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Old 17-03-2015, 14:42   #1
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What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

Hi all,
I am interested in understanding better the legal risks of naming a non-owner as the authorized skipper/captain of a vessel in the owner's absence. Does the skipper assume full liability for the boat and its operation, or are some risks still attached to the owner?
Thanks!
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Old 17-03-2015, 14:48   #2
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pirate Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

He should be covered by your insurance..
If its a delivery you should have a signed contract..

If he runs drugs your busted as an assessory.. hard to prove your not.
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Old 17-03-2015, 14:59   #3
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

What Boatman said, but I'll expand. One of the primary advantages of hiring a professional skipper is the mitigation of liability.

Example, if I need to move sulfuric acid from point a to point b and I move it myself, I'm solely responsible if there is an accident. If I charter a shipping company to move it, the shipping company has working for it a navigator, a captain, a DPA and a General Manager, there is an incident, the liability is divided between the shipper, the charterer, the GM, the DPA, the captain and the navigator.

Scale this down to a private yacht, and the same rules apply, if there is criminality or damage, the liability should, theoretically be divided between owner and captain to some degree.

Generally speaking, the greatest portion of blame is always assigned to the captain, particularly if relating to safety security or the efficient operation of the ship.

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Old 17-03-2015, 15:01   #4
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
What Boatman said, but I'll expand. One of the primary advantages of hiring a professional skipper is the mitigation of liability.

Example, if I need to move sulfuric acid from point a to point b and I move it myself, I'm solely responsible if there is an accident. If I charter a shipping company to move it, the shipping company has working for it a navigator, a captain, a DPA and a General Manager, there is an incident, the liability is divided between the shipper, the charterer, the GM, the DPA, the captain and the navigator.

Scale this down to a private yacht, and the same rules apply, if there is criminality or damage, the liability should, theoretically be divided between owner and captain to some degree.

Generally speaking, the greatest portion of blame is always assigned to the captain, particularly if relating to safety security or the efficient operation of the ship.

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When the Captain of aforementioned vessel implicates the owner, regardless of truth, The owner is generally screwed.
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Old 17-03-2015, 15:18   #5
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

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When the Captain of aforementioned vessel implicates the owner, regardless of truth, The owner is generally screwed.
Yes, in a serious incident, when the skipper is likely to lose his employment, or the costs associated with the incident are likely to outweigh the compensation, it's generally in the skippers best interest to shift as much of the blame as possible to the owner.

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Old 17-03-2015, 15:25   #6
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pirate Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

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Yes, in a serious incident, when the skipper is likely to lose his employment, or the costs associated with the incident are likely to outweigh the compensation, it's generally in the skippers best interest to shift as much of the blame as possible to the owner.

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Hence.. have good cover..
The skipper likely will never work again anyway.. your only as good as your last job..
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Old 17-03-2015, 15:35   #7
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

If you want a good example of how this all works, Google some articles on the Costa Concordia sinking. Even the poor wheelsman got time in jail. Every one slung dung at everybody they could hit, those that didn't or couldn't duck- got covered in it.

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Old 17-03-2015, 15:42   #8
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

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He should be covered by your insurance..
If its a delivery you should have a signed contract..

If he runs drugs your busted as an assessory.. hard to prove your not.
Liability insurance has nothing to do with a felony.

As to generic liability, the reality is that typically falls to whoever has the 'deepest pocket'. Hiring a skipper doesn't shield an owner from risk.
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Old 17-03-2015, 15:46   #9
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

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Liability insurance has nothing to do with a felony.

As to generic liability, the reality is that typically falls to whoever has the 'deepest pocket'. Hiring a skipper doesn't shield an owner from risk.
Hiring a skipper doesn't shield an owner from risk? It doesn't shield an owner entirely from risk, but after insurance, hiring a skipper is the best risk mitigation strategy money can buy. When it comes to law breaking, hiring a skipper is better than insurance.

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Old 17-03-2015, 16:01   #10
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pirate Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Liability insurance has nothing to do with a felony.

As to generic liability, the reality is that typically falls to whoever has the 'deepest pocket'. Hiring a skipper doesn't shield an owner from risk.
Liability does not cover drug smuggling.. or arms smuggling.. hence yer busted.. your the owner.
However criminal damage DUI will be covered if he rams anything.. and I never said he'd be shielded.. but the blow in many cases will be softened..
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Old 18-03-2015, 10:17   #11
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffBurright View Post
Hi all,
I am interested in understanding better the legal risks of naming a non-owner as the authorized skipper/captain of a vessel in the owner's absence. Does the skipper assume full liability for the boat and its operation, or are some risks still attached to the owner?
Thanks!
I am not sure the question was clear, "naming" a friend or hiring a commercial captain?
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Old 18-03-2015, 10:31   #12
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

Not an expert but, My understanding is that the owner will be the first in line for a lawsuit. Then you can sue the negligent skipper to recoup!
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Old 18-03-2015, 10:34   #13
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

These were good responses, thank you. My question originated because we're selling our boat to a couple guys who wanted to be able to head off ASAP after the hand-off, so in the event that the proper ownership/registration paperwork didn't make it in their hands in time, we were considering using a letter of authorization as a potential method to cover that gap in time. I was just wanting to know what risk that would expose us to as the technical owners during that gap period should some disaster strike.

We have since figured out a way to work the timing with a legit ownership transfer, but to recap what I've seen here so far, we would have been likely not liable for any damage they caused to themselves, the boat, or others; however, illegal drug/gun activity would be a grayer area and potentially leave us at risk. I figure a good lawyer and a skipper intent on avoiding responsibility could turn out to bite us though (however unlikely that is), so I'm assuming we're overall safer to work out the full ownership transfer before they set off.

Thanks again!
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Old 18-03-2015, 10:48   #14
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffBurright View Post
These were good responses, thank you. My question originated because we're selling our boat to a couple guys who wanted to be able to head off ASAP after the hand-off, so in the event that the proper ownership/registration paperwork didn't make it in their hands in time, we were considering using a letter of authorization as a potential method to cover that gap in time. I was just wanting to know what risk that would expose us to as the technical owners during that gap period should some disaster strike.

We have since figured out a way to work the timing with a legit ownership transfer, but to recap what I've seen here so far, we would have been likely not liable for any damage they caused to themselves, the boat, or others; however, illegal drug/gun activity would be a grayer area and potentially leave us at risk. I figure a good lawyer and a skipper intent on avoiding responsibility could turn out to bite us though (however unlikely that is), so I'm assuming we're overall safer to work out the full ownership transfer before they set off.

Thanks again!
I hope you transfer ownership. Nice guys finish last.
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Old 18-03-2015, 11:34   #15
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Re: What legal liability does an authorized skipper have if they are not the owner?

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I hope you transfer ownership. Nice guys finish last.
Fair point, but I was always fond of the one that goes, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

I'd say that a little faith never hurt anybody, but then again . . .

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