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Old 11-09-2019, 07:00   #1
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Boat on my mooring

Came back from a four hour daysail to find a sailboat on my mooring. Maybe thirty feet or so, named 'Ortelius.' My mooring is in South Freeport Harbor, Maine. The harbor is jammed. No room for anchoring inside the guarding island, period.
Searched the local restaurant, marina. No joy. Talked to the harbormaster. He moved the boat to another mooring, over my suggestion that we tow it above the local mud flats, and let the tide take her.

A couple of things;

My mooring has two pennants. Only one was used, and it was just draped over a cleat, in a manner that was completely insecure. Nobody here or who has been around boats at all would moor it in that manner. The tide here is eight feet. There is always a substantial current.

The boat has now been left on the spare mooring for at least a month. The harbormaster really doesn't want to bother with it, and I don't blame him. Hauling and winterizing is expensive here. It is also mandatory to clear the harbor by the time winter really hits.(don't know of any hard date)

Apparently, despite a Maine registration, the owner has proved difficult to find. Boat values are really dropping here, but I would guess this thing is worth about $15,000 depending on condition. Maybe a bit less.

So what happens in cases like this? To all intents and purposes, the boat is abandoned.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:26   #2
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Re: Boat on my mooring

Check the salvage laws?

Free boat!!
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:03   #3
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Re: Boat on my mooring

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Check the salvage laws?

Free boat!!
spend all the time on money to salvage a boat with hardly any value?
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:17   #4
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Re: Boat on my mooring

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So what happens in cases like this? To all intents and purposes, the boat is abandoned.
Same thing that always happens in cases like this. It peeves off the harbormaster and a few other folks. Eventually one of them decides to "do something" and then new rules and legislation are put in place that doesn't solve the problem but makes bureaucrats feel better, costs boat owners more money, and makes someone profit.
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:31   #5
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Re: Boat on my mooring

It sounds like you went out of your way to find who owned the boat/left it on your mooring. That's probably more than most would do, so great job.

Unless you want to go through the process of obtaining a title/ownership of this particular boat, just wouldn't worry about it. Not sure the exact process in Maine, but in some places you need to list an ad and wait for a while w/no response, then file for a title. Not super expensive, just a waiting game.

Lack of interest by the authorities isn't too uncommon especially if they think there's a snow ball chance in h... that the owner may come back. At least they moved the offender off your mooring!


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Old 11-09-2019, 08:56   #6
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Re: Boat on my mooring

Just wait and see, not much else you can do. Maybe the owner had a medical issue and died or something. Could be anything.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:31   #7
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Re: Boat on my mooring

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So what happens in cases like this? To all intents and purposes, the boat is abandoned.
Are you actually interested in taking title?

Or just curious?
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:51   #8
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Re: Boat on my mooring

The answer to your question varies based on jurisdiction. Common to almost all jurisdictions is that some branch of the state government needs to be contacted; usually the DMV. They can do a search of boat registrations and locate the owner (not to mention make sure the owner is current in paying the government their pound of flesh). This assumes the boat has been registered some place. While I can only speak for Florida the DMV then will usually ask you to contact FWC who will send an officer to check the HIN and do a more comprehensive search. If the FWC clears it you then go to the county Clerk of Courts and sue the DMV to get a clear title to the boat. What ever the jurisdiction there will be more paperwork and fees than you think are necessary.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:54   #9
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Re: Boat on my mooring

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Are you actually interested in taking title?

Or just curious?
Nah, I don't want it. I didn't recognize the design, but it has a cheapish look to it. The hull-deck joint is one of those cover-it-up with an aluminum extrusion sort of thing, usually an indicator of a cheap boat. I like overbuilt tanks that look good, which this thing does not.

Really, in this market it's just not worth much. But it's worth more than it's ballast, and I am curious about what is likely to happen.

Thanks for the responses. I'll track down the long-suffering harbor master one of these days, and find out what happens. When I do, I'll report back here.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:43   #10
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Re: Boat on my mooring

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Just wait and see, not much else you can do. Maybe the owner had a medical issue and died or something. Could be anything.
A number of boats fell over in the dry storage yard next to our then marina in La Paz, BCS, Mexico when Hurricane Odile moved through. Many of those boats were on their sides for a number of years because of the above problem - their owners had died and their estates were not interested in the expense involved in dealing with a boat laying on its side in Mexico. Eventually the storage yard owner dealt with them.
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:27   #11
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Re: Boat on my mooring

Freeport Harbormaster was very helpful when we stopped in there for a quick visit. Went out of his way to find and lead us to a vacant private mooring when everything else was taken. Current IS fierce and nowhere to anchor. The Harbormaster will likely track down the owner of the abandoned boat somehow and start the billing process.
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:39   #12
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Re: Boat on my mooring

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...then new rules and legislation are put in place that doesn't solve the problem but makes bureaucrats feel better, costs boat owners more money, and makes someone profit.
Whenever any new rule or legislation is put in place, this is the one thing that you can be absolutely certain about! SOMEONE is going to profit!
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:45   #13
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Re: Boat on my mooring

The fact that the registered owner has been difficult to contact may indicate that the boat has been stolen and the owner is unaware because they are away from their residence or another more dire situation might exist. May be the harbor master should contact the registered owners local police department and have them check the owners residence. JMHO
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:15   #14
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Re: Boat on my mooring

Where is The boats hailing port could have been stolen and sailed there and dumped?
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Old 12-09-2019, 15:38   #15
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Re: Boat on my mooring

I would not be suprised if the owner comes back and takes her away again. I occasionally meet people like that who think public a wharf or private mooring is their's for as long as they want. I had a client recently that did that from Sydney to the Whitsundays. He copped some abuse but it was just water of a ducks back to him.
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