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Thread: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

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    Default Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    So I was reading this article in Professional Boatbuilder about the Sea Scout vessel Charles N. Curtis

    https://www.proboat.com/2022/07/a-long-life-of-service/

    and one passage stood out:

    by state law, the Boy Scouts could be on the hook for proper disposal if a subsequent owner abandoned or wrecked the boat in Washington State.
    I knew that WA has a derelict vessel program but I wasn't aware of the liability issue, so I looked it up and sure enough there is a post-sale liability attached to certain vessels:

    https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default....ite=79.100.150

    In my non-expert interpretation it seems to state that the owner of any registered vessel longer than 35 feet and more than 40 years old MUST obtain an inspection from a qualified marine surveyor prior to sale. If the inspection determines that the vessel is not seaworthy and the costs to return the vessel to seaworthy status then the owner MUST repair the vessel or sell it for scrap only. If the seller does not do those things they remain liable for cleanup and disposal costs even after sale and transfer of title. There does not appear to be any time limit on this liability. It remains in effect until the boat is sold again to a third party.

    The Sea Scouts are planning to scrap the Charles N. Curtis due to this regulation. Which is sad but entirely understandable. I think that if more wooden boat owners in WA were aware of the liability then many more boats would be headed for the chainsaw right now. Or is this common knowledge and I'm the only one in the dark?
    - Chris

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    gentrification

    on a par with holding gun manufacturers liable for shootings

    Woodwind is one year younger and one foot shorter for qualification ,so this is sobering.

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    gentrification

    Woodwind is one year younger and one foot shorter for qualification ,so this is sobering.
    The difference, of course, is that Woodwind has not been inspected and deemed unseaworthy.
    This law seems aimed at those unscrupulous owners who, upon realizing that their neglect has turned their boat into a giant liability, sweet talk some naive dreamer into buying their 60 foot hulk for $300.
    We've heard such tales right here on the forum. It rarely ends well.

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    gentrification

    on a par with holding gun manufacturers liable for shootings

    Woodwind is one year younger and one foot shorter for qualification ,so this is sobering.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Bartlett View Post
    The difference, of course, is that Woodwind has not been inspected and deemed unseaworthy.
    This law seems aimed at those unscrupulous owners who, upon realizing that their neglect has turned their boat into a giant liability, sweet talk some naive dreamer into buying their 60 foot hulk for $300.
    We've heard such tales right here on the forum. It rarely ends well.
    Personally, I don't disagree with the policy. While it does seem like an encroachment on our freedom to mess about with old boats, I also think that every derelict environmental disaster and hazard to navigation foisted on the public by foolhardy and negligent owners does far more damage. It's not very far from "you are responsible for making sure your vessel is seaworthy if you are going to moor and operate it on our waterways" (which is not really much to ask) to "we are tired of cleaning up your messes so wooden boats are now entirely banned from our waterways". So I'm willing to accept a considerable amount of regulation aimed at ensuring seaworthiness in order to avoid a complete prohibition.

    But the thing that strikes me about the policy is that it moves the burden of inspection from the buyer to the seller. Previous to this legislation it was up to the purchaser to arrange and pay for a survey, and to accept or decline the deal based on the results. The secondary liability provision means that it is now up to the seller to conduct the survey and to address any recommendations before they are allowed to sell the boat. That's a huge change. The concern with Woodwind isn't that she could be unseaworthy, but that if Bruce were to sell her without getting a survey first he would be liable regardless of her condition.

    (I'll admit that I don't know all of the liability issues involved in selling a boat, and there may be other cases where a seller had some continuing liability in the past, but I think in general people assume that it's caveat emptor on the high seas).

    We are helping a friend sell a large wooden Chris Craft. It's a sad story. Her husband was killed in a hydroplane crash last year and she is left with this boat to deal with. She really just wants it gone but given the liability issues she can't just sell it. She needs to have it surveyed and if the survey comes back with significant recommendations she would have to have the work done or scrap the boat. It's a pretty nice old Chris as far as I can see from the photos but it's not a show winner, and big old gas-powered cruisers aren't worth much. It would not take much in the way of needed work to trigger the "exceeds the value of the boat" clause.

