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So they dropped my boat!

Jul 29, 2017
Catalina 380 Los Angeles
I also video when boat is hauled. I used to take photos before video became easier. A picture is worth a thousand words. personally if my boat is dropped when being hauled. I will immediately get a competent survey done and have a documented 'safe to sail' statement with associated acceptance of liability from the shipyard for any problems that develop from the incident. FYI... my manufacturer has included placement information for the slings in my owners manual and I also take the time to place markers on the hull of the boat to assist in strap placement. That way, any problems that happen are NOT MY FAULT in any way. I will not share liability with the yard for their incompetence.
Jan 25, 2011
S2 11.0A Anacortes, WA
Yards around here have you sign papers sayin they are not responsible and anything that happens is up to you and your insurance. Dont know about all the yards....
Jan 11, 2014
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
An illegal contact is not enforceable. Of course they are responsible.
What's illegal about a contract that says, the boat owner assumes all liability? If the boat owner does not like that that clause the boat owner is free to find another marina without that restriction.

This is why it is important to have good insurance coverage. If the marina does something and your boat is damaged, file a claim. My experience is that the insurance company will pay and then deal with the marina's insurance company. The insurance companies then sort it all out while you sail your newly repaired boat. Been there done that.

The marinas around here all require liability insurance.
Jan 1, 2006
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I'm sure there are lawyers around to better answer but in my profession there is a saying that you can't sign away liability. You can get a signed statement that you are not liable but you are anyway. That said, I agree with dilochner that you file a claim with your INSC and they will work it out. They don't want to spend money in litigation so they'll make a deal with each other. It doesn't have as much to do with who is at fault as we think.
Also when we buy liability insurance it is to protect us from damage we do to others. I don't think it covers our boats from damage done to them.
Jan 11, 2014
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Here's a copy of the indemnification paragraph from my dock contract:

INDEMNIFICATION. Lessee shall fully and forever indemnify, hold harmless, and defend Lessor from and against all claims, demands, causes of action, liabilities, damages, and costs (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) in connection with or arising out of any action or omission by Lessee – or by any of Lessee’s invitees, agents, contractors, or subcontractors – in any way related to Lessee’s Vessel or the marina. Lessee’s indemnity, hold harmless, and defense obligations shall apply even in instances in which Lessor or any third party is negligent; accordingly, Lessee agrees to indemnify, hold harmless, and defend Lessor even against the consequences of Lessor’s own negligence. However, Lessee shall have no obligation to indemnify, hold harmless, or defend Lessor in instances in which Lessor is solely negligent.

My reading says that the marina cannot be held responsible unless it is solely responsible. For example, if I don't tie my boat correctly and a storm arises and the boat is damaged, I can't hold the marina responsible for any damage because they didn't secure it or if they tried to secure the boat, it was unsuccessful, because if the negligence is traced back, it starts with my poor dock line selection. However, if they haul the boat and drop it, then they are on the hook because the negligence is solely theirs.

BTW, my marina is owned by a Philadelphia Lawyer. He's a nice guy who runs a nice marina.
Jun 8, 2004
-na -NA Anywhere USA
IT would be up to the individual state interpretations. A friend of mine who is an accountant (30 plus years) doing our taxes signed a contract in North Carolina which had a non compete clause. Was fired for no real reason. Although I cannot locate my accountant now, I was told the company was in negotiations and I could not use him as I was their client. As advised, I told the company I was the accountant's client terminating with the company which the accountant had been with for two years as his former firm was bought out. Being a former investigator I found thru public records that he filed a lawsuit for unpaid back wages when his old firm was bought out and the new company was not paying although legally they were responsible. Make a long story short, I would tend to think he has one heck of a case now and even North Carolina law pretty much says with a non compete clause as long as the accountant does not seek me out, I can and he is not bound by any non compete. Non Compete in my terms does not apply when being terminated without just do cause. Maybe I will find him. Who knows.


Jan 20, 2005
Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32 Erie PA
my marina committed many an act off negligence, but watching a clueless lift operator dropping my neighbor's boat onto the hard out of the travelift was the end of the line for me. a legal consult revealed that many marinas--particularly government owned or operated -- have mandatory waivers of the right to sue in their tenant contracts. these waivers have been upheld in the courts as bars to any lawsuits by boat owners for marina negligence. if you don't like the waiver terms of that particular contract , you are free to choose a marina that does not require the liability waiver. (and we did...)
Mar 26, 2012
Adventure Yachts Fantasia 35 Vancouver, BC
Wow, that's one sketchy marina!

This one says they're not respanible for "sling damage" but that means minor strap scuffing, not dropping it out of the sling.

Insurance covers it, so I don't need lawyers. I'm in Canada, where the judges tend to not put up with BS arguments, so a sane person settles rather than rolling the dice.
Aug 3, 2012
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
No person or company can protect himself completely from liability, regardless of contract. The contract entails the action has expectation of successful fulfillment as well as an expectation of consideration/payment. Both parts must be fulfilled or there is breach, regardless of writing.