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100Ton Licensed Captain - Not Hired as captain

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by boatingetc, Jun 28, 2013.

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  1. boatingetc

    boatingetc New Member

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    I've accepted a job as the sole crew member aboard a Sabre 40 out of New York. I was hired for the general upkeep of the vessel and assisting the owners and guests while aboard. I currently hold a 100 ton captains license. While the boat is less than 65 feet and we are not a charter vessel, who is held responsible in the event of an emergency or accident. The captain / owner does not have a license as it isn't needed on this vessel.
    I have had no success contacting the Coast Guard about this as I only get thrown around between different contacts within the CG.
    I am really curious what exactly my license means and who is held responsible. I've been told examples that even if I'm on a 100 foot boat and the captain holds a 50 ton, and I have a 100 ton; I will be held responsible.

    Cheers
  2. rhinotub

    rhinotub Member

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    Blame the GOP
  3. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    What? You don't like the answers you got on all the other forums?

    Haven't you called the local MSO yet either?
  4. boatingetc

    boatingetc New Member

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    I believe as an individual I am allowed my right to search around for the opinions of different people and captains. With little luck contacting the Coast Guard I am trying to figure out a general consensus until I have luck searching through the CFRs or contacting the CG directly. I did not write on this forum to have my head chewed off from the start. Thank you for your post.
  5. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I think it will depend on the exact circumstances of the accident, your actions, and duties at the time.

    If you are not at the helm, and were not involved in any navigation, I don't see how you could be held responsible.

    Now if you happen to be at the helm at the time of, for instance, a collision you may be partially responsible.

    Obviously, you want to your contract or job agreement to clearly state that you are hired as a crew and not as a captain. You may also want to make sure the owner downs provide his insurer a copy of your license...


    There is a lot of folklore and urban legends being bounced around the internet as facts, especially when it comes to licenses. It s always "I hear" or "I was told", but never verifiable references. In this case, being such a vague situation I don't think you will get any answer.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You are the professional.
  7. captainwjm

    captainwjm Senior member

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    Agree; and you may want to look into your own liability insurance [I would]. You may be able to negotiate the premium as part of your compensation, and depending on your employment contract and coverage by the owner's insurance, it probably won't be too expensive.
  8. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I know that as a license holder you are expected to know the limits and responsibilities of holding that license. I know that you are obligated to know how to determine which regulations apply to you under what conditions. I also know that phoning a CG office and hoping to find someone to give you a "Cliff's Notes" version of your standing in any particular instance is both ignorant and a waste of other people's time.

    If you want a legal opinion, go to a lawyer. If you want the CG version, contact the CG in writing with specific questions. You might be surprised to find out that they will provide you with an answer.

    There are many admiralty lawyers and license defense lawyers in the phone book. Call one if you can't be bothered to write letters to the CG. Don't expect recreational boaters on a website to provide you with legal advice.
  9. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Just curious;
    Were you hired because you have a 100ton ticket?
    ,rc
  10. rhinotub

    rhinotub Member

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    Great point.
  11. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Some years ago I was in almost the same boat:
    An owner of a 70' M/Y needed to hire a Licensed Mate as the insurance company required it.

    I told him I would be happy to take the job, but if we were running on my ticket, then I would be the Captain and the owner would be the Mate.

    He accepted and paid accordingly.

    With you and your ticket onboard, take charge and even give lessons if and when needed, but don't let them run around drunk and If something happens, all of a sudden you are The Man...:cool:
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You don't really need a law license to understand how these things will pan out. Financial liability will go mostly against the owner and his insurance company because they're the deep pockets. That doesn't mean you won't come out financially ruined though, and legal (and reputation) responsibility will definitely fall to the license holder. He's the professional. If you call in an electrician to wire a box and he says you can't put any more circuits on, and you say I'm just going to put another line on this breaker, how do you thing it'll work out for the electrician if the house burns? "But I only watched him do it and said it's ok" isn't going to cut it.
  13. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Your words indicate that it was the homeower who pulls the wire, the responsibility rests with whoever connected it up and applied the juice.

