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Passenger Waiver Release

Old 02-25-2019, 05:51 AM
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Default Passenger Waiver Release

Hi all,

On occasion, I take friends and family out on my boat for Fishing or scenic rides. There are never any issues as I go through the safety rules and always navigate responsibility. However, there are inherent risks when on the water and was thinking of asking passengers to sign a waiver.

I don't have a captain's license, but have taken the safety course. I don't charge anything either. I take people out just to have a good time and don't expect anything in return. In the event something does occur that is out of my control, would a waiver help protect me from liability? Anyone else make riders sign a waiver?

Thanks

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02-25-2019, 05:56 AM
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That sounds like a really good way to end up with a lot of folks talking about you being obsessive compulsive at the next cocktail party.

You don't need a waiver. You need good insurance, and an appropriately sized umbrella policy.
Old 02-25-2019, 05:56 AM
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That sounds like a really good way to end up with a lot of folks talking about you being obsessive compulsive at the next cocktail party.

You don't need a waiver. You need good insurance, and an appropriately sized umbrella policy.
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by erodboating View Post
Hi all,

On occasion, I take friends and family out on my boat for Fishing or scenic rides. There are never any issues as I go through the safety rules and always navigate responsibility. However, there are inherent risks when on the water and was thinking of asking passengers to sign a waiver.

I don't have a captain's license, but have taken the safety course. I don't charge anything either. I take people out just to have a good time and don't expect anything in return. In the event something does occur that is out of my control, would a waiver help protect me from liability? Anyone else make riders sign a waiver?

Thanks
Been discussed before: https://www.thehulltruth.com/search.php

A waiver of liability can be pierced in situations such as negligence.

Perhaps a better approach is to reduce risk through safety briefing, use of safety equipment such as life jackets, limiting of drinking, not going into bad/rough seas, not allowing any water sports such as tubing, water skiing, wake boarding, not taking on too many passengers, etc

Another way is through risk transfer: do you have umbrella insurance? Its usually recommended to carry at least a couple mil with a pool or boat. Some people carry 10-20 mil depending upon their assets, etc

PS. you would be taking out family members that you think might sue you?!
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:59 AM
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I am not a lawyer. I've been part of patients signing consents for research and medical procedures and it was explained to me that the process was to inform the patients of the potential risks, but signing a waiver or consent to participate does not block the the injured parties' rights to sue in the event someone is negligent.

Last edited by m9000; 02-25-2019 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 02-25-2019, 06:07 AM
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If you like boating alone and having no friends, go for it!!🥳

Sounds like Ike you’re a responsible person and I understand you are trying to limit your liability for the “what if” situation, but boating should be relaxing and fun. It would be so awkward to be presented with a form to sign before boarding your boat. I would expect some of your friends and family would avoid riding with you if you followed through with this decision.
I would never consider having friends or family sign any kind of waiver. This is why we have insurance coverage. Perhaps review your current coverage and talk to your agent about what concerns you have.
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Old 02-25-2019, 06:10 AM
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Would you consider getting a waiver signed if you gave someone a ride in your car? If you walked down the street alongside them?
Old 02-25-2019, 06:11 AM
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Are you serious (& I am a lawyer)?
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Old 02-25-2019, 06:18 AM
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Really? A waiver to ride on your boat? No thank you.
Old 02-25-2019, 06:22 AM
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Yea, that's going overboard. You should be more focused on safety, making good decisions at the helm and associating with people who are not professional plaintiffs.
Old 02-25-2019, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by erodboating View Post
Hi all,

On occasion, I take friends and family out on my boat for Fishing or scenic rides. There are never any issues as I go through the safety rules and always navigate responsibility. However, there are inherent risks when on the water and was thinking of asking passengers to sign a waiver.

I don't have a captain's license, but have taken the safety course. I don't charge anything either. I take people out just to have a good time and don't expect anything in return. In the event something does occur that is out of my control, would a waiver help protect me from liability? Anyone else make riders sign a waiver?

