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Incident in Florida on lake (County dock)

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Old 09-01-2008, 04:55 PM
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Default Incident in Florida on lake (County dock)

Here is what happened to me yesterday:

Went out and had an AWESOME day boating with my neighbors and friends on a Lake in Central Florida. Wind was blowing pretty hard out of the East with about 3-4 waves on some parts of the lake--was a lot of fun in the Scarab 38KV! My neighbors had a few boats in the crowd as well.

Anyway-

Upon arrival back at the ramp to load up my boat, I noticed several boats waiting to use the ramp-all were having problems loading up-so I dropped off my one friend who drives the truck and trailer when I load/unload-and told him to drive to another boat ramp that was not as busy and would be better to load with the wind gusting to 25+ knots.

I dropped him off (quickly he jumped off the boat) and proceeded to the other ramp-I was still having a blast running my boat wide open and crunching over the waves-just having a ball--I ended up at idle just outside the 2nd boat ramp waiting for my truck and trailer when the Florida Fish and Wildlife boat appeared on the horizon flashing a small K-mart blue light, they pulled up along side and a fairly large woman demanded to see some ID and Boat registration--I provided them and asked them what is the problem?

-Apparently they thought I was trying to "Outrun" them and they were after me because I "damaged" their floating dock! I told them I was not aware of any damage-and If I had an accident I would had NEVER just sped off! Especially in a lake-where I am going to go???

After I produced some more various paperwork, ID and all my safety gear was checked-they allowed me to load up my boat, and after which they seem to debate what to do...I had done nothing "illegal" so they gave me a "warning" which only states on the bottom and I will print it exactly like it was written "leaving the seene of an accident" spelling errors and all.

All 12 "officers" yes, they had 12 of them in various vehicles to apprehend me! had no idea what to do with me, so with warning they let me go and told me it will be $1000.00 to fix the dock you slammed against "Let your Insurance Company know" and you can call in TWO weeks to get a copy of our report....other then that NO TICKET, FINE, NOTHING...??

WTFO?

How would you handle this?


I went today to inspect the dock where I was-and there is NO WAY in hell I could have caused the damage they are talking about--it was a floating dock and it looked like somebody chewed it up pretty bad-and a section broke off and floated to the shore--I had NO DAMAGE to my Scarab KV- the "officers" scoured my hull like the FBI and questioned me on EVERY scratch-which I reminded the simple minded people that this is a 1987 boat-yes a few scratches-but nothing that would have caused the dock damage! My boat is in Mint shape.

I did learn that this lake is pretty famous for this kind of stuff-and me with a 38 go fast was a target from the beginning.

Input? suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 09-01-2008, 06:36 PM
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Start taking your offshore boat offshore, where it won't stick out so much and draw this kind of attention.

If you go back to the lake, be prepared to be heavily scrutinized and alot of your time burned up by these folks.

On the "ticket"- there's nothing they can do. They can turn it over to the prosecutor for that jurisdiction, but they failed to summons you for destruction of public property so my guess is they'll get asked why if they do choose to pursue this. It's incumbent upon them to pursue you for damages. They can't just levy against you, they have to file suit seeking compensation for the damages. They may send you a letter requesting or even demanding reparation, but the only way to force you is through the court system. Obviously if they want paid, unless you have witnesses, you may be better off paying. They've obviously decided to pursue you without facts and if they push this and are painted into a corner, they'll likely lie.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by JetJock View Post
Here is what happened to me yesterday:

Went out and had an AWESOME day boating with my neighbors and friends on a Lake in Central Florida. Wind was blowing pretty hard out of the East with about 3-4 waves on some parts of the lake--was a lot of fun in the Scarab 38KV! My neighbors had a few boats in the crowd as well.

Anyway-

Upon arrival back at the ramp to load up my boat, I noticed several boats waiting to use the ramp-all were having problems loading up-so I dropped off my one friend who drives the truck and trailer when I load/unload-and told him to drive to another boat ramp that was not as busy and would be better to load with the wind gusting to 25+ knots.

I dropped him off (quickly he jumped off the boat) and proceeded to the other ramp-I was still having a blast running my boat wide open and crunching over the waves-just having a ball--I ended up at idle just outside the 2nd boat ramp waiting for my truck and trailer when the Florida Fish and Wildlife boat appeared on the horizon flashing a small K-mart blue light, they pulled up along side and a fairly large woman demanded to see some ID and Boat registration--I provided them and asked them what is the problem?

-Apparently they thought I was trying to "Outrun" them and they were after me because I "damaged" their floating dock! I told them I was not aware of any damage-and If I had an accident I would had NEVER just sped off! Especially in a lake-where I am going to go???