    If the electrician left when you suggested doing it yourself how could he be expected to shoulder any responsibility?

    Here's is another one for the masses to ponder.

    If there are two onboard with the same license who is responsible for mistakes and errors then?
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Yes, in the illustration the homeowner pulls the wire, but no, the electrician is standing there saying he can't do it but it's ok (same as the captain standing there and and letting the owner to act recklessly. In both cases the owner will plead ignorance and say they depended on the professional's opinion. Again, the reality of our legal system says the lawyers will go for the deep pockets, and since both owners are 'at the helm', they're liable. But responsibility goes with the license. Do you really think that either will keep their license? Would you ever hire either with this recklessness on their record? Do you really think that either would still have a business, home or assets afterwards.

    Do you remember that boat that turned turtle last summer here in Glen Cove? There was screaming right here (and from lawyers) about the fact that there was a captain on board (even though I don't believe he was a hired captain). Many were out to crucify him.

    As for the scenario with two licenses on board, there always needs to be a clear understanding about whose boat it is. Like when a pilot flies between flights. He generally sits in the cabin or maybe the jump seat in the cockpit. He doesn't sit in the pilots seat. If he does, he takes on the responsibility of pilot.
  15. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Exactly... So if a licensed captain is on board other duties others than captain why should he be responsible since a pilot sitting in an airplane jump seat is not?

    To stick to your flying analogy, on a light aircraft not required to have a co pilot, do you think that a licensed commercial pilot sitting in the right seat would be responsible for the action of guy sitting in the left seat? Absolutely not unless he starts flying the airplane.
  16. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    On the OP's boat he is the ONLY license.

    If a pilot sits in the right seat he has accepted the responsibility of co-pilot. If he sits in the left seat he has accepted the responsibility of pilot. If a licensed Master is hired on a boat, and is the only license on board, he'd best have a clear understanding that he's only being hired as a deck-hand with no responsibility. When the S--- hits the fan that "understanding" may not be so clear when an owner is facing financial ruin and/or jail time. The cops and media he meets on the dock won't be real accepting of that "understanding" and it's already been shown (in the thread about that boat that turned turtle) that the professionals here won't be real accepting of that "understanding".

    http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/g...incident-alleged-overloaded-34-silverton.html
  17. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Oh Geez, Ed, give it up. Right or left seat doesn't mean squat. Ever drive a helicopter? Even been a flight instructor? Ever driven an airplane from the right just for grins or to give someone the view from the left seat? Ever flown a tandem seat aircraft?

    If you want legal advice, hire a lawyer. If you want case law, hire a legal aid to do the research. If you want to chat about the concept of who is "responsible" for what, make buddies with an NTSB administrative law judge and go fishing.
  18. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I have sat in both seats on a G IV on trans Atlantic trips at night to keep the occupant of the other seat company at no time did I feel I had any role or responsibility in operating the aircraft.

    If I am travelling on a ship and there are problems such as a pollution incident I do not think I will have problems even if my ticket is of a higher level than the folks on board.
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The flight example is an tangent and an analogy brought up by K1W1 I use it only to point to the fact that if you take responsibility you accept responsibility. Personally I try to keep my feet no higher than a wave will carry it. And yes there are exceptions to every rule and degrees of responsibility and liability. The OP was hired as a captain, used as a boat washer and carried on board for his license. He needs to be very clear about what his responsibilities are and aren't BEFORE any situation arises.

    P.S. Marmot I seem to remember you voicing more than a few legal opinions about liability, for instance on a windy day when I moved a boat. Since liability law often comes down to who invests the most money in the case I'll stick with common sense and caution.

    I think the OP is quite capable of hiring an attorney to hear legaleze if he wants to waste his money and still get no answers. He came here of opinions of people in the business in English.
  20. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I don't think the OP was hired as a captain, reading his post unread it as he was hired as crew. As I said earlier, what his contract or agreement state is key

    I have flown many time in an airplane right / copilot seat as a passenger, sometimes with a licensed private pilot in the pilot seat. There is no way my commercial license would make me responsible or liