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Old 03-11-2013, 06:59   #1
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When Someone Crashes into You

I was reading this blog and wondered what should you do when someone runs their boat into yours. What rights do you have in faraway locations.

Forgiveness is Freedom

Poor Liz, treated very badly.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:26   #2
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Re: When someone crashes into you

I had a catamaran hit me a few months ago. Local operator, one of his drunk passengers braced his foot against their bulwarks and pushed laterally with all his might on my stanchion. Ripped it right out of the deck, and smashed up some brightwork too.

I opted for changing marinas and learning my lesson. At least in Mexico here I wouldn't get into it with any local.

I had a guy in the US smash me up to the tune of 12k; had the insurance company pay me back and it worked out great. I also saw a Mexican boat (http://allycatsailing.com/), skip out of a ~$30K yard bill in San Diego and try to dodge it by clearing into Mexico, but the Mexican port captain in Ensenada wouldn't put up with it and wouldn't clear them in until they squared the bill.

For historical reference, Alleycat also lost their mast off Point Conception, went back and scooped it off the bottom of the seafloor, and re-rigged at Pacific Offshore Rigging in San Diego. The bill they tried to bounce from was at Driscoll in San Diego.

In short, it's completely country by country, but you cannot rely upon a fair and balanced criminal justice system. Often time the people you want money out of simply don't have it, and in the eyes of local administrators you could make the money back in a year and they'd never be able to in their whole life.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:02   #3
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Re: When someone crashes into you

the law in mexico is that if you havent liability insurance and you are hit by a mexicanin any kind of boat, that mexican essentially OWNS you and your possessions you thought yours. it does no good to pursue it.
a good friend of mine was hit by a cat in banderas bay that was on an illegal charter, so my friend has control of that gringos wallet at present.
2 mexican captains witnessed the boat before and after the illegal charter struck...and are waiting the outcome to see if they want to take the cat from the gringo that hit my friend. so far this is taking over a year. it will take much longer than a year to straighten out. even with liability insurance.
some here will hit your boat with a rental just to see if they can take yours.
make sure your liability ins is paid here so you are not in danger of losing your boat and freedom.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:08   #4
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Re: When someone crashes into you

Things you can do to increase your odds of success, I've found:

- In a marina, give some thought to your neighbors. Your two main danger factors are commercial operators who come in and out constantly regardless of conditions, regardless of drunk passengers, and on a schedule.

- In an anchorage, pick big places with good holding, park yourself to windward, and use more than just your required anchor light (but use that as well).

- When a boat is coming into a slip near you, be ready. 80% they know what they're doing, 15% they'll bump you, 5% they'll rip you to shreds unless you (or someone) actively stop it.


Part of the spice of sailing I suppose.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:25   #5
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Re: When someone crashes into you

Wow, guys,

The situation in Mexico sounds horrible!

Basically, nowhere we have been in the SP has had people wanting to hit us to claim our boat.

However, legal involvements in foreign countries are always a hassle, and may take a long time to reach conclusion. Friends were struck while at anchor in shallow water by a fishing boat that was on autopilot. Although the fisherman was found at fault, he refused to pay, and eventually the cruisers had to get the Marshall with the court order to take them to his bank to withdraw the sum needed for their repairs. So I guess it's just another danger out there.

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:33   #6
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Re: When someone crashes into you

rh--obviously you have not been here long enough to watch the happenings ...
in darkness, a dark and silent sailing boat comes into the bay. you are supposedly asleep, but, in watching out you save your own hide.
the dark silent boat comes in, anchors with rope rode only,and swings into you with intent. YOU LOSE. despite proper anchor lights, you lose.
this boat comes into anchorage and anchors 20 ft from your bow with this,using your anchor lights as guides to the boat they scoped out before this adventure.
..mebbe, rh, you need to be less naive and more observant, as your inaccuracies can help you lose ...
napoleonic law can be a bear for those who are not wary. YOU are guilty until proven innocent. meanwhile you lose your boat and possessions to someone who did a deed punishable....but they are locals, so you again lose.
.keep watch even in sleep, and you dont lose.
know how to repel these types of pirates. they survive nicely in places with larger populations and questionable port capitania.
doesnt happen in mazatlan. port cpt is reputable.
has happened in banderas bay--too many port cpts to keep track of daily misdeeds of locals.. and in zihuatenejo where there is no marina....
barra de navidad is a small place and all is known well by everyone in town, so none of that happens.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:38   #7
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Re: When someone crashes into you

Hi, again everyone,

Many years ago, when a Mexican Navy training ship lost way in the tidal flow in La Paz, a number of cruising boats were damaged as the ship came through the fleet. The next morning, it happened again. The source of help for the cruisers was eventually...The Tourism Bureau. FWIW
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:35   #8
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Re: When someone crashes into you

