Boats in the Caribbean
6000miles away, she was left on a swinging mooring
I like to spend money
with the locals not give it to foreign owned companies. So, when leaving the boat, I employed a local 'boat sitter' They had a good local reputation and had done some work for me that was satisfactory. I lent them the dingy and outboat and asked them to run out to the boat once a week, check batteries, bilges, mooring
lines and generally that she was in a safe condition. I said I was happy for them to spend time on the boat if they wanted to (makes it look occupied). I asked them to get in touch f there were any problems and left a contact sheet with them. I also went trough the basic systems with them and they agreed they were fine looking after her.
After only two weeks they had problems. These where minor, start battery
failed and some water
(apparently) so they took the boat to the dock
. All fine. the trouble was they did not tell me. I think they had lost
my contact details. Instead they got an unknown 'engineer' to look at the problem. He removed the dead start battery
and disconnected other batteries. They left all the electrics switched on and did not hook up the shore power
. I only found out about all this when I got the marina bill which was for alongside berthing not a swinging mooring, when I queried the bill the marina said "didn't you know the boat was brought in 3 weeks ago?". When I tried to get details from the boat sitter I got a text message asking for $1000 for work done including $150 for gas and oil
for the dingy!!!! They also claim to have cleaned the boat and washed all the cushions
because it was 'filthy' - charge $80. (This may be true as she had been in the boatyard for a repaint for 2 months but I did not ask them to do it).
After several phone
calls and a letter of complaint I finally got an email
from them but it still did not explain what had happened or what the state of the boat was so I then paid the marina engineer
(a proper one!) to go and look at the boat for my own piece of mind. His report indicated no lasting damage. Batteries were disconected but still charged. A dead start battery was left in the cockpit
, the solar
panel was left on the foredeck and not connected, boat was tied up but not connected to shore-power, bilges where dry.
Needles to say I terminated the agreement with the boat sitter! and fortunately I have crew arriving in about 2-3 weeks who can sort things out.
This has been a lot of worry and hassle plus it has cost several hundred dollars in additional berthing charges.
I now have to decide what to do about any payments to the boat sitter and will have to ask the skipper
to pay him which I am sure will not be comfortable. I also can't afford to have the boat held up in port for a dispute.
What does anyone think;
Should I tell him he was sacked for gross incompetence and is getting nothing?
Should I pay him for work such as the cleaning
that he did do OK and a reasonable amount for gas for the dingy?
Should I try to negotiate a compromise and pay him what it costs to 'not make a fuss'
Always looked after my boat myself up till now and never been in the Caribbean
so I haven't a clue how to deal with this!