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Old 10-12-2020, 09:29   #1
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Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

This past weekend, at the marina's request, several boats were moved to different slips. One of these boats was disabled, and the marina staff moved it by pushing it with their fiberglass skiff.

During the maneuver, my boat was damaged. The boat they were moving was headed towards mine, the skiff got between us, and the skiff hit my boat, and made a dollar sized chip in the leading edge of my bow, down to where cloth is showing. It's small, but the only such damage on my boat.

The marina is denying responsibility, putting it on the owner of the boat they were moving, and setting up what is going to be a fight over a what is likely only a few hundred dollars to fix. I'd rather not start off that way with my new neighbor, and I feel it is the marina's responsibility, since it was the marina's staff that moved the boat, and the marina's skiff that actually hit my boat.
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Old 10-12-2020, 09:45   #2
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

I suspect that theoretically the marina would be responsible (their skiff, and they were performing the action), and I would consider writing it all up with photos and present a request for reimbursement, with possibly a copy to their insurer if possible.

Practically... I'm guessing that the repair is at or below the deductible in any insurance policy, I don't see any way in which it is the responsibility of the other boat owner, so you're basically asking the marina to pay you out of pocket. Neither you nor the marina would be harmed by paying or refusing to pay the small amount involved. And not worth a big fight, legal or otherwise.

So, it's down to you sweet-talking them into paying for the repair. I think I would get the repair estimated, and/or estimating what it would cost to repair yourself, having a nice discussion with the marina owner, in the hopes of getting some of that cost back. Maybe in the form of a credit against future fees or services.

[edit - read ALL the fine print in your contract with the marina. They may have an escape clause, but they can't sign away all responsibility for their errors]

I'm not a lawyer, just COVID-bored.
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Old 10-12-2020, 09:54   #3
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

I feel it is the marinas responsibility. And if it is minor and they weasel out of it it is time to move.
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:04   #4
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

Yes, I think it's clear that the physical responsibility is on the Marina. That said, read your contract. I saw one so one-sided that if a marina employee hit you on the head with a hammer you were responsible for cleaning your blood off of it. Ask the marina one more time, fix your boat, and decide if moving would make life better...
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:10   #5
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

Could you call your insurance company about it? They could then be the bad guys and go after the marina or the other owner (who would then be mad at the marina too, for having caused the damage) for payment.
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:09   #6
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

Do you have the marina listed as an additional insured on your insurance? If so your insurance will end up paying even if it is the marina's "fault."


You may find that the damage is more than a few hundred dollars if fixed properly.



I think you have two good choices.


1. Start a claim with your insurance and let them sort it out. They'll either pay it, or get someone else's insurance to pay it. In the second case you won't have to pay the deductible.



2. Pay for the repairs yourself and consider it part of the cost of boat ownership.
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:28   #7
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

As stated, every marina contract I've signed spends a portion telling you what you can't do, and the rest telling you what they're not responsible for. My current contract specifically states that the marina is not responsible for damage while hauling, even if dropped and absolves them of any responsibility if hit by one of their vehicles or vessels.

How much time, effort and money do you want to spend on something less than $1,000 .
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:57   #8
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

My marina requires that I absolve them of liability during boat moves or lifts. They won’t lift or move a boat otherwise
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:03   #9
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

It's clearly the marinas fault as they were taking responsibility for moving the other boat.

Now could they have an out in the contract....possibly but good chance small claims court would still find in your favor as it's completely their actions with no blame on you...I'm assuming you are meeting your rules, such as fitting in the slip per marina rules and not sticking 6ft out into the fairway or otherwise somehow partially at fault.

Go talk to the owner again nicely. Have it clearly laid out and if they want to blame it on the other boat owner, tell them to pay to have it repaired and they can add it to the other boat owners bill. You shouldn't have to get in the middle.

Of course, they may stone wall you knowing it's going to cost you more in time/effort/money than it's worth to just fix it yourself. If you have decent alternatives, you might point out that you could choose to leave if they fail address the situation. Is a $100 repair losing a $3000/yr slip fee plus whatever else you spend there? (but save that for after talking nice and only if you are willing to follow thru)
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:08   #10
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrew View Post
As stated, every marina contract I've signed spends a portion telling you what you can't do, and the rest telling you what they're not responsible for. My current contract specifically states that the marina is not responsible for damage while hauling, even if dropped and absolves them of any responsibility if hit by one of their vehicles or vessels.

