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Marine Salvage Laws

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Old 09-21-2011, 06:52 PM
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Here is alink to the old thread: http://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/g...tow-jerks.html
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ROTAX454 View Post
Both to Smitty and Paradox, thank you. Excellent letter Paradox. Copied, printed and placed in a large freezer ziplock baggie. Will be placed with my other documentation on board.

Hope that I never have to use it.
no prob, glad we could help. BTW, that "copy" will cost you a six pack.
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:28 PM
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So the next time I tow someone in I can claim its a salvage operation and steal their boat?
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:52 PM
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So the next time I tow someone in I can claim its a salvage operation and steal their boat?
or sell it back to them
your rotten
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:53 PM
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Paradox, Can you please elaborate on the following sentence taken from your "salvage letter".

[I][Any and all safety related activities to be supervised and conducted by Government Agencies or Government agencies authorized licensee/I]

No, not a 6 pack-------a 12 pack. Fresh and ice cold.
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:31 PM
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REALLY?

You just can't go out and lay claim to any boat the minute it is part of an incident. I am sure the man had tow insurance.
sea tow will not tow you in, they will claim your boat salvage if they need to give you a pump to stop you from sinking. towing is for break downs and if you run out of gas. theres threads on sea tow and how they have phucked race teams on here.
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:35 PM
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Thats were you are mistaken, this has come up in great detail before, if your boat is in imminent danger without oustide (brokedown in a shipping channel, sinking, could be fairly minor, or it floated away, you left itand
went to get a boat to tow it back) or you accept help then person/company under maritime law can lay claim to it as a "salvage " operation and can just about name their price to "sell" it back to you. It happened even during the kewest races a few years ago, tow boat USA or Sea tow SPONSORED the race and all entrants haad to buy a membership with them. A boat flipped and they towed it a few miles in like 45 minutes, they wanted like a5000 or 10,000$ slavage fee, not like they had to get it off the bottom or anything. The laws are very strange, I am sure someone else will post a link or the law, these laws go back 100's of years, Smitty
SEA TOW they sux
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:55 PM
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Paradox, Can you please elaborate on the following sentence taken from your "salvage letter".

[I][Any and all safety related activities to be supervised and conducted by Government Agencies or Government agencies authorized licensee/I]

No, not a 6 pack-------a 12 pack. Fresh and ice cold.
I put the in there since I known some pretty strange "towing" incidents. Basically it means that ONLY gov. agencies or athorized reps. (coasties, Coat Guard Aux. water cops. etc) allowed to make safety related decesions or towing. Let's say you run out of gas, or motor won't start. You in NO way in any safety zone or shipping lane. Yet.. a guy who has a "towing company" Sea Tow or whatever, might tuss you a line and "claim" he has to tow you "away" for "safety" reasons. He has no "safety" jurisdiction but once he has you.. you SOL.
It's a cover your behind note.
I don't mind being towed if I need to, I don't mind paying a few $'s or beer for a fellow boater if he/she helps me. but if I see a scam going, I make them sign the document.
And for the record, when I see "Sea Tow".. I rather start paddeling.. (And I have one in the boat, with "FU SEA TOW" written on it.)
BTW. the 6 pack is fine.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:07 PM
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$140 for unlimited towing includes $20 membership to Boat US --for TowBoat towing insurance. I tell people "if you have it you never need to use it, if you dont have it fate has you breaking down all the time!" Hell one tow min cost double that--MIN sometimes as high as $1k!!

FYI-- I knocked the belts off the motor and had no fuel, so I call the Tow Boat guy and within 30mins I am sitting at the helm enroute back to the marina!!! Its helps to be friendly w the TowBoat operator, but you cant see the auto AAA tow service within a hour!! I give their Tow service a
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:46 AM
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Exclamation Maritime Law

This is an evil, parallel universe compared to civil law and the like.

Most boaters have NO IDEA how it can and does work against them in many circumstances.

If your vessel is ever in any distress and you are using a towing or on-the-water service provider make sure you say the following many, many times where everyone can hear you.

"This is not a salvage" I won't sign any document that allows another party to deem it a salvage".

Even with this stated, maritime law works in favor of the assisting party; NOT the boat owner.

If you think a provider can not just "come along" and claim salvage rights on your boat then you are sadly mistaken.

Next time you get a tow or gas or whatever,,,, just read the back of the receipt they give you for proof of service.

You will be better informed and maybe even a little bit scared.

Then it gets worse - if you ever need legal service for some type of issue, you can't just call your lawyer that you already know and use.

You must find a real maritime attorney to advise you on how to proceed and trust me... That's one of the last attorneys you ever hope to have a need for.

With some exception, a huge percentage of the maritime laws are very, very old. They've been on the books forever and it creates an environment that is extremely costly to argue and litigate.

I am far from being informed to any degree but what i've read so far is just crazy and it's what you must work with whenever applicable.

Best thing to do is keep your bilge pumps working and properly wired so they work when you really need them. Test them 3 to 5 times a year. Typically, a sinking boat is the number one reason a provider can claim salvage. That's sinking from a rock hit or a cooling hose failing.. it does not matter.

If the boat runs aground and you have not breeched the hull. STAY with the boat no matter how long it takes for the tide to get high enough for you and help to get the boat floating again. If the hull is breeched, do you best to put an emergency patch on it to help slow the sinking process. Get it to a trailer or haul out service asap if you think you can make it.

Most service providers who want to claim salvage usually like to chase your insurance company cause there is "known" money there.

If you claim not to have insurance or tell them that "you" are the only party it sometimes will cause them to hold off a little longer. But if you have a nice boat that can be hacked back together and sold for a profit, they'll claim salvage and put the screws to you.

And if you don't pay, they can sell the boat and pay themselves but this would be an extreme case. Kinda like an ambulance chaser. If they smell money.......

This is a very in-depth topic and it's a very real concern if you find yourself in trouble. Worst part is; most boaters are consumed with the event and they are not sitting back watching for salvors who might be lurking and waiting for you to make a mistake or walk away to get food etc.

Sorry for the paranoid rant -

Last edited by SDFever; 09-23-2011 at 01:52 AM. Reason: more info
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