    I will also say that as soon as I read the statute I quickly checked the LOA of Petrel. We transferred her to her new owner as-is with no inspection. Fortunately she is a foot shorter than the cutoff, at 34', so the statute does not apply. Phew!
    - Chris

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    It seems absurd to me. Boat owners are forced to pay for a survey before selling the boat? Imagine if this was the case for houses.

    The new owner should be liable if they abandon the boat, unless they can show that they were somehow misled by the seller at which point they could be liable.

    Also, what does "seaworthy" mean? Seems like some poorly thought out legislation.

    Does this make it illegal to sell a project boat? Tally ho?

    Or if you sell a project boat, the new owner has a blank check to dump it in front of the marina at any point in the future and you will be liable? Absurd.

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    It seems absurd to me. Boat owners are forced to pay for a survey before selling the boat? Imagine if this was the case for houses.

    The new owner should be liable if they abandon the boat, unless they can show that they were somehow misled by the seller at which point they could be liable.

    Also, what does "seaworthy" mean? Seems like some poorly thought out legislation.

    Does this make it illegal to sell a project boat? Tally ho?

    Or if you sell a project boat, the new owner has a blank check to dump it in front of the marina at any point in the future and you will be liable? Absurd.
    Jon, I don't disagree that the regulation has the potential to affect things like restoration, etc. (although there are some provisions for that - see below). But I think the comparison with houses is not entirely relevant. I don't think there is a real problem with people abandoning houses in ways that burden society. Not that it couldn't happen, but it's not a normal stage in the lifecycle of a building. With boats on the other hand, and particularly with older wooden boats, it is all but inevitable that the boat will become unseaworthy and derelict if it is not maintained. Boats get ignored by people who cannot afford to maintain them, are abandoned at their moorings, and sink all too frequently, leading to a real cost for disposal and environmental cleanup. It happens all the time. We know that it does. We lament those events regularly here on the forum.

    The other thing that happens is that old boats that are not maintained quickly reach a zero or near-zero value. At which point they are sold for little or nothing to people with even less ability to care for them than the seller. Again we see this all the time. I could list half a dozen hapless (although always eager) victims of this scam. Anyone remember boatnoob? And once the new owner realizes that they are way over their head they walk away, leading to the inevitable denouement.

    So, where is the fault and liability here? The new owner is still absolutely liable and the state will definitely come after them to recover the costs of cleanup. But the reality is that if they got the boat for pennies they likely have no way to pay so that's a lost cause. The question then is whether the seller should be able to duck all liability simply by finding a sucker to take it off their hands. And here I am completely on the side of the regulation. I do not think that someone should be allowed to pawn off their soggy old tugboat on some hopeless dreamer for a dollar and a bill of sale and walk away without any responsibility to handle their mess. I hate it every time it happens.

    It's worth reading the actual regulation. Among other things it states:

    ...the vessel owner may not sell or transfer ownership of the vessel unless:

    (a) The vessel is repaired to a seaworthy state prior to the transfer of ownership; or

    (b) The vessel is sold for scrap, restoration, salvage, or another use that will remove the vessel from state waters to a person displaying a business license issued under RCW 19.02.070 that a reasonable person in the seller's position would believe has the capability and intent to do based on factors that may include the buyer's facilities, resources, documented intent, and relevant history.
    Meaning that as the seller you either have to make the boat seaworthy, or sell it in such a way that it will be removed from the water until it is scrapped or made seaworthy. Project boats can be sold as-is, but they have to be sold to someone with a reasonable capacity to do the work. Honestly that doesn't seem like a bad thing to me?

    And as to the definition of seaworthy, the regulation turns that decision entirely over to a qualified marine surveyor. Which is as it should be in my opinion. It doesn't try to establish a regulatory definition of "seaworthy" and it doesn't need to. We already have a significant body of practice around determining seaworthiness. We just need to apply it.

