Join Date: Jul 2004
Auzee: the reason your first link didn't go through is for a silly "." at the end of the address (".html."). when it didn't go through I just removed that full stop and resubmitted, and it went through. Only pointing it out because these little dots and stuff get into links all the time and this saves people some time if they try to find and fix the little glitch.
Now to the meat of the posting, the crew agreement. I found it to be pretty comprehensive and complete, as far as protecting the owner/skipper. Doesn't do much for the crew, though, does it?
My suggestions to crew. First, it states that laws of USA apply. If you're on a differently flagged vessel, you've boarded the vessel outside the US, and ESPECIALLY if you also are not a US citizen, I don't see how this agreement is particularly binding on anyone.
Next. At the end of the agreement is
"I, or my heirs, next of kin, legal representatives, successors and assigns, and in consideration of the acceptance as a crew member of the yacht _____________, do hereby waive any and all claims which I may have against (Your Name)____________,or any other duly qualified and authorized captain appointed by him, arising out of, or in any way connected with, my participation as a members of the crew of the yacht, and understand and agree that, as a member of the crew of said yacht, I have no recourse or claims of any kind against (Your name)__________________, and shall hold him harmless against all consequences of my participation as a crew member aboard the yacht. "
That is an exceptionally broad waiver of liability for the owner/skipper. In US courts it wouldn't hold up (to quote a lawyer friend, "you can't sign away your rights"). However, a dispute might not be adjudicated in a US court. There's nothing about the owner of the vessel having any insurance, particularly liability. There's nothing about the owner holding the crew harmless for any accident/damage to the vessel, or another vessel.
I am not a lawyer, so before signing something that appears so binding, perhaps a lawyer should weigh in on this issue. However, I dislike such one-sided "agreements" on principle, and particularly when the burden for verifying all statements of owner/skipper competence and safety equipment is placed on the crew member. If I were the crew being asked to sign this, I would want some resume of competence, and some lists of appropriate safety gear, included in the agreement.
Does this sound as if I'm being a bit hard-nosed? Well, absolutely. How is a relatively inexperienced crew member supposed to verify the adequacy of radios and first-aid kit? Among other issues. I believe that the average person, having gotten as far as the port where the vessel is sitting, would be rather overwhelmed by the burdens placed on him to make sure he is going to be safe.
This is not to say that I don't believe that a crew agreement is inappropriate. To the contrary, I like the idea of a document setting out the responsibilities of both parties. I just don't think this document is comprehensive enough in setting out the skipper/owner's responsibilities.
I'd like to hear others' opinions now.