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Old 04-26-2010, 04:31 PM   #1
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Hi,

I dont mean to offend anyone here, but I am curious to know your opinions about marinas and your expectation of their services.

Say, you pay to be berth at a marina that have facilities and rates that are attractive to you, plus they claim to have good security so that your boats are safe if you have to be away for awhile. All these rates and services are listed on their website.

Then you left the boat with them for afew days, and when you returned, found that the boat have been broken into and some items were missing. Would you inform the marina of the incident and what do you expect would be their response?

After afew days stay onboard, you left the boat again. When you returned, found that the lock on the boat has been changed and the marina has no idea that it happened. So you broke the lock to get into your boat and found plenty of stuff missing. What would you do and what do you expect from the marina then?

This is a fabricated scenario, but it is close to what happened to us. Am just wondering if one should

1) forget it

2) claim own insurance

3) claim compensation

I thought it might be important for cruisers to consider and know what to expect from marinas that make you sign the liability waivers as soon as you are berthed. Hope to hear your thoughts on this matter.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:06 PM   #2
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Marina security is a complicated issue. We've stayed in marinas where access to the docks after dark was available only to boat owners and marina staff - the docks had gates across them with combination locks, some remaining open during the day, others closed 24/7. some marinas have 24-hour security personnel who patrol all the marina docks periodically, day and night.

Some marinas I would worry more about the staff robbing me than any outsiders.

Does your marina have that level of security? Are you paying berthing rates for that level of security?

Are there liveaboard boats near your boat in the marina? If so, have you asked them if they have seen anything suspicious?

I have never heard of a marina being held liable for theft from a berthed boat. One has insurance to cover theft.

In what marina have you had these problems?
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:07 AM   #3
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Understood that you have presented a hypothetical incident concerning theft from a boat in a marina, which raises some questions :-

Would you inform the marina of the incident?

1) forget it?

2) claim own insurance?

3) claim compensation?


Once the theft is discovered, very important that you inform the marina as soon as possible, Also inform your insurance company, and local law enforcement.

If the boat was broken into as opposed to just access being made by just sliding back a hatch or door, take photos of any damage.

Hard to give an analogy, however, if one thinks about parking your car in a space which has a parking meter, and while you are away someone breaks into your car and steals your radio. Just because you rented the parking space from the local authority will not entitle you to sue them for a new radio and damage to your car. Your recourse will be to claim on your insurance (if you have)

Taking the above example a little further (on the basis of a boat and a car being one's own movable property) When one rents a house together with the land on which it sits, and the house is broken into and your property stolen - you won't be able to claim from the owner of the house - you will be able to claim on your insurance for your property, while the owner of the house may claim on his for damage to the house.

Because marina's employ security in the form of access and physical patrols by guards, this will not guarantee that your boat and its contents will be completely safe - merely a deterrent. The odds are that when you park your boat in a marina there will be a contract which you agree to in writing, in which the marina cannot be held responsible for damage to or theft from your boat.
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:14 AM   #4
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Hi Jeanne,

Thanks for reply. We were berthed at the marina in MY, on the east side of Singapore. Note that we are careful not to specify the name of the marina here. The last thing we need is a suit for defamation.

We are part time liveaboards. I would say 75% of the time.

For the 2 break in incidents, we made 2 police reports. We had the support of the head of security, who was with us when we made those reports. After, the 1st incident, the security and management was sure that they would step up the security and it wont happen again, but it did immediately after we were gone. We lost about US9K worth of equipment and if we factor in the replacement cost, its alot more than that.

Our insurance did not cover theft in certain countries... and this is one of them. But even if it did cover, we would still have to cover the US2K excess and suffer the increase premium on renewal.

We have heard of previous cases in the same marina whereby compensation were given in the form of setting off against the berthing fee, but its sorta "unspoken" and "unwritten" kinda agreement. BTW, the marina's insurance did offer to make a small compensation, but it was too low to be acceptable.

This incident happened 3 years ago. Our lawyer advise us to channel all request for berthing fees payment to him. We did that, and he has never receive any invoice or communication for settlement. For 3 years, we stayed without payment whatsoever.

Now the marina have a new owner who came on board last year. Out of the blue, the head of operations decided to cancel all contracts that we had with the previous management, "written and unwritten" alike. Payment (starting from the time when we stopped) was demanded from us within 7 days and for each day after that we continue to stay at the marina, we will be charged double the daily rate on a daily basis.

We have taken our boats away, and are letting our lawyers handle the legal aspect of this case.

We were paying the published rate for the marina, no discounts. It is not possible for us to determine what is the level of security that we are paying for. Before going there, we had corresponded with the marina operations manager then and he assured us that security there was never a problem. We took his word for it. Maybe that was our mistake, especially when whatever happens, they are not liable.