    My point in posting this thread is not any concern with the regulation itself. There are no perfect laws but this one seems to walk a fine line between public good and unreasonable constraint. But it does have a pretty huge impact on how we should approach the sale of any older boat here in Washington so it's worth knowing about.
    - Chris

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    I think it will kill many boats. You can apparently only sell a project boat to a licensed pro, and they will never buy them. There goes the rest of the old trollers. There goes many old boats. What if I want to buy a project? No legal way to do it? I apparently could not sell Julia without paying for a survey and being subject to whatever some surveyor says about it. Then the buyer would do a survey too presumably? That is a lot of travelift time. How about the Ingrid Pelin that was for sale recently? Apparently illegal as I think she had a few issues. So do most boats.

    The owner should be responsible, period. I also think the public burden is being over stated, especially as it relates to wooden boats. Most derelicts would not be covered by this anyway.

    Having an indefinite liability for something you sold long ago is absurd to me. Protecting the public from new owners who don't know much is not worth killing all the historic boats that are about to get the chainsaw because of it. Old wooden boat values are bad enough without this nightmare added on.

    Edit: Am I reading right that this is a law from 2013? Not being enforced maybe? Never heard of it before now.
    Last edited by J.Madison; 08-07-2022 at 04:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    I absolutely agree that this regulation, if it were more widely heeded, would kill many boats. It is already doing so in some cases. See this thread

    https://forum.sailboatdata.com/t/for...-happen/1621/2

    I do not love that thought. I would hate to see the Charles N. Curtis cut up, for example, just because of the liability. But realistically I think most of the boats that would be affected by this regulation are going to be scrapped within the next ten to twenty years anyway. Take the old trollers as an example. I don't see any chance that more than a token handful will survive once the current generation of caretakers ages out of that role. There are just not enough people with the skills and inclination to maintain, much less restore, a big old wooden boat. So what's the right thing to do? Just let those boats be sold on to people who buy them because they are cheap or free, and then let them sink because the buyers have neither the money nor the skills to care for them?

    The regulation states that a buyer of an unseaworthy boat for restoration must be someone with "the capability and intent to [restore the vessel] based on factors that may include the buyer's facilities, resources, documented intent, and relevant history." Is that an unreasonable expectation? That's exactly the criteria I used when I was looking for someone to take on Petrel. I would not have passed her on to anyone who did not meet those requirements. But I was absolutely flooded with responses from people with zero knowledge or abilities who wanted to live aboard her. I could easily have just transferred her to the first person who responded regardless of their capabilities. We can debate whether I should have the right to do that, but if I had I doubt Petrel would survive for very long. Selling old boats to inexperienced dreamers with no money is not much of a preservation plan.

    I think the real problem with the legislation isn't the seaworthiness inspection requirement or the secondary liability, but that there is no definitive process for releasing liability in the sale of an unseaworthy boat. It's up to the seller to decide whether the buyer fits the "capability and intent" criteria. And presumably there would be a legal burden on the seller to prove capability and intent if the boat later becomes derelict and the new owner cannot pay for recovery and disposal. So an entity like the Boy Scouts would certainly prefer to scrap a boat which has little or no value rather than accept the liability.

    I do hate this regulation but not because I think that creates an unreasonable burden. I hate it, and all similar laws, because they wouldn't be needed if people would act responsibly. We wouldn't need laws prohibiting the discharge of oil into the water if people would just not do it. But they will so we do. Do we need a law protecting the public from derelict vessels? I don't know what the real public burden is but it's not zero. Many, many old boats sink from neglect just here in Washington. Just off the top of my head I can think of a few. Avalon, a seiner that went down in Pleasant Harbor. Argosy, broke free of her mooring and ended up on a beach. Pickle, an Ed Monk cruiser sank at her mooring in Shilshole. Hero, a former research vessel, sank at her mooring in Willapa Bay causing an oil spill which still threatens the oyster beds in that area. I'm sure there are many hundreds of others.