After I produced some more various paperwork, ID and all my safety gear was checked-they allowed me to load up my boat, and after which they seem to debate what to do...I had done nothing "illegal" so they gave me a "warning" which only states on the bottom and I will print it exactly like it was written "leaving the seene of an accident" spelling errors and all.

All 12 "officers" yes, they had 12 of them in various vehicles to apprehend me! had no idea what to do with me, so with warning they let me go and told me it will be $1000.00 to fix the dock you slammed against "Let your Insurance Company know" and you can call in TWO weeks to get a copy of our report....other then that NO TICKET, FINE, NOTHING...??

WTFO?

How would you handle this?


I went today to inspect the dock where I was-and there is NO WAY in hell I could have caused the damage they are talking about--it was a floating dock and it looked like somebody chewed it up pretty bad-and a section broke off and floated to the shore--I had NO DAMAGE to my Scarab KV- the "officers" scoured my hull like the FBI and questioned me on EVERY scratch-which I reminded the simple minded people that this is a 1987 boat-yes a few scratches-but nothing that would have caused the dock damage! My boat is in Mint shape.

I did learn that this lake is pretty famous for this kind of stuff-and me with a 38 go fast was a target from the beginning.

Input? suggestions?

Thanks!
Statutes vary but I remember something about a vessel being responsible for anything damaged by a wake it makes. That would include if your wake broke a dock, not just your vessel. Hard to check a wake for scratches, but they obviously felt like confident witnesses.
Not a lawyer... not advising.... but if they already seem to have enough ducks to line up for the hearing.

At some point a prudent man who believes his wake could have done it would take a stance of no criminal liability but maybe accept financial liability through insurances. Ie: plead innocent accident.
If you simply didn't, wouldn't, and couldn't have done it, even by accident... it would be tough not to fight it.

There is a river near me that is not a no wake but is narrow. It is fun to run fast. The wakes wash up hard on banks. A couple of times it has crossed my mind that if I accidentally swamp somebody or something I could be liable.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:48 PM
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wouldn't one think if a piece broke off that that's a serious hard hit not to have visible damage on your boat?? someone else prolly did it and pointed fingers at you...
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:58 PM
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sorry to hear this, not sure what to tell ya??? Did Ray run with y'all this weekend??
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:12 PM
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sorry to hear this, not sure what to tell ya??? Did Ray run with y'all this weekend??
No...Ray was at work. I couldn't go to St. Johns so opted for Lake Weir.

It will interesting to see how this plays out........
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:14 PM
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Statutes vary but I remember something about a vessel being responsible for anything damaged by a wake it makes. That would include if your wake broke a dock, not just your vessel. Hard to check a wake for scratches, but they obviously felt like confident witnesses.
Not a lawyer... not advising.... but if they already seem to have enough ducks to line up for the hearing.

At some point a prudent man who believes his wake could have done it would take a stance of no criminal liability but maybe accept financial liability through insurances. Ie: plead innocent accident.
If you simply didn't, wouldn't, and couldn't have done it, even by accident... it would be tough not to fight it.

There is a river near me that is not a no wake but is narrow. It is fun to run fast. The wakes wash up hard on banks. A couple of times it has crossed my mind that if I accidentally swamp somebody or something I could be liable.


I was not CHARGED with any crime! No ticket, no summons....etc.

I agree that if you cause something you should MAN UP and take your pill, but this is borderline STUPID, no leg to stand on crap.

Thanks for all the input
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:16 PM
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Wow sounds like you live in NJ were all Performance boaters are the bad guys.
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Old 09-01-2008, 10:12 PM
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Wow sounds like you live in NJ were all Performance boaters are the bad guys.
I sold my Aerobatic Airplane for the same reasons, but BOTTOM line is I love my boat and I stay legal so FORK them.

They had nothing, and they knew it.
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Old 09-01-2008, 11:51 PM
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[QUOTE=Chris Sunkin;2671064]Start taking your offshore boat offshore, where it won't stick out so much and draw this kind of attention.
QUOTE]

Sunkin-

i got to tell you, i almost always agree with the post you make, and MOST of the things you say, but the above is just kind of crazy, we all like to take our "offshore boats" both offshore and inshore, and eventually if you trailer them, they need to get taken out of the water, whether you were offshore all day, or hanging out in a bay swimming and hanging out!

My suggesiton would be call the number on the ticket, talk to them, and explain your a responsible boater whether you have a 50' nortech or a 19' bow rider, no one deserves that crap!

Last edited by Boomer35; 09-01-2008 at 11:53 PM.
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