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Sandy - Marina liability questions

Old 11-07-2012, 06:27 PM
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Default Sandy - Marina liability questions

I had just purchased a boat before the storm and did not get a chance to have it surveyed and insured so I thought the best course of action would be to haul/block it at a local marina in NJ to ride the storm out.

After the storm it I visited the marina...75% of the boats had been piled up and displaced due to the storm surge. My boat only received some scratches even though it had moved about 200 yards, so I was ready to put it back in and continue to fish.

Not so fast....The marina is busy moving boats back to their spots and dealing with insurance companies. Also they said that I would have to pay some sort of salvage fee since they had to re-block my boat.

Couldn't this be their fault? The storm was accurately forecasted and all they had to do is block the boat up about a 8" higher and there would be no problems. Why should I be responsible for the costs of placing my boat back on blocks? Negligence? Should they have secured the boats in a way that the surge would not effect them?
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:53 PM
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You have a boat with no insurance, and it escaped Sandy with a few scratches? And you are complaining about paying the marina to reblock your boat after an "act of God" event? Consider yourself lucky you still have a boat and pay up. The marina's service agreement almost surely says they are not responsible for weather or storm related damage.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Buoy Scout View Post
You have a boat with no insurance, and it escaped Sandy with a few scratches? And you are complaining about paying the marina to reblock your boat after an "act of God" event? Consider yourself lucky you still have a boat and pay up. The marina's service agreement almost surely says they are not responsible for weather or storm related damage.


sounded more to me like they were going to stroke him for "salvage" fees which unless he authorized it or there was emminent danger to life or cargo they will have a problem proving. if he enlists legal help it might just be a re blocking fee.............ask me how i know?
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bigjimmie View Post
sounded more to me like they were going to stroke him for "salvage" fees which unless he authorized it or there was emminent danger to life or cargo they will have a problem proving. if he enlists legal help it might just be a re blocking fee.............ask me how i know?
You might be right, and if they are trying to soak him, he should fight it, but it might just be a lift and reblocking fee. Would love to know how much it is.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:25 PM
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More info needed as the above posters stated.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:23 PM
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Yeah, it doesn't sound like they are going for a salvage fee, such as 50% of the value of the boat. If they were, I think they would be out of luck because they didn't do anything to save the boat from imminent danger, which is the theory behind salvage fees.

Here's what I'm wondering: If it was still blocked and you wanted it in the water, wouldn't you have to pay a hauling fee to have it put back in anyways? Are you asking for it to go into the water or back up on blocks?

Here's another thought: If they already reblocked it and are now asking you to pay them, well, you didn't authorize them to do that and they don't have very good salvage rights to it. Couldn't you just have told them to leave it where it is, knocked down on the yard, and eventually they would block it up and out of the way? They reblocked it for their benefit and yours. Should they get out scot-free after getting hit a a hurricane? Why don't they bill their insurance for clean up? Why is it all you? What does your contract say?

Where is the boat now and where do you want it to be?
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:33 PM
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As others have said, not enough info. But it sounds like they want to be paid for the labor to re-block the boat. A cost that by the way would have been covered by the boats insurance, had the OP bothered to have any.

The marina was paid to haul and block the boat to common and reasonable industry standard. They were not responsible for securing the boat against a hurricane. They did not accept liability for the boat's welfare. There is no negligence.

But if the OP doesn't want to pay the bill, I suppose I would just leave it on the ground. My next free time with the lift to deal with him would be, . . . oh, maybe sometime around July.

(too harsh?)
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:07 AM
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you think an extra 8" of height would have prevented water and debris from pushing over jackstands and wood blocks?

Now I understand how someone could buy a boat without a survey AND without insurance. Most people have the insurance inline before they leave the dock/lot.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:17 AM
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Its called an act of god and it will take an act of god to get anything from the marina.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:26 AM
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Was your drain plug on or off? The reason I ask is our marina insist on removing the plug because it would allow a foot to two of water into the boat and not lifting it. Plus only the starter may be damaged.

Just wondering what the best system is?
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:37 AM
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What about deductible?

Even if you had insurance, depending upon your deductible the re-blocking MAY still be less and you would have to pay anyway.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:04 AM
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If it's relatively minimal (few hundred bucks), I'd consider yourself lucky that you got out relatively unscathed on a boat you own, but chose not to insure.
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:20 PM
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They are trying to charge me $100.00/ft ($3,100) salvage fee. I paid $10/ft to have it hauled, blocked, and launched back after the storm......They mind as well just ask me to bend over as well....
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:23 PM
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I don't think there is any contract also....their office got swamped from the storm....I only signed a small sheet of paper at them time that did not say much....
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by tommysa View Post
They are trying to charge me $100.00/ft ($3,100) salvage fee. I paid $10/ft to have it hauled, blocked, and launched back after the storm......They mind as well just ask me to bend over as well....
That's not good. Might consult an admiralty lawyer--this is not small claims court any more. You'll wind up paying it if you want your boat back in the water. You might try negotiating a cash settlement of half that amount...

I'm afraid this is not an easy fix.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tommysa View Post
They are trying to charge me $100.00/ft ($3,100) salvage fee. I paid $10/ft to have it hauled, blocked, and launched back after the storm......They mind as well just ask me to bend over as well....
What Marina is this?
Want to make sure I never do business with them.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:54 PM
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$3.100--that is BS. The actual labor to pick up your boat and put it back on blocks--ok--but not that much. Probably a bit more than the $310 you paid for blocking. Reach a compromise. They are trying to shaft your insurance--(which you should have gotten before completing the sale)--but you don't have it--so you have to represent your self. On the other hand, if you have to get an attorney, then it will probably be more than the $3,100.. (I would get out of that marina). You can always pay a few hundred dollars for an attorney to write a letter on your behalf--and that is the way I would go. They may slap a mechanics lien on your boat. Salvage--no way.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:02 PM
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Time for an attorney NJ has some pretty tough laws on price gouging, and they'e going after offenders big time after the storm. Don't know if this falls under price gouging or not but let a lawyer decide that.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by thataway View Post
$3.100--that is BS. The actual labor to pick up your boat and put it back on blocks--ok--but not that much. Probably a bit more than the $310 you paid for blocking. Reach a compromise. They are trying to shaft your insurance--(which you should have gotten before completing the sale)--but you don't have it--so you have to represent your self. On the other hand, if you have to get an attorney, then it will probably be more than the $3,100.. (I would get out of that marina). You can always pay a few hundred dollars for an attorney to write a letter on your behalf--and that is the way I would go. They may slap a mechanics lien on your boat. Salvage--no way.
if they lien your boat file a repleven. you will have to post bond for the amount but you'll get your day in court and i'd bet the marina is not up for that



Originally Posted by sjef View Post
Time for an attorney NJ has some pretty tough laws on price gouging, and they'e going after offenders big time after the storm. Don't know if this falls under price gouging or not but let a lawyer decide that.


call states attn. then call the paper..a guy i know parents are on LI and a local pizza joint had power and was banging people 30 bucks for a pizza another joint down the road was giving pizzas away free....who do you think is going to stay in business?
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:16 PM
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Your first question was 'couldn't this be their fault'? The answer is no. It’s your fault. It was your decision to have your boat blocked at a marina (you could have hauled it away and stored it yourself) knowing the storm was coming while you were completely unprepared for the inevitable by having no insurance.

Even tho you post no pics, I am picturing boats piled all around the marina, yours on the ground or on something else. As I see it, you are subject to the marina fees for retrieving your boat out of the pile. Even tho you consider $100/ft excessive, you do not set the price they do. Pay up or pay that amt and a disposal fee.
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