    I don't know what the answer is. Maybe this law is not the right approach. But I don't think that simply ignoring the problem is a good way to ensure the preservation of old boats.
    - Chris

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    What is the answer to homelessness ?
    Is this not driven by homeless people discovering boats ? in part anyway.... homelessness does not account for vessels like Hero, Avalon, Curtiss of course.
    The "marina" in Lakebay was cleared out recently, this past winter. The south sound has at least 3 "ghost" vessels cruising around on their own now. I see a certain 30'fg sloop self anchoring from Budd inlet to Ketron Island, high water and wind takes em to a new mystery unmanned waypoint.
    There are 4 or 5 extra ,sketchy lookin craft in Gig this past winter. The Gigstapo will clear them out soon enough. I may be swept up with em.
    or, is it the whitepeopleonthehilldontwannalookatfunkyboats..a phenom i see everywhere .
    or jus too many people reaching for that piece o cake ?
    or...sometimes its a good time to scrap a boat.

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    What is the answer to homelessness ?
    Is this not driven by homeless people discovering boats ? in part anyway.... homelessness does not account for vessels like Hero, Avalon, Curtiss of course.
    The "marina" in Lakebay was cleared out recently, this past winter. The south sound has at least 3 "ghost" vessels cruising around on their own now. I see a certain 30'fg sloop self anchoring from Budd inlet to Ketron Island, high water and wind takes em to a new mystery unmanned waypoint.
    There are 4 or 5 extra ,sketchy lookin craft in Gig this past winter. The Gigstapo will clear them out soon enough. I may be swept up with em.
    or, is it the whitepeopleonthehilldontwannalookatfunkyboats..a phenom i see everywhere .
    or jus too many people reaching for that piece o cake ?
    or...sometimes its a good time to scrap a boat.
    I kinda think all of the above Bruce. And also that there are no perfect answers to any issue that pits personal freedom against public burden. If you want to have an argument in Seattle just mention tent encampments. But I'm not trying to split the baby on the drift-aboard situation. I'm more concerned with how the secondary liability affects the fate of old wooden boats and the people who own them. I agree with Jon that the regulation is going to force a lot of boats to be cut up. Many of those boats probably should be scrapped but I also think it will kill some boats that might otherwise have been saved.

    Skookum Maru is a good example here. She needed to be refastened when we bought her. If we had gone to John Thomas or one of the other full-service Seattle shops for a quote on refastening I'd bet that the cost would have exceeded her value by a good margin. Both we and the seller were committed to having the work done and we had other resources and options available, but with another buyer and seller the outcome might have been different. It doesn't take much of a stretch to see her in a land fill right now rather than about to head north for another season of cruising. The schooner Red Jacket was also lucky to find a new owner with the resources to care for her. I don't know the full story but I'd bet that she came very close to being cut up back in 2019. That would have been a huge loss. I expect that the Ted Geary fantail Creole will be cut up at some point soon. She's just sitting at Fishermen's Terminal right now, full of bleeding iron nails and rot.

    I expect there have been and will be many more boats like these. But while liability might be a factor in some cases I think the cost of restoring and maintaining wooden boats is the real challenge. At one point I saw a $500k estimate for the work needed on Red Jacket. Western Flyer and Tally Ho will both certainly run well into seven figures. Those are large, historic boats but even just a little troller like Petrel would easily have been a $100k project if I had to pay Seattle rates to have the work done in a yard by a professional crew.

    One interesting note, however. It turns out that before 2013 the secondary liability clause applied to boats longer than 65'. The current law just reduced the length from 65' to 35'. So it's not that new. See https://www.dnr.wa.gov/derelict-vessels
    - Chris

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Whatever happened to caveat emptor? Or personal responsibility? Stoopid.

    When I sell a car, it is sold "As is, where is, and carries no warranty expressed or implied". I've also added "This vehicle is not safe for the road at the time of sale". Why wouldn't something like that be valid on a boat?
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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Are there other laws like this in place with similar logic? Selling a plot of land that you spoiled with chemicals perhaps? Boats seem more like cars though, and “as is where is” remains the type of deal that I’m most use to when it comes to a sale.

