless you did something stupid like hooked the flukes of the anchor to the mast and tried to set it by dropping the bitter end of the chain overboard.


Note: I hate doing this... but this post does not constitute legal advice, and no attorney client privlages is created or implied by the contents of this post. Only your attorney can provide legal advice specific to your situation.
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Old 05-09-2016, 05:52   #87
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

when i had a motorized dink i used to tow and reanchor or re moor the strays. forget that. i no longer do that. i have rowboat.no more good sam. why, you ask?? because i am just not there for it anymore. saving boats i s a lot of hard work.
there are few strays here-- and it was usually the same culprits in san diego requiring un straying., ha ha ha h a
now i call attention the fleeet for saving others boats. rowing and kayaks just dont cut it fir saving others homes.
i hope the folks anchor better next time.
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:07   #88
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

Hi Guys...just landed in Hong Kong and am happy to see all the responses to my thread.

Just a couple of thoughts which were running thru my head at the time....

If I could have intercepted the yacht before it grounded, I would have.

I DID see people leave the yacht earlier in a ski boat and nobody was onboard when I approached and hailed.

The boat was not in any danger or creating a navigation hazard...I was not worried about damage.

What I was concerned about was, what would happen if I somehow bent or broke something while towing the yacht out of the mud... the owner could have been pissed. He MAY have been unconcerned about his yacht being in soft mud...could have admonished me for not waiting for him or for the tide to come in. Who knows?

I'm glad to read all the responses......very helpful. I'm also heartened to know that many boaters are willing to go way out of their way to help others, potential litigation be damned. Love it!

As I said before....IF it were my yacht....I would be MOST grateful for any assistance provided...even if the vessel were damaged in the attempt.

Unfortunately....not always the case and being a good samaritan can sometimes be very costly.

Time for a beer and a nap. Cheers!
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:59   #89
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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Did you intentionally open the sea cocks to flood the boat? If not the only effect this would have on you is the amount of salvage you would be entitled too.

God people, the law on this is clear, if you save a boat from a maritime peril, and drifting into shoals absolutely is a merriment peril, you cannot be sued for anything other than being grossly negligent in the rescue operation.

Even if you do actual damage to the vessel it doesn't come out of your pocket. In order to loose a suit for damages you would litterly have to do something so stupid no reasonable person could possibly have agreed to it.

As an example, driving a fork lift into a boat to lift it out of the water (putting holes all the way thru it) has been held NOT to be grossly negligent.
As one lawyer to another -- thanks for injecting some correct information into the discussion. It is remarkable what kind of wacky beliefs about the law become widespread among the laity.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:12   #90
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Re: Unoccupied Drifting Yacht- What to Do?

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This thread isn't about what people would do if they saw a boat drifting or dragging anchor, it's about what people say they would do if they saw a boat drifting or dragging anchor. There's a big difference. Remember, this is the Internet.

There are many variables and what you say or think you might do can easily change if you find yourself actually in that situation rather than behind a keyboard.

I posted above what I actually did when in this situation. The Coast Guard didn't think it was important to rescue the boat and they have the equipment, training and staffing to do it. I do not. My wife would be pretty useless in this situation so it would be a one man rescue attempt and I'm not nearly as young as I used to be so that's a limitation as well. I might participate in a community rescue if others joined in.

My boat is not equipped for towing so that's pretty much out. I'm not sure I could anchor someone else's boat any better than they could and certainly not without engine power.

A couple things to think about. There might be armed people on board. More likely in some places than others, but it's a possibility.

There might be somebody dead on board. Now you are obligated to call the authorities and wait for them. You could easily be tied up in red tape for hours. A friend of mine was docked at a marina and a body washed up against his boat. They wouldn't let him leave for several hours and that meant he couldn't get back to his home marina before dark and had to spend a night anchored and missed work the next day.

You might injure yourself trying to board or free the boat.

You could end up involved in a lawsuit if something goes wrong or be accused of trying to steal the boat.

Now, I know some folks will claim this is a bunch of crap, but these are things to think about.

We pay taxes for the government to hire and train people to take care of things like this. Call the authorities and let them handle it.

But the authorities, as you have witnessed and described in this thread, are not interested in saving anyone's property if there is no immediate hazard to navigation. The USCG is particularly heartless about people's boats, which is very different to how coast guards in other countries work.


So that means that in U.S. waters, much more than in other places, sailors have to help each other out to the extent they can. I've seen a lot of unoccupied boats dragging anchors in at least 10 different countries, and I've never once seen other sailors stand by and do nothing and just watch, while another sailor's boat drifts out to sea or onto the rocks. They always jump in their dinghies or whatever and do what they can.


I suspect RWidman would also have tried to help, if he had felt that he could manage to do something. If you can't do anything, or if you can't do anything without unreasonable risks to yourself or your own boat, then of course, no one would blame you.

I have helped saved drifting boats on more than one occasion, and drifting dinghies more times than I can count. One night in a remote place in the Sea of Cortez (I think it was Los Frailles), I was anchored out in the bay and came ashore to have a barbecue on the beach. Another cruiser did the same. We warned him to pull his dinghy up further as the tide was coming in, but he didn't. And sure enough, as the night wound down and everyone prepared to go back to our boats, we heard the scream of anguish of the sailor whose dinghy had been picked up by the rising tide and drifted off.

I grabbed the spotlight and jumped in the dinghy, and we spent about 3 hours looking in the pitch darkness, and finally found the other sailor's dinghy drifting about 3 miles offshore and towed it in.

We received profuse thanks but no bottle or any other reward but I was perfectly happy to have done it, even at less than zero risk to myself, and expenditure of several hours of time. We had no VHF or PLB and it would not have been pleasant if the outboard had died three miles offshore in the pitch darkness. But never mind -- I hope someone would do the same for me someday, and indeed, many sailors whose names I never even found out, have done many kindnesses to me, not always without risk to themselves, over the decades I have spent at sea.
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