Zeehag, you say need to have liability insurance. Liability would not cover you for damage caused by another boat. It's to pay for your misdeeds against others. Did you use the wrong term or is there some quirk in Mexican law requiring liability insurance before you can collect from an offending boat??
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Old 03-11-2013, 14:56   #9
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Re: When someone crashes into you

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Zeehag, you say need to have liability insurance. Liability would not cover you for damage caused by another boat. It's to pay for your misdeeds against others. Did you use the wrong term or is there some quirk in Mexican law requiring liability insurance before you can collect from an offending boat??
this is mexico.
here,if you have no liability insurance and a MEXICAN hits you, you are toast. he will own you. has nothing whatsoeverto do with comprehensive insurance, which , if you have, more power to ye. you wont lose your shirt
sad to say, but it is this way IN MEXICO.
drive a car in mexico sans LIABILITY insurance, in an accident, you go to prison. do you remember this one?? is a little moreso on water here.
you need liability ins to check into mexico, btw.
and you need liability ins in marinas. but to keep your possessions when you are hit by a MEXICAN you NEED liability insurance, so you are not proven irresponsible and lose all you own to the mexican who hit you.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:08   #10
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Re: When someone crashes into you

Zeehag might be being a bit sensationalist, and at times hard to follow, but she's basically correct and her point is a very good one.

In suits between individuals in developing economies, courts tend to be extremely pro-local. You can get around this a bit by spending a lot of money to hire a well-known local lawyer, but the process can take forever. In the meantime, the local court can confiscate all of your local assets (e.g., boat, iPad, camera, dingy, etc.) and hold them as bond. Theoretically, in many developing countries they can also confiscate your passport in a civil suit -- this is less common, though, because it usually means that the US State Department or [insert country of citizen here] Foreign Ministry involved, who will alert the local equivalent of the Federales, which usually (usually!) puts an end to corruption.

It is definitely true that a Local of Questionable Morals (LoQM) can try to scam you. This isn't limited to Mexico; was also a popular scam in the Eastern Bloc in the late 90s (with motor vehicle accidents) and is still a popular in other, less savory parts of the world that have huge income disparities (see, e.g., Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and some parts of SE Asia). It was frequent enough that LoQM isn't my term, but rather one favored by a few of my friends who have worked extensively in international development.

The whole point about liability vs. comprehensive, which may not have been clearly stated, is that the liability is because the LoQM will hit you and then blame you for hitting him. Often there are no witnesses. Standards of evidence and proof are shoddy. A local's word will always be taken over yours. The local court will impound your boat / car / personal possessions (cameras and laptops are particularly ripe targets for this scam in Africa) as "bond" to ensure you pay for the damages you allegedly caused.

The insurance company will get around this usually by posting a bond, and then by hiring really good local counsel who know what sh@t is up. Even then, sometimes it isn't enough -- e.g., the corrupt judge is taking a 20% cut -- and your liability pays out for what is clearly a specious claim. That's what insurance is for!

FWIW, this is why when my parents picked their Caribbean 2nd / Retirement Home Destination of Choice, they picked the USVI. My father was particularly impressed by the US Federal Courthouse, which sits right on the road between the airport and their condo in Charlotte Amelie.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:17   #11
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Re: When someone crashes into you

flyme--i think if you observe in this area, you will find i am not sensationalist in my reporting of this. this is not usa. this is not canada.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:18   #12
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Re: When Someone Crashes into You

I've found in cruising that the difference between a dream and a nightmare is razor thin. Nowhere is that more evidenced than with legal issues in foreign ports. Why do they never discuss these vulnerabilities in those glossy cruising magazines? Truth be known, it's a scary business and a risky one at that to go world cruising. Caveat Emptor!
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:29   #13
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Re: When Someone Crashes into You

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Originally Posted by larryklaas View Post
I've found in cruising that the difference between a dream and a nightmare is razor thin. Nowhere is that more evidenced than with legal issues in foreign ports. Why do they never discuss these vulnerabilities in those glossy cruising magazines? Truth be known, it's a scary business and a risky one at that to go world cruising. Caveat Emptor!
I'd guess:

a) Because your odds of running into those problems, especially if you frequent the normal cruiser haunts, are very small. Some people get rare tropical forms of explosive diarrhea too, but they don't need to cover that in the magazine.

b) Sailing magazines are funded by sailing manufacturers and people who sit around on the talk talking about sailing. Neither one of those people has an interest in discussing, popularizing, or knowing about the pains-in-the-ass of international sailing.
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