    I will go back and read the statute itself.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    I think it's reasonable to debate the value of this regulation. I tend to agree with the objective. I am not too concerned with the burden on the seller. I dislike the implications for the preservation of old boats. Other people may reasonably have a different view. But before we say it's "absurd", or "stoopid" (how many Os should I put in that word Garret?) or "just like selling a car" I'd say...



    and



    and



    Old boats are not like old cars and old houses. If your old car is not roadworthy it might become a nuisance but it is not likely to be a threat to public safety or to the environment. And if your local municipality has to tow away your car or take possession of your abandoned house there is no significant cost to do so. Setting aside the liability issue, does it really seem unreasonable to require that a boat be sold in seaworthy condition, or to someone who can realistically be expected to make her seaworthy?
    - Chris

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    On this one, about 5 or 6 Chris...

    Forgive me for using the term, but this is the nanny state in action. IMO, if you can't handle it, don't buy it. I'll use my boat as an example, as it'd fall under this law. Who defines "seaworthy"? Suppose some idjut buys Neoga, doesn't check the clamps on the seacocks, takes her out & she sinks. I'm to be liable for that? BS I cry.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    If that was the actual effect of the law I would agree with you, but it's not. The seller is only liable if they don't get a marine surveyor to attest to the condition of the boat prior to transferring ownership. And I don't think it's a nanny state regulation at all. The point is not to protect an individual from the consequences of their decisions, but to protect the public from the consequences. In my view that's what a good law should do. We want drivers to prove that they can control a car before we let them on the road. We want ships to have enough lifeboats for all passengers. We want the crew of our airplane to be suitably trained and qualified. We want our water to be clean, our bridges engineered correctly and our buildings to not fall down. Do regulations of these things create a "nanny state"? How is it any different to require that the owner of a boat take steps to ensure that it does not become derelict?
    - Chris

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    "The vessel is sold for scrap, restoration, salvage, or another use that will remove the vessel from state waters to a person displaying a business license issued under RCW 19.02.070"

    This is the part that bothers me the most. Unless they have license for "Amateur Boatbuilder" it seems to rule out a big project like Tally Ho but also any number of people with the skills to restore and old boat.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    "The vessel is sold for scrap, restoration, salvage, or another use that will remove the vessel from state waters to a person displaying a business license issued under RCW 19.02.070"

    This is the part that bothers me the most. Unless they have license for "Amateur Boatbuilder" it seems to rule out a big project like Tally Ho but also any number of people with the skills to restore and old boat.
    Except that a Washington business license costs less than $100 and maybe 30 minutes for the online application. You can get a business license for anything you want. If that's the thing stopping someone from restoring a boat then I think they aren't up for the real work and should find another hobby. Seriously, the real burden here is trivial in comparison to the work needed to keep up an old boat.
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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Out of curiosity I did some more poking around the derelict vessel regulations and there is more. I expect that Garret is going to add a few more Os after this one.

    RCW 79.100.170 Transfer of ownership of certain vessels—Marine insurance policy.


    https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=79.100.170

    The transferor of a vessel greater than thirty-five feet in length and more than forty years old has an affirmative duty to ensure that any potential transferee has secured a marine insurance policy consistent with this section prior to or concurrent with the finalization of any sale or transfer. Nothing in this section prohibits the sale or other transfer of a vessel greater than thirty-five feet in length and more than forty years old to a transferee that fails to secure a marine insurance policy. However, a transferor that chooses to finalize a sale or other transfer with a transferee not in possession of a marine insurance policy assumes secondary liability for the vessel consistent with RCW 79.100.060 if the vessel is later abandoned by the transferee or becomes derelict prior to a subsequent ownership transfer.
    TL;DR: The seller has an obligation to confirm that the buyer has obtained insurance coverage on the boat. If they do not they will have a secondary liability for costs if the vessel becomes derelict.

    and...

