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Old 18-03-2010, 16:24   #61
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Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
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.?
I have not got time to search for specific cases and legislation, but hopefully the following will help relieve the worst of the panic that seems to be brewing on this thread.

In the matter of good Samaritans you do have some sort of protection in NSW Australia. Similar legislation exists in other states. While this applies to helping people it would be absurd to think the same principle does not extend to protecting the property of others as it does in the criminal law of self-defence.
CIVIL LIABILITY ACT 2002 (NSW Australia)

See: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/cla2002161/

56 Who is a good samaritan

For the purposes of this Part, a "good samaritan" is a person who, in good faith and without expectation of payment or other reward, comes to the assistance of a person who is apparently injured or at risk of being injured

57 Protection of good samaritans

(1) A good samaritan does not incur any personal civil liability in respect of any act or omission done or made by the good samaritan in an emergency when assisting a person who is apparently injured or at risk of being injured.
All the above legislation is really just a clear statement of common law principles that exist in many other counties including America, Canada and England. For laws of salvage I would again have a good read of the following site.

http://www.mcgill.ca/maritimelaw/glossaries/marlaw/

Anywhere saving the boat of another from damage had caused me to incur reasonable costs I would be arguing I had a right to have the boat arrested till those costs were recovered. (noting not everyone, as in the "good samaritan", is seeking reward for their good acts). This reasoning might change on various facts etc, so this is not definitive legal advice….,,,
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Old 18-03-2010, 16:51   #62
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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.
Agreeing, the biggest problem I could see from a legal perspective is if you represented yourself to have skills you did not possess. For instance, you jumped on the drifting boat took command and started telling people you where an experienced Sea Captain who was totally in control of the situation. Likewise, you might have done and emergency repair telling the crew you had the skills of a Boat Builder. If things turn to sh!t, in many jurisdictions the court will judge you by the standards you held yourself out to possess.

On the other hand, someone who simply said they were merely a passer by who jumped onboard to save the boat from floundering till the crew or a professional took control is obviously satisfying the standard of a Good Samaritan and would hopefully be afforded the same protection?

(Sorry again I have not got time to look for cases – this is a very interesting thread!)
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Old 21-03-2010, 11:10   #63
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So BubbleheadMD,
Why are you interested in finding out about this? Are you planning on getting into the salvage business?

By the way, along with my crewmates, back in 1980 I salvaged a Pearson 32 that we found adrift halfway between Bermuda and Newport. After taking a big wave over the stern, the owners had abandoned it, thinking it was going to sink & accepted a ride on a research vessel. So we towed it to Newport, were awarded salvage, and split the proceeds between the owner of the boat and the crew. The owners had already collected their insurance money, since the vessel was presumed lost. I'm not sure who actually paid us for the boat- it might have been the insurance company, since they held the title after paying off the claim.
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