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Old 18-03-2010, 11:15   #46
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Could be an urban myth, but isn't there some sort of protection for a "good samaritan" trying to assist a victim or save property from damage, etc.? Spotted an unoccupied charter boat dragging fast toward a reef in the BVI's a few years ago. I jumped in the dinghy, was joined by a neighboring sailor and we started the engine and reachored the boat. The bareboat charter family arrived as we were finishing and they were beyond grateful that we saved their vacation and prevented any property damage. It was a great feeling and I can't imagine doing nothing and watching it hit the reef when we had a chance to prevent it. I'll keep on helping people and if I get sued, like Jkleins, I'll count on the jury to sort it out.
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Old 18-03-2010, 11:18   #47
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Totally un related to dragging/unmanned boats.... counld be grandma in the car though...
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Old 18-03-2010, 11:20   #48
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LMFHO....
Insurance companies/Charter companies are not 'People'...
and lets face it the Grandmother is a silly anology... your talking people...

The subject is boats... a whole different ball game...
I didn't say it wasn't different I said that if you use that logic you could make the same conclusion if you were so inclined to worry about that sort of think. That is why I am not going to use that logic.

It is purely personal, but I don't feel threatened by the "what if the worse happened" scenerio as much as some are. I would feel much worse watching someone's boat go up on the beach behind me while I sat there doing nothing then I would arguing my case to a jury of 12 townspeople asked to make a judgement on both sides.

Jim
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Old 18-03-2010, 12:07   #49
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Originally Posted by jkleins View Post
. I would feel much worse watching someone's boat go up on the beach behind me while I sat there doing nothing then I would arguing my case to a jury of 12 townspeople asked to make a judgement on both sides.

Jim
Jim, most if not all Admiralty cases in the US are heard by a sitting federal judge; no jury.

Here is one scenerio: You see an unmanned dragging boat, and hop on to help. Now, you have placed yourself "in command" of that boat. You start the motor, and before you can finish lifting the anchor rode, the boat hits a third vessel. Perhaps the owner of the third vessel will argue that you should have just let out more scope instead of bring the anchor up? Or, that he claims you put it in gear, causing it to bear down on him? Who cares what HE thinks, his insurance company will be looking for someone else to blame, so they can subjugate the claim off. Now your insurance company gets involved.... and so forth. The issue is, there is now property damage, and the third vessel's insurance company would rather not have to pay for that. There is no "good Samaritan" or 12 townspeople; just lawyers and insurance companies. If they can't sort it out, they tell it to the judge, who decides.
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Old 18-03-2010, 12:21   #50
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Jim, most if not all Admiralty cases in the US are heard by a sitting federal judge; no jury.

Here is one scenerio: You see an unmanned dragging boat, and hop on to help. Now, you have placed yourself "in command" of that boat. You start the motor, and before you can finish lifting the anchor rode, the boat hits a third vessel. Perhaps the owner of the third vessel will argue that you should have just let out more scope instead of bring the anchor up? Or, that he claims you put it in gear, causing it to bear down on him? Who cares what HE thinks, his insurance company will be looking for someone else to blame, so they can subjugate the claim off. Now your insurance company gets involved.... and so forth. The issue is, there is now property damage, and the third vessel's insurance company would rather not have to pay for that. There is no "good Samaritan" or 12 townspeople; just lawyers and insurance companies. If they can't sort it out, they tell it to the judge, who decides.
The previous respondent said that he was worried about being sued if he helped. That would not fall under Admiralty law at all but would fall into civil court. I believe you could request a jury in that case.

I would actually feel even better arguing my case in front of a judge though.

Jim
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Old 18-03-2010, 12:37   #51
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Here is one scenerio: You see an unmanned dragging boat, and hop on to help. Now, you have placed yourself "in command" of that boat. You start the motor, and before you can finish lifting the anchor rode, the boat hits a third vessel. Perhaps the owner of the third vessel will argue that you should have just let out more scope instead of bring the anchor up? Or, that he claims you put it in gear, causing it to bear down on him? Who cares what HE thinks, his insurance company will be looking for someone else to blame, so they can subjugate the claim off. Now your insurance company gets involved.... and so forth. The issue is, there is now property damage, and the third vessel's insurance company would rather not have to pay for that. There is no "good Samaritan" or 12 townspeople; just lawyers and insurance companies. If they can't sort it out, they tell it to the judge, who decides.
I dismissed your argument flippantly in the last post and I apologize. Yes the scenario you mention is real and if one is not prepared to take responsibility for whatever help they are going to provide then they shouldn't do it. The previous poster scenario of re-anchoring was the one I was referring to. In that case I would accept the risk of the boat dragging into something else later and be happy to defend it in court as being an improvement over the dragging that was occurring before I stopped the boat.

If you get on a runaway boat and your actions cause it to run into another boat you do have to be prepared to defend that too. I would in many cases but it is really just a risk analysis of how much risk is too much in life.

I find it interesting to see people who would go to sea without an EPIRB or liferaft but have very little risk tolerance when it comes to the very, very rare chance of being sued and the even rarer chance of actually losing money in a suit.