    A person required to secure marine insurance or show proof of marine insurance under this section who either: (a) Fails to secure a marine insurance policy consistent with this section prior to or concurrent with the transfer of ownership, unless the vessel was sold consistent with RCW 79.100.150(2)(b); or (b) cancels a marine insurance policy consistent with this section prior to the end of the twelfth month of vessel ownership or to a subsequent transfer of ownership, whichever occurs first, without securing another marine insurance policy consistent with this section in its place, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The department may contact any vessel owner required by this section to have a marine insurance policy to ensure compliance with this section.
    Failing to acquire a suitable insurance policy or canceling it within the first 12 months of vessel ownership is a criminal offense in Washington.

    Also here's an article about the Lakebay Marina cleanup that has some context as well.

    https://keypennews.org/stories/legis...get-sound,5333
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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    It seems absurd to me. Boat owners are forced to pay for a survey before selling the boat? Imagine if this was the case for houses.
    .
    Here in France we have mandatory inspections when we sell a house, ordered and paid for by the seller. Electricity, sanitation, insulation, lead (paint, pipes or roofing/paneling) Quite strict too. Also time limited to six months, then do again if not sold.

    There are a couple of wreck restorations going on in UK on u-tube. Most of the experienced commentators think they will end up being abandoned due to the people having no idea of the real time and money involved. Look at 'Ship Happens' and see.

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Out of curiosity I did some more poking around the derelict vessel regulations and there is more. I expect that Garret is going to add a few more Os after this one.

    RCW 79.100.170 Transfer of ownership of certain vessels—Marine insurance policy.


    https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=79.100.170



    TL;DR: The seller has an obligation to confirm that the buyer has obtained insurance coverage on the boat. If they do not they will have a secondary liability for costs if the vessel becomes derelict.

    and...



    Failing to acquire a suitable insurance policy or canceling it within the first 12 months of vessel ownership is a criminal offense in Washington.

    Also here's an article about the Lakebay Marina cleanup that has some context as well.

    https://keypennews.org/stories/legis...get-sound,5333
    Yep - a bunch more. Especially when you try to actually get insurance for the boat. Because Neoga is 52 ft, no one I've found will insure her for anything other than general liability. Seems the likely suspects (Haggerty, etc.) won't insure over 50 ft.

    How do they handle that?

    I fully understand the need to protect our waters & am as careful as I can be. However, I cannot control what someone does with something I've sold.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    I get your point Garret but I still think that the regulation does not make the seller responsible for the buyer’s actions after the sale, which I agree would be idiotic with as many Os as you like. The secondary liability only applies if the seller fails to a) get a third party verification of seaworthy condition and b) get proof that the buyer has obtained insurance.

    That’s it. If you or the buyer obtains a survey - something that we always urge people to do when buying a boat anyway - and the buyer provides proof of insurance then you are off the hook. Neoga can go to the bottom with whatever impact on the environment and subsequent cleanup cost and you can tut tut about it whilst drinking your iced tea and feeling thankful that you took up a less taxing hobby. The new owner is entirely responsible for the mess.

    But what if the buyer can’t get insurance you ask? Too bad. You can’t sell the boat if it can’t be insured. It’s a hard world out there but them's the breaks. But the only requirement is for liability insurance and so far that still seems available for boats in good condition.

    Ah ha! You say. But what if the survey on Neoga comes back with recommendations? What if the surveyor says she is not seaworthy until such and such work is done? What then? Well if the work needed would cost less than the value of the boat the seller is still off the hook. Say you don’t have double clamps on your exhaust hose. First, shame on you. Put some clamps on that hose! But regardless, you get away with it because even with the depressed values of wooden boats Neoga is still worth more than the price of a hose clamp. If the buyer fails to add a clamp and Neoga sinks, etc, etc. there you are with your iced tea and your macrame again.

