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Old 13-07-2012, 17:58   #1
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What If ?

March of this year whilst anchored in St Helena the yacht next to us dragged anchor .The owner a singlehander was on shore sight seeing as his boat drifted towards Brazil without him. I jumped in my dingy and went after the yacht .when i got on board i found the keys in the ignition ,water in take on and windless lead connected it was a relativly simple job to bring the boat back.

I decided that i would re anchor the vessel in a slightly different location then it was originally {about 50 metres to the west} as i knew the holding to be better. The boat held ,the owner returned and it was a happy ending.

HOWEVER .What if the boat had once again dragged but this time hitting and causing serious damage to another boat .who would be held responsible ,the skipper or ME as i was the last person to anchor the vessel ? and what about the fact that i did not reanchor in or near the same spot?
Any legal people on the forum may be able to shed some light on this
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Old 13-07-2012, 18:43   #2
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In my opinion you did the right thing.
I have jumped boats before and pulled one off the rocks without the owners consent. I once jumped on a boat while the owner was aboard and helped him unfoul his halyard. I have added lines to boats near me prior to a storm so for 6 hours they had an extra pendant. . Later I told the owners and they seemed fine with it. I would prefer not to but sometimes prudence trumps. I am not being cavalier. I weighed what I saw and knew of the boats and made a balanced choice given the conditions.
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Old 13-07-2012, 18:53   #3
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Re: What If ?

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Originally Posted by TOM View Post
March of this year whilst anchored in St Helena the yacht next to us dragged anchor .The owner a singlehander was on shore sight seeing as his boat drifted towards Brazil without him. I jumped in my dingy and went after the yacht .when i got on board i found the keys in the ignition ,water in take on and windless lead connected it was a relativly simple job to bring the boat back.

I decided that i would re anchor the vessel in a slightly different location then it was originally {about 50 metres to the west} as i knew the holding to be better. The boat held ,the owner returned and it was a happy ending.

HOWEVER .What if the boat had once again dragged but this time hitting and causing serious damage to another boat .who would be held responsible ,the skipper or ME as i was the last person to anchor the vessel ? and what about the fact that i did not reanchor in or near the same spot?
Any legal people on the forum may be able to shed some light on this
www.byamee.com
I'm not a legal beagle but I would say the Skipper was responsible. History tells us the Captain was always responsible - right?

The fact that the skipper did not "oder" you to re-anchor the boat etc or even know that you did is not the issue, he/she remains responsible. His first action in anchoring the boat that dragged triggered the whole situation, not your good Samaritan deed. Clearly you did not anchor at the same spot 'cause clearly that has already shown to be a bad spot!

Internet leagel advice is always free!
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Old 13-07-2012, 18:58   #4
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Re: What If ?

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In my opinion you did the right thing.
I have jumped boats before and pulled one off the rocks without the owners consent. I once jumped on a boat while the owner was aboard and helped him unfoul his halyard. I have added lines to boats near me prior to a storm so for 6 hours they had an extra pendant. . Later I told the owners and they seemed fine with it. I would prefer not to but sometimes prudence trumps. I am not being cavalier. I weighed what I saw and knew of the boats and made a balanced choice given the conditions.
I agree and would hope that someone would do the same if it was my boat ,but i'm interested in the legal ramifications .Lets face facts that alot of very nice people can very quickly become very un-nice when there boat is hit.
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Old 13-07-2012, 19:02   #5
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Re: What If ?

You have a legal obligation to render assistance if you see a boat in trouble and can do so without putting your vessel or crew at risk I believe. It strikes me that would cover it but my opinion is not a legal one.
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Old 13-07-2012, 19:10   #6
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Re: What If ?

There are two legal issues here.

The first is that as soon as you stepped aboard the drifting vessel you were entitled to a salvage claim. Under the circumstances you would likely be awarded something in the 30-40% of the value of the boat as compensation for saving the vessel.

Secondly is the anchoring claim... You would be subject to the general laws of negligence should the boat break free. Since you were the operator that had control of the boat last. You would likely be protected by his insurance, as well as your own in that case, but you would have to read the actual policies to know for sure.
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Old 13-07-2012, 19:26   #7
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Re: What If ?

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There are two legal issues here.

The first is that as soon as you stepped aboard the drifting vessel you were entitled to a salvage claim. Under the circumstances you would likely be awarded something in the 30-40% of the value of the boat as compensation for saving the vessel.

Secondly is the anchoring claim... You would be subject to the general laws of negligence should the boat break free. Since you were the operator that had control of the boat last. You would likely be protected by his insurance, as well as your own in that case, but you would have to read the actual policies to know for sure.
Thanks great advice . I only have third party insurance, not sure if the other boat had any insurance at all . Question that comes to mind is who would the "damaged boat" insurance company come after .
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Old 13-07-2012, 19:29   #8
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You have a legal obligation to render assistance if you see a boat in trouble and can do so without putting your vessel or crew at risk I believe. It strikes me that would cover it but my opinion is not a legal one.
I as stated always have. But I have several times seen and a few times alerted harbirmaster. Vessels to assist. They will not at least in maryland assist. So there must be no legal obligation.
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Old 13-07-2012, 19:34   #9
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Re: What If ?

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I as stated always have. But I have several times seen and a few times alerted harbirmaster. Vessels to assist. They will not at least in maryland assist. So there must be no legal obligation.
I did radio St Helena coastguard first they said that they were unable to help as there vessel was on the hard !
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Old 13-07-2012, 19:38   #10
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Diohhh. Better then here they will stand by but will not assist.
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Old 13-07-2012, 20:10   #11
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Re: What If ?

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Thanks great advice . I only have third party insurance, not sure if the other boat had any insurance at all . Question that comes to mind is who would the "damaged boat" insurance company come after .
The one with the most money
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Old 14-07-2012, 07:18   #12
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Re: What If ?

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The one with the most money
That would probably have been me.
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Old 15-07-2012, 15:47   #13
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Re: What If ?

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I as stated always have. But I have several times seen and a few times alerted harbirmaster. Vessels to assist. They will not at least in maryland assist. So there must be no legal obligation.
Interesting. In Canadian waters there is an obligation and I thought it was international law. It must just be our own waters, of course you are the one who determines risk to your boat and crew and I don't know if they would ever question a decision not to respond. In emergencies the coast guard will make a general call to request all vessels in the vicinity capable of rendering assistance to respond. An unoccupied vessel dragging at anchor may not qualify anyway since there are no lives at risk, I don't know.
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Old 15-07-2012, 15:55   #14
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Re: What If ?

Good Samaritan, your intent was to secure and make safe. Very difficult to prosecute you if it went awry....BUT
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Old 15-07-2012, 15:59   #15
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Re: What If ?

Deny everything.

Don't tell them your name.

and then leave the country.
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