Jim
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Old 18-03-2010, 12:45   #52
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Jim, I was attempting to point out that, in the end, the argument will be about "who is going to pay for this" rather than "who's fault was this"....in Admiralty, those are not necessarily the same thing. Certainly, I don't think there is any criminal intent on the part of the good guy who was trying to help. However, the issue is liability, not criminal negligence. If your insurance company decides you are liable under the terms of your policy, they really don't care what your intent was, nor will they be asking you to mount any defense. They will pay the bill and you may be asked to pony up your portion of a deductible. If you want to fight that, then you will be hiring lawyers to fight their's, and that will always cost you more than the deductible....
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Old 18-03-2010, 12:58   #53
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If I go to cross an ocean without an EPIRB or Liferaft(always have a dinghy) its a conscious calculation of risks that are under my control and the responsibility of possible loss of my boat and life is my affair...

HOWEVER... as my little boat and the clothes on my back are all I have to my name...
I'm reluctant to trust them to the whims of a Judge or a tightfisted Insurance Company whose sole interest is holding onto their cash at all costs.. probably mine.
Fine... you've the finances to be a flippant knight in a shiny dinghy..
Go for it.... me.. ??
I'll stick to my way... unless there is threat to life and limb.. when I will do all I can to avert a possible disaster...
But then.. the question was... unmanned boats adrift.
Boats are replaceable ... lives and body parts are not.
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Old 18-03-2010, 13:04   #54
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If your insurance company decides you are liable under the terms of your policy, they really don't care what your intent was, nor will they be asking you to mount any defense.
How would your insurance company get involved at all? They would insure your boat if someone jumped on it but not you on someone else's boat. Maybe they sell a policy that covers a person in all situations but I haven't run across that type so I wouldn't be able to speak to it. If you did have it though I would think the reasons not to do something would even be less since you are insured.

I would think the other insurance company would have to sue me to get anything which is where I was coming from. I probably wouldn't even give anyone my insurance information in the above situation since it is boat insurance only.

Jim
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Old 18-03-2010, 13:17   #55
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Old 18-03-2010, 13:22   #56
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If I go to cross an ocean without an EPIRB or Liferaft(always have a dinghy) its a conscious calculation of risks that are under my control and the responsibility of possible loss of my boat and life is my affair...

HOWEVER... as my little boat and the clothes on my back are all I have to my name...
I'm reluctant to trust them to the whims of a Judge or a tightfisted Insurance Company whose sole interest is holding onto their cash at all costs.. probably mine.
Fine... you've the finances to be a flippant knight in a shiny dinghy..
Go for it.... me.. ??
I'll stick to my way... unless there is threat to life and limb.. when I will do all I can to avert a possible disaster...
But then.. the question was... unmanned boats adrift.
Boats are replaceable ... lives and body parts are not.
There are many risks we take in life. I didn't call you names (i.e.,flippant knight in shiny dinghy) because you choose to sail without EPIRB and liferaft. I didn't even know you made that choice until you just said so since I was just using it as an example. I respect the risks you choose to accept and those you don't.

I just find it interesting that some (maybe you, now that I know you sail without EPIRB and liferaft ) will feel that a risk like getting sued which is extremely low by any objective measure would be a risk that rises to level that it would change a persons actions when a risk of loss of life without the above safety equipment, which we have even documented fairly often in the pages of this forum, would not.

I make no judgement about your risk decisions I just told you what my risk analysis has led me to choose. Since your pretty smug that everyone should think like you or be ridiculed, I will be happy to suspend my decision if it is your boat floating by.

Jim
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Old 18-03-2010, 13:41   #57
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Whoa... no insult was intended...
It was a tongue in cheek reference You made in the previous post about being flippant..
If I caused offense I apologise.. non was intended.
And smug I'm not... speak from the shoulder I do...
I stated my view point and what I've experienced/been told by locals, or witnessed in the 27 odd various countries I've visited...
Many of whom care nothing about what is LAW in the US...
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Old 18-03-2010, 14:34   #58
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From the BLACKWALL case, considered the historic roots from which the SALCON 89 Treaty came to be.

Quote:
Public policy encourages the hardy and adventurous mariner to engage in these laborious and sometimes dangerous enterprises, and with a view to withdraw from him every temptation to embezzlement and dishonesty, the law allows him, in case he is successful, a liberal compensation. Justice Clifford, US Supreme Court, 1869
THE BLACKWALL, 77 U. S. 1 (1869) -- US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez

Hey, somebody was asking for actual citations, not just armchair lawyering....

Oh, please note it says sometimes dangerous enterprises. You don't have to risk your life to claim salvage. (Not talking about finding a derelict, I'm talking about reward for saving a vessel from damage or destruction)
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Old 18-03-2010, 14:55   #59
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Good Samaritan law is rather simple..As long as you don't exceed your ability/expertise....you are not liable.....

If you jump on someones boat who is dragging anchor.....and you know how to anchor....you are not liable.

Same goes for towing......If you assist someone, as long as you know how to rig a tow and don't try to get the othe boat up on plane (slow is pro) you are not liable.
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Old 18-03-2010, 14:57   #60
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The element of peril is an important, yet misunderstood, element. The maritime interpretation of peril is broad and liberal. Imminent and absolute danger is not a requirement for maritime peril. If the property is in danger, or stranded "so that it [is] subject to the potential danger of damage or destruction," then peril exists (McNabb v. O. S. Bowfin, 565 F. Supp. 22 [W.D. Wash. 1983]). Also, the degree of peril does not determine whether the salvor will be entitled to a salvage award, but it will be considered in determining the amount of the award. According to the admiralty law of the United States, a stranded vessel that may be exposed to wind, weather, and waves is considered to be in a position where it may be destroyed and is therefore in peril.
see: salvage: West's Encyclopedia of American Law (Full Article) from Answers.com
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