We would totally understand that the marina cant be liable if we lost a handphone or laptop that was left in the cockpit. This would be simple petty theft.. This case is different in that it is forced entry and judging by what we lost, the thieves made 10 trips or more in 3 days, carrying away very large objects without notice .. Would you accept that they are not liable when winches mounted on the mast goes missing? Or that stainless windvane rudder, or the missing bronze turnbackle and rigging? This is not what happened to us, but close.

What I like to know is, what are your expectations when you pay to berth at a marina?
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:22 AM   #5
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Many, if not most, marinas "disclaim" responsibility for just about everything. That said! I'm not a lawyer but I'm told that won't stand up in court if they are neglectful, unless of course they declare that they not responsible for being neglectful.

They can require that you take precautions and maintain insurance, keep things locked up, good mooring lines, bilge pumps, etc.. Also, it they do boat repairs, they might have signs that state that you park at your own risk (due to painting).

I have one of my boats at a municipal marina that they wanted me to "name them as co-insured" (or words to that effect). I refused and my insurance company (USAA) concurred since there would be no way for the insurance co. to hold them responsible. The Navy marina where I keep another boat has a similar policy but I ignore them as well.

In my 50+ years of boat ownership, I have been at many marinas and thief problems come for shore, sea and from individuals at the marina docks. Many an outboard or even dingys are stolen by water borne thieves. Deck gear can also be removed and you might not miss it until you need it. I once was staying aboard over a weekend and had removed my 2 4D batteries to the side deck while working in the engine confines. While in my berth, next to a porthole, I felt the boat roll suddenly and looked out to see two fellows lifting one of my batteries off the side deck. I yelled out that I had a gun (flare gun) and they took off leaving the battery on the dock. They retreated to their dingy down the dock. I still wonder if they were going to try and haul both batteries in that little dingy. The next morning other boat owner notice small items missing from on deck. And we all notice that a boat that had been anchored in the basin was gone.

Previous to my purchase of my boat in San Diego, the boat was at a navy marina mooring for over 5 years. I found that someone had been staying aboard it since there was evidence of many orders of "take-out" food in the fridge and cabinets. The seller claimed everything had been cleaned out when his family moved of, prior to putting in on the mooring. This was when there was a lot of boats in the, then, designated free anchorage, about a mile out from the marina. Also, there is a navy housing area next door to this marina facility, so it could have been kid, partying!

Now I'm Rambling.

Steve
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:30 AM   #6
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All my instincts scream out that anyone who offers "security" has to stand up and be counted if it's not provided but, that said, the more likely consequence of failure to provide what appears to have been promised is outright denial of responsibilty or, ultimately a finger - possibly a lawyers - pointing at the small print.

As such, the objective has to be prevention and I have to wonder what can be is done to secure something as valuable but as freely accessible as a boat tied up alongside or, indeed, moored/anchored-off for any period of time in a marina or up a river somewhere?

What can one do other than trust the environment, stay with your boat or put someone permanently on-board?
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Owen' date='27 April 2010 - 04:30 PM View Post

All my instincts scream out that anyone who offers "security" has to stand up and be counted if it's not provided but, that said, the more likely consequence of failure to provide what appears to have been promised is outright denial of responsibilty or, ultimately a finger - possibly a lawyers - pointing at the small print.

As such, the objective has to be prevention and I have to wonder what can be is done to secure something as valuable but as freely accessible as a boat tied up alongside or, indeed, moored/anchored-off for any period of time in a marina or up a river somewhere?

What can one do other than trust the environment, stay with your boat or put someone permanently on-board?
Hello Peter,

the topic title :- Replying to What To Expect From Marinas

I guess in today's money culture the answer, to quote Clint Eastwood

" The Good, The Bad and the Ugly"
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:27 PM   #8
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Sometimes we have to just understand the bald fact that life isn't fair and just because something bad has happened to us dosen't mean that there will be someone we can get to pay the bill...besides ourselves.

We do not dwell on life's calamities and finding some way to extract retribution. Life is too short. We move on.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:25 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your insights and sharing your experience.

We are now berthed at a different marina, making new friends and moving on to a new phase in life. This new phase is gonna be more exciting, I just know that its gonna be.

News of our abrupt departure spread quickly amongst our old neighbours and we hear that malicious rumors about us is going around. We lost some friends and gain new friends... so we are both sad and happy.. but mostly, we are happy to be gone.

At this point, I am thinking that we have a duty to remind all cruisers visiting new marinas in foreign lands, to be vigilant and not to take for granted the security that is perceived to be offered at marinas. This is the reason I started this topic, and I am very happy to hear your insights.

Fair winds to you all.

Lang
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