    Ok, so what if the cost to fix the boat is more than the boat is worth? Well that’s the entire point isn’t it. The goal of the law is to preemptively remove high risk vessels from the water before they become derelict. And there ain’t much in this world that is more high risk than an old boat needing major work. We can pretty much see the end of that movie already. As the seller you are sc****d. You got caught with the hot potato and you can’t just hand it off to some chump. No, you need to deal with your own mess. As God and Ayn Rand intended.

    You do have a couple of options. You can scrap the boat. Which would be a shame but the market doesn’t lie. If the boat isn’t worth anything that’s because nobody wants it badly enough to pay you for it. Time for the chainsaw. Or you can find someone who is willing to restore the boat and can demonstrate that they have the ability to do so. Good luck with that, but it’s allowed.

    In all this I really don’t see a problem. As far as I can tell the law just prevents you from selling Neoga with bad garboards, corroded through hulls and failing fastenings to some punter with big dreams and no money, resources or skills, who will find themselves, ahem, “under water” on the boat within the next few months, forcing the tax paying public - that’s me here - to clean up the mess. Again, too bad. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for a seller who wants to foist their problems off on someone who is not capable of restoring the boat. That path doesn’t help save the boat and it doesn’t help the rest of us either.

    And that’s really my point. As wooden boat owners we WANT legislation like this. You point out that insurance is becoming hard to find. Well why is that? Because insurance companies are tired of paying out on claims for rotten old wood boats so they just stopped insuring them entirely. How long is it before even liability insurance is impossible to get? And what do we do when that happens? Here in Washington, and I think in most other places as well, you can’t get moorage if you can’t get insurance. And if your boat sinks without liability coverage you are going to lose your house along with your boat when they come after you for the cleanup costs. So when we lose the ability to get insurance ALL the wooden boats get cut up.

    I would like that not to happen. So I am in favor of laws that force boat owners to be responsible for keeping their boats from becoming a public burden.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  22. #22
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    Traverse City, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Since folks mentioned houses and house inspections. We have an analogous situation in Michigan with sand dunes (yes, we have them, lots of them actually and they are very pretty to sail past). If you build a house in a high erosion area within a certain setback line you have to build a house that is capable of being moved (ie, physically dragged away from the dune crest) and also an estimate for the cost of the moving, to make sure that cost is less than the value of the structure. As I understand it, this law came about when several houses fell down dunes, or became unsafe on the crest, and the cost of fixing the problem was more than the cost of just building a new house, so the owners just abandoned the structures.

  23. #23
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    Jun 2022
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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Two things about thsi statute. It does allow for USCG certificates of inspection to replace the marine survey. I'm not sure if that is easier or not.

    Second, this sentence is crying out for a comma fight: "The vessel is sold for scrap, restoration, salvage, or another use that will remove the vessel from state waters to a person displaying a business license .... that a reasonable person in the seller's position would believe has the capability and intent to do based on factors that may include the buyer's facilities, resources, documented intent, and relevant history". Is the requirement about the business license and capability/intent only modifying the "another use" category. Arguably it does, and in that case if you mark on the bill of sale "scrap, restoration, or salvage only" then you would comply with the statute. This is not specific legal advice--you should check with the licensing agency to make sure.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Would that be the USCG Auxiliary courtesy inspection stickers type of inspection? That’s pretty simple and low key. A bona fide uscg inspection I imagine would be ten times more fraught with red tape and bs than a “surveyor” approval.
    I suppose Woodwind may never return to the USA anyhow.

  25. #25
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    Nov 2014
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    Default Re: Washington State Derelict Vessel Post-Sale Liability

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Would that be the USCG Auxiliary courtesy inspection stickers type of inspection? That’s pretty simple and low key. A bona fide uscg inspection I imagine would be ten times more fraught with red tape and bs than a “surveyor” approval.
    I suppose Woodwind may never return to the USA anyhow.
    I don't think so Bruce. I expect they mean a USCG Certificate as would be issued to a passenger carrying vessel. Much harder to get than a survey. I'm not sure it's possible to get one for a recreational vessel.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

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