How much time, effort and money do you want to spend on something less than $1,000 .
Reality rules.
Boats get bumped and knocked all the time.

Fix it, and move on.
If you've not fixed such a dent before OP, it will be a great learning and growth experience.
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:15   #11
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
It's clearly the marinas fault as they were taking responsibility for moving the other boat.

Now could they have an out in the contract....possibly but good chance small claims court would still find in your favor as it's completely their actions with no blame on you...I'm assuming you are meeting your rules, such as fitting in the slip per marina rules and not sticking 6ft out into the fairway or otherwise somehow partially at fault.

Go talk to the owner again nicely. Have it clearly laid out and if they want to blame it on the other boat owner, tell them to pay to have it repaired and they can add it to the other boat owners bill. You shouldn't have to get in the middle.

Of course, they may stone wall you knowing it's going to cost you more in time/effort/money than it's worth to just fix it yourself. If you have decent alternatives, you might point out that you could choose to leave if they fail address the situation. Is a $100 repair losing a $3000/yr slip fee plus whatever else you spend there? (but save that for after talking nice and only if you are willing to follow thru)
If the Marina will not play ball , you’ve little option but to repair it yourself.

Tell yourself , is it worth abandoning a marina you like over $100 , I suspect the marina isn’t worried.

Sh|t happens , just fix it.
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:23   #12
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
This past weekend, at the marina's request, several boats were moved to different slips. One of these boats was disabled, and the marina staff moved it by pushing it with their fiberglass skiff.

During the maneuver, my boat was damaged. The boat they were moving was headed towards mine, the skiff got between us, and the skiff hit my boat, and made a dollar sized chip in the leading edge of my bow, down to where cloth is showing. It's small, but the only such damage on my boat.

I think you are minimizing the difficulty of repair to about a 2" chunk of gelcoat missing, down to the fiberglass. Imo, you should get a proper written estimate or 3 for the repair. Then you have something to say to the marina management.

The marina is denying responsibility, putting it on the owner of the boat they were moving, and setting up what is going to be a fight over a what is likely only a few hundred dollars to fix. I'd rather not start off that way with my new neighbor, and I feel it is the marina's responsibility, since it was the marina's staff that moved the boat, and the marina's skiff that actually hit my boat.

What a load of nonsense you were told! Of course it is not the fault of the absent owner, and nor, is it yours..
If you have insurance, having a chat with the insurance adjuster can be really helpful, especially if you don't already know a good fiberglass worker.

Personally, I think they should cover the cost, period. I am guessing you're being obstructed because someone doesn't want to fess up that it was his fault he hit your boat.

However, if the estimate turns out adequately low, the compromise suggested above that you settle for x free days, or a free haulout or something might fit, assuming both you and the marina management can live with that. For the short term, you focus on getting a good repair to your boat's stem; do not mention a compromise in your part of the negotiation: let them come up with an offer, if that's how you want to go, then you counter offer, and settle somewhere in between.

I'm assuming you're up the river there for a reason, and want to stay in that marina....

Ann
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:42   #13
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
If the Marina will not play ball , you’ve little option but to repair it yourself.

Tell yourself , is it worth abandoning a marina you like over $100 , I suspect the marina isn’t worried.

Sh|t happens , just fix it.
Hiring a lawyer and taking them to court...you are probably correct, it's not worth it.

But you attitude encourages this type of bad behavior. The $100 is likely just the one in a string of bad behaviors...so very good chance it is worth "abandoning" a marina that treats customers like dirt.

We have left a marina because they kept doing stupid things (not damaging our boat which would have been even worse). Everyone at the marina complained but no one did anything...so the marina had no incentive to change. The marina was flabbergasted when we told them we were leaving at the end of the season because of their behavior. Suddenly they were all over themselves saying they would change...but by that point we had made arrangements at another marina. Talking to friends we had at the marina, things did change the next year...not perfect but the marina was more responsive.
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Old 10-12-2020, 14:11   #14
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

I would recommend not speaking with your insurance company. Every time you speak with your insurance company about a possible claim the file is noted, whether you are at fault or not. This coming from an industry insider. save your insurance claim for when you really need it.

As others have indicated you should price the cost to repair yourself, as well as source an estimate for a professional to repair. I would then take the two to the marina owner and try to split a professional repair or pay the materials for you to repair or the like.
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Old 10-12-2020, 14:25   #15
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Re: Who is responsible for damage to my boat.

Which marina?
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