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Old 21-09-2011, 13:43   #1
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Who Pays when Accidents Happen

A few folks were invited to go sailing on an acquaintances boat for a few days this past summer. While underway we ran into a log and did several thousand dollars in damages to the boat.

The skipper/owner was on deck (in the cockpit)when this occurred but not at the helm. Another person was at the helm. The skipper, the helmsman and the others in the cockpit were all engaged in the same activity/conversation when the log was hit. Note that the skipper saw the log just before the collision. My question to the forum is who do you think should pay for the damages. The owner does not want to involve the insurance company.

The question of who pays was never discussed before we left the dock and there are a number of differing views on who should pay the damages. Should the skipper take full responsibility or should the person who was at the helm. Should the costs be shared among everyone who was on board? Is there some unwritten boating rule that should be followed in situations such as this.

I am curious hear what other think about this situation. The big take away for me from this accident was that I will not step foot on anyone else's boat before the question of "who pays in the case of an accident" has been asked and answered.

Thanks

M
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Old 21-09-2011, 13:51   #2
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Re: Who pays when accidents happen

The skipper/owner is solely responsible for repairs to his boat, just as if you were being given a ride in someone car.
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Old 21-09-2011, 13:52   #3
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Re: Who pays when accidents happen

The skipper/owner should pay if he does not want to go to his insurance. It's his responsibility to see that the vessel is sailed safely.
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Old 21-09-2011, 13:55   #4
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Re: Who pays when accidents happen

The helmsman is not the master of the boat. The skipper is. The ultimate responsibility lies with the skipper, regardless of who was at the wheel.

If nothing else, the skipper is culpable of having assigned the wheel to an incompetent helmsman, and subsequently having failed to supervise him properly.
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:01   #5
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Re: Who pays when accidents happen

+1 on all of the above, the skipper is responsible.
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:01   #6
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Re: Who pays when accidents happen

i agree. if the skipper / owner is on the vessel, he / she is responsible.

i would further suggest that, if the operator was responsible, they would only be responsible for ONLY the insurance deductible. if the owner decides to avoid a claim, that is for them to fund (minus the deductible).

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Old 21-09-2011, 14:12   #7
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

Accidents are a potential cost of ownership. Single party accidents are the responsibility of the property owner. Unless the vessel is stolen, then the owner has given implied consent to any he directs to take control to stand in his place. Just as if you loan your car to a friend. Any accident incurred is the responsibility of the cars owner. Matters not at all if the owner is present or not, as long as he's given consent then he might as well have been driving the vehicle himself. Rules of common courtesy would HOPE tht a friend would volunteer to pay any associated deductible, but if the property owner refuses to avail himself of utilising the insurance for which he has contracted - then that's HIS choice solely, and with it any associated obligations incurred as a result of that choice.
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:12   #8
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

Suppose you're taking a road trip & take turns driving your car. If your buddy has a license & is seemingly competent & sober, when he/she is driving, they are responsible for their actions. So, I'd suggest that the determining factor is if the helmsperson would be considered competent to navigate without supervision. Still, I agree with Steve, only to point of deductable &, on the sea, the senior officer on watch is ultimately responsible, so without knowing the specifics, that sounds like the owner/skipper, in this case. If the owner doesn't want to use his insurance, tough tacos!
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:15   #9
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

If the skipper isn't on board, surely he's not the skipper? The definition of skipper is the person who is on board and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.

I'm kind of amazed that a skipper would even consider trying to get the helmsman to pay for the damage.
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:20   #10
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

I don't see this as analogous to sharing driving. I'm with those who see the skipper as responsible, period. In situations where the skipper is off watch and something happens to damage the boat, the skipper is still responsible. S/he decided that the person was competent to be on watch, made up the watch schedule and delegated the helm to the watch stander. If something bad happens, the person on watch may be an idiot and it may be their fault, but the skipper is still legally and financially responsible.
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:23   #11
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

licensed skipper is responsible for the safe handling of the vessel if he is working for the owner. Owner has insurance to cover the costs. His boat his cost. Who put the person at the helm??? the skipper should have made sure that the wheelperson was competent to stand watch.
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:24   #12
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

Here, the person responsible for paying the damage to a car is the owner, weither he/she is in the car or not at the moment of the accident. He is responsible of making sure that everyone driving the car is competent. Why should it be otherwise with a boat?
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:24   #13
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

owner delegated responsibility. he CHOSE to abdicate his helm to another. he is responsible for his own boat. no one else is. he knew the conditions of his sailing ground-and still chose to abdicate to another--is still his own responsibility.
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:41   #14
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

Skipper/owner is responsible! Have he/she really suggested otherwise????
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Old 21-09-2011, 14:48   #15
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Re: Who Pays when Accidents Happen

Skipper is responsible for anything and ever thing period.
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