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Old 22-07-2010, 14:17   #1
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Bad Experience in Sidney, BC

I recenly returned from a week long charter in Canada on a nauticat 37 chartered through Island Cruising in Sidney Harbor. 9 days after returning they notified me that they have found dive-proven, photo documented keel damage. At no time during the charter was I anywhere near a rock, and did not, to my knowledge, hit anything. I have hit ground on my own boat, a corsair 24, and know what it feels like. It was not subtle.

My question: Has anyone had the experience of scraping paint off the bottom of the keel if the boat touched bottom while in a marina, stationary, if the tide got low enough so the keel touched the seabed. This is all I can come up with, as we were in Saltspring harbor marina during a slight minus tide. I sounded all around the boat and always had 8 feet, at least, and waited three hours into the rising tide prior to departing the slip.

Also has anyone had any experience with this charter company, Island Cruising? They were somewhat odd in the way they checked us out and showed the boat, not going into much detail about the systems such as anchoring, head operation, etc, that other operators in the area seem to do. They did not seem too familiar with the boat, and it was moored in a slip with only 3 inches of space adjacent to a large power yacht, not exactly what I would want as an owner, for chartering to clients unfamiliar with the handling of this boat. I wondered if perhaps this operations was mainly a tax-dodge for wealthy Canadians who really did not want to charter the boats?
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:36   #2
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What kind of damage? Have you seen the photos?

Depending on the paperwork that you signed, they may have you over a barrel, and you could lose your security deposit, or worse.

I have not chartered in many years and never in Canada, so I can't really give you any expert advice. When you turned the boat in, I assume they did some kind of inspection. And 9 days seems like a long time for this kind of notification. Don't most charter companies do their dive inspections more quickly?
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:56   #3
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You can certainly ask for 'proof' in the form of a copy of their previous dive report and photos from this one. There is an extreme tide range in the area and some of the slips on Salt Spring do dry or get very shallow. I see that boat draws over 6 feet so sounding for 8 feet doesn't leave a large margin.
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Old 22-07-2010, 15:47   #4
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Sounds somewhat scam-ish. I agree with the previous poster who would demand proof. If they don't to your satisfaction, which, in my opinion, would only be a notarized and dated photo after the previous charter and then one immediately after yours. Sue them in small claims for the deposit if they keep it. The BC small claims court system is very easy to use. I have used it and it works. No lawyers required.

Good luck!
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Old 22-07-2010, 15:53   #5
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I agree with speedoo, you have the right to get proof of the last inspection and post. I would also verify if the yacht has been chartered between your dropoff and the inspection. Demand that report. I suspect that in this economic downturn, I would not put it past anyone or any company to try to squeeze out anything they can to not only fix something but to get extra payola!!

Try to cover all of your bases... Good luck and keep us posted!!
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Old 23-07-2010, 08:02   #6
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Thanks all for the suggestions. I received a phone message from the manager at Island Charters saying " I have good news for you", but have not got back in touch yet. Will post a message when I have more info. I tried to attach the photos, not quite sure how to do this.
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Old 23-07-2010, 08:56   #7
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Looks like mud or at worst a bit of missing paint. It could have happened anytime. Let them give you the "good news" before worrying about it.........m
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Old 23-07-2010, 09:31   #8
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After one experience rather like yours, I adopted the habit of inventory-ing everything right down to the last knife, fork and spoon before signing that I received all the gear. Good grief. Underwater damage is something else again. I guess I'll now have to ask for a bareboat company's signed statement that the boat has no underwater damage before I can touch it. Janet Groene, Janet Groene's BoatCook
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Old 23-07-2010, 09:53   #9
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Originally Posted by JanetGroene View Post
After one experience rather like yours, I adopted the habit of inventory-ing everything right down to the last knife, fork and spoon before signing that I received all the gear. Good grief. Underwater damage is something else again. I guess I'll now have to ask for a bareboat company's signed statement that the boat has no underwater damage before I can touch it. Janet Groene, Janet Groene's BoatCook

I agree..or better yet tell them if your responsible for everything demand a haul out and inspect it yourself......Sheesh!...I don't think I will ever charter a boat anywhere...We recently had a poster get dinged by a charter co. for a prop that was obvious was suffering from dezincification...not a prop strike.

Im anxious to hear the good news...maybe he dove on the wrong boat...
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Old 23-07-2010, 10:19   #10
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Let's face it the odds are in their favor. If they are simply dishonest it is difficult to protect yourself. If things really go sideways you might want to check into court documents to see if they have done this to others. You may see a pattern if they have.

I once booked a charter boat from Desolation Sound Charters in Courtney/Comox, B.C.. My wife had to go in for emergency surgery just before we were to leave. They wouldn't give back the deposit in spite of the fact they could charter out the boat to someone else. I had more on my mind than to travel up there to check to see if the boat went out to someone else. They kept my deposit.

That's Desolation Sound Charters. Don't use them!

My wife is fine now. It was touch and go for a while. At the time i had three young children and a new business. God bless Desolation Sound Charters.
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Old 23-07-2010, 10:42   #11
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Our keel looks like that after leaving the marina!! but we are technically aground all the time.
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Old 23-07-2010, 11:01   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solosailor View Post

I once booked a charter boat from Desolation Sound Charters in Courtney/Comox, B.C.. My wife had to go in for emergency surgery just before we were to leave. They wouldn't give back the deposit in spite of the fact they could charter out the boat to someone else. I had more on my mind than to travel up there to check to see if the boat went out to someone else. They kept my deposit.

That's Desolation Sound Charters. Don't use them!
On the other hand, they did all the pre-charter work (paper-work etc.); had staff around to prep the boat; may have turned down other charterers wanting to use that boat and you were the no-show - and the probability is that they didn't manage to re-charter the boat on short notice. That's why they sell trip cancellation insurance. The charter business is a tough one and mindlessly accusing them of ripping people off isn't helpful. I've chartered with DESOLATION SOUND YACHT CHARTERS and they have always dealt more than fairly with me.
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Old 23-07-2010, 11:12   #13
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Not to say that OP isn't right to be concerned, but I am sure folks within the Charter business know only to their cost that some Customers will look them straight in the eye and swear blind that no incidents occurred and expect a full deposit return - even if the vessel was last seen firmly attached to the bows of a Supertanker heading to China ...............let alone for anything less.
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Old 23-07-2010, 11:26   #14
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Issue resolved

Amazing! I just received a call from Larry, the owner of Island Charters in Sidney, BC, informing me that after doing some research he found that the previous charter was responsible for the damage, and that the diver had not informed him of the keel damage prior to my charter. He was very apologetic for having accused me of doing the damage and not reporting it, and offered a 15% discount on my next charter. The diver no longer works for him.

I appreciate all the support and ideas from the sailing community on this issue. I was pretty upset about having this blight on my spotless chartering record, not to mention looking at up to 6000 US in insurance deductibles, hauling fees, loss of use charges, etc.

I will say that I have done a lot of charters and this is the first time I have ever had any issue like this. It does make the point that if a no-deductible on the insurance is available (usually 50-100US/day), pay it willingly so you don't have to worry about anything. Money well spent. In this case, ?canadian law, a no-deductible policy was not an option.
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Old 23-07-2010, 12:47   #15
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Glad it worked out for you.
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