Thanks
Depends on the state. I ran a business in Nj for over 40 years and waivers are not legal there.
Old 02-25-2019, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by barrell View Post
Depends on the state. I ran a business in Nj for over 40 years and waivers are not legal there.
incorrect. waivers of liability are OK in NJ. they have to meet certain standards. off the top of my head, i dont think there is a single state that says they are illegal...
Old 02-25-2019, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by erodboating View Post
Hi all,

On occasion, I take friends and family out on my boat for Fishing or scenic rides. There are never any issues as I go through the safety rules and always navigate responsibility. However, there are inherent risks when on the water and was thinking of asking passengers to sign a waiver.

I don't have a captain's license, but have taken the safety course. I don't charge anything either. I take people out just to have a good time and don't expect anything in return. In the event something does occur that is out of my control, would a waiver help protect me from liability? Anyone else make riders sign a waiver?

Thanks
There are inherent risks driving a car, but unless you force people to sign a waiver before giving them a ride, I don't see why you'd do it for a boat?
Deaths by car accident,11.4 per 100,000. Deaths by boating accident, 6.2 per 100,000.



My sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_...n_U.S._by_year
http://commanderbob.com/cbstats.html
"The fatality rate for 2012 of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected a 12.9 percent decrease from the previous year’s rate of 6.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels"
Old 02-25-2019, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jobowker View Post
There are inherent risks driving a car, but unless you force people to sign a waiver before giving them a ride, I don't see why you'd do it for a boat?
Deaths by car accident,11.4 per 100,000. Deaths by boating accident, 6.2 per 100,000.



My sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_...n_U.S._by_year
Boating Accident Statistics
"The fatality rate for 2012 of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected a 12.9 percent decrease from the previous year’s rate of 6.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels"
Gotta love facts!
Old 02-25-2019, 07:02 AM
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If someone asked me to sign a waver to go out on their boat I'd laugh at them and walk away.
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Old 02-25-2019, 07:14 AM
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Even if someone signs a waver, and a court even upheld it, I don't believe they can wave their family's right to sue, so really what good are they?
Old 02-25-2019, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by mikeloew View Post
Even if someone signs a waver, and a court even upheld it, I don't believe they can wave their family's right to sue, so really what good are they?
that is a good question! i am curious
Old 02-25-2019, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
incorrect. waivers of liability are OK in NJ. they have to meet certain standards. off the top of my head, i dont think there is a single state that says they are illegal...
I talked to lawyers about it as I wanted to rent kayaks and surfboards and could not find any insurance that was even near reasonable. I was told by lawyers a signed release was worthless in Nj if I got sued. I was told by one lawyer the judge would just throw it in the trashcan. They claimed Nj liability laws dont allow an individual to sign away their rights.
Old 02-25-2019, 09:19 AM
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You mean a ‘Hold Harmless’ agreement. Relax and keep your insurance paid.
Old 02-25-2019, 10:19 AM
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First, I agree with those who said it is a BAD idea in terms of your friendships. I run a 90 mph boat and never even considered it, though I am a lawyer who practices this type of law. You are going way to far.

However, there is some bad advice above that I want to comment on. Waiver law is different in every state, and changes over time. When I ran outboard races in the Miami Marine Stadium I was fairly confident our APBA waiver could stick, because then Florida would enforce a waiver for an "inherently dangerous activity," but not otherwise. Florida has, over the 40 years since then, become more open to enforcing waivers, though I know there was a recent flurry of decision dealing with whether a parent cold release a child's rights. Every state has its own body of law.

Either way, you need the insurance policy (directed to Barrel's comment above) because someone needs to pay the attorney to go in front of the judge and raise the waiver defense. and many judges are hesitant to throw an injured party out of court without a trial, so you are looking at a lot of defense money even if you eventually win on appeal.
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Old 02-25-2019, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by barrell View Post
I talked to lawyers about it as I wanted to rent kayaks and surfboards and could not find any insurance that was even near reasonable. I was told by lawyers a signed release was worthless in Nj if I got sued. I was told by one lawyer the judge would just throw it in the trashcan. They claimed Nj liability laws dont allow an individual to sign away their rights.
Well some quick searching I did shows nothing of the sort. If you find something that supports please do share.

https://www.sportwaiver.com/summary-...ce-is-alleged/

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