an incredible list of requirements and waiv-
ers in their slip agreements.”
Adds Dottie Stopher, BoatU.S. under-
writing supervisor, “Both marinas told the
boat owners that they knew insurance com-
panies would not cover what they were ask-
ing. The marinas expected the boat owners
to assume the responsibilities themselves.
“The marinas did not want to be respon-
sible for anything at all,” Stopher added,
“including damages or injuries caused by the
marina or staff, customers, or guests.”
Can marinas really impose such require-
ments on their customers? The short answer
is, yes, they can certainly try. But customers
don’t have to take the bait.
Liability waivers, also called exculpatory provisions or hold-harmless clauses,
are enforceable only when the terms are
“not inconsistent with public policy” – in
other words, when they do not conflict with
existing laws, according to a New York Law
Journal article (“Liability Waiver Decision a
Step Forward for Entrenching Uniformity,”
October 24, 2011) written by James E.
Mercante, an admiralty lawyer.
In fact, several court cases have judged
that hold-harmless clauses are valid, except
in cases of gross negligence by the marina.
FEDERAL LAWS REQUIRE marine manufacturers to issue defect recall notices when boats or related
equipment contain “defects which create
a substantial risk of personal injury” or
when they don’t comply with boat-man-ufacturing regulations. The U.S. Coast
Guard recently published the following
defect recall notices. For more information
about these campaigns, contact the manufacturers directly or call the Coast Guard
Boating Product Assurance Division, 202-
372-1073. New recalls are listed at the
BoatU.S. National Recall Alert Registry,