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Old 31-12-2015, 03:16   #16
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Liability of Adrift Vessel

Deleted..... Topic not worthy of further discussion.
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Old 31-12-2015, 04:06   #17
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

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I see your point if purposely abandoned (especially in territorial waters)......but in Gil's case where the yacht inadvertently drifted into open waters, the onus is on the watchkeeper to have spotted by all and any means, including radar.

Otherwise the tens of thousands of containers lost overboard with maybe 10% floating, would keep the salvage operators and lawyer very busy.

Not to mention that whales would now need to carry liability insurance....
The problem with going after container owners (or whales for that matter) falls under the practical. If you hit a container in the middle of the night and sink, you probably aren't busy documenting who's container it is.

If you can't tell who owns it, it's kind of hard to sue them.

(even if you could prove who owned it you still need to prove they didn't take reasonable precautions to avoid it being lost overboard.)
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Old 31-12-2015, 04:41   #18
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

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Assuming a reasonable case could be made that the boat should have been sunk or otherwise made safe, liability could be assessed.
Boats get abandoned, people get rescued when it "stops being fun" and vessels aren't usually sunk by the USCG etc.

I've read a lot of reports of rescues of vessels that were NOT making water or in risk of sinking, and every single time the crew is rescued off the vessel, which is left adrift.

If they were easy to find / hit, someone could probably make a very decent living stripping those boats

I only know of one boat that was sunk when found; the sailor had fallen overboard and the boat was found months later by a seaship. They boarded, took the personal possessions for family and sunk the boat.
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Old 31-12-2015, 04:58   #19
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

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Boats get abandoned, people get rescued when it "stops being fun" and vessels aren't usually sunk by the USCG etc.

I've read a lot of reports of rescues of vessels that were NOT making water or in risk of sinking, and every single time the crew is rescued off the vessel, which is left adrift.

If they were easy to find / hit, someone could probably make a very decent living stripping those boats

I only know of one boat that was sunk when found; the sailor had fallen overboard and the boat was found months later by a seaship. They boarded, took the personal possessions for family and sunk the boat.
Rebel Heart comes to mind.
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Old 31-12-2015, 10:14   #20
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

According to the safe boating class I took. You are responsible for your Vessel. If it gets loose and causes damage call your insurance company they will need to cut the owner of the damage a check.
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Old 31-12-2015, 11:02   #21
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

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After reading another thread about a missing boat my mind went to the single-handed sailor or large vessel that may encounter the vessel at night. As well all know when the next cold front comes the Gulf Stream will stand-up and make sighting the vessel even more difficult.

Who would be liable for damage?

Even keeping a good watch us predicated on the other vessel having appropriate running lights. If a commercial vessel knew they hit another boat, logically they would begin a SAR procedure.

Maybe I am cranky, but not properly securing the vessel was like leaving a loaded gun around ---- regardless of ones net worth!

So who would be liable??


Sent from my iPhone- please forgive autocorrect errors.
Whether a SARs was initiated or not might depend on the flagging of the commercial vessel or it they even knew they had hit something?
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Old 31-12-2015, 11:05   #22
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

While you might be legally responsible, there are also the practical aspects of that, you cannot get blood from a stone.
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Old 31-12-2015, 11:47   #23
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

The boat drifted off, not was abandoned.
Gil has notified all the proper authorities to alert local Mariners of this navigational hazard.
It's up to the boat under command to avoid collision.

Snore, Thanks for starting this discussion here and not on the actual Dagny thread. Wish more folks would be this considerate.
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Old 31-12-2015, 11:55   #24
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

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While you might be legally responsible, there are also the practical aspects of that, you cannot get blood from a stone.
I love someone bring pragmatic.
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Old 31-12-2015, 12:08   #25
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

Earlier this year, I almost ran down a small sailboat or panga in Mexico on a dark night. This was with two people on watch!! I lit the boat up with a spot light when we went by about 50 feet away. They flicked on a flashlight after the fact, even though we were motoring and could be heard from a long distance on the calm night. Damn, that was my first leg of the "Baja Bash", some 1100 miles. So regardless of liability, a proper watch is essential, and not foolproof.

Be safe everybody and Happy New Year.
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Old 31-12-2015, 13:07   #26
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

Isn't there a line in "King Lear" about railing at the gods?


Liability doesn't really matter, unless you can find a specific legal recourse in that venue for that party. Rolling some 20-sided gaming dice might be more useful.
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Old 31-12-2015, 13:22   #27
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

Even with nav lights on I find it tough to see other boats at night. A boat drifting with no lights on probably wouldn't be seen until too late.
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Old 31-12-2015, 13:24   #28
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

Actually my family came up on a overturned trimaran that was abandoned during a doubleheader race from France to Bermuda around a rock and back to France. It was a totally calm day, strange for the Atlantic. Was able to dive on it and grap some line and gear. So strange with the sails just suspended underwater and not knowing what happened to the crew. You could see where someone was trying to cut through the hull. Later found out that they taken off by a freighter.

Later was thinking what of you ran into that thing at hull speed. Lots of sharp corners, its a huge liability just not the Frenchman who left her. Three holes would of done the trick. Guess in the moment it's hard to think about much else other than getting off that dam boat.

On the crazy side I know some guys who fish out of Va Beach as soon as they're cleared the sea bouy they set the autopilot for a 65 mile waypoint and go to sleep. Drives me crazy, they say watch doesn't help running 30kts through the night sky. This is after a boat hit a container and rip the bottom off a charter boat.
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Old 31-12-2015, 13:53   #29
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

This seems to happen more than we think. We encountered it when the fishing boat overtaking from astern had no one in the wheelhouse, he was sleeping below, we were later told, always returns napping, has an alarm set.

In another incident, a friend's boat, at anchor, was struck by a fishing boat returning to harbor.

Regardless of legalities, and in the above incident, the fisherman was held responsible to repair the boat he hit, it is just a thing that may happen, and your watch keeping needs to take into account that something unanticipated may happen. And if you're lucky, you'll be able to avoid it.

Another one is unlit vessels. It happens. It's scary.

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Old 31-12-2015, 15:28   #30
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Re: Liability of Adrift Vessel

A couple have answered the OP, and whilst I don't know a lot about civil law, I'll throw in that I would think a court would only determine against the drifting boat owner if it could determine culpability. This means the owner of the drifting vessel would have to be found in Law to have done something 'or' failed to do something that could have been avoided. And of course, I would take a guess that both the culpable action as well as the resulting action leading to the civil action would need to occur in the same country for practical reasons.

In the case of a vessel not moored sufficiently, then it's possible that culpability could be found against the owner. Given the owner failed to adequately secure the vessel in some way.

In the case of the vessel abandoned following a rescue, then I would think that culpability wouldn't be able to be found at all.

Of course, when an incident happens in international waters the initial consultation with a solicitor who can deal with such an occurrence will quickly become impractical and even with a total loss, it simply wouldn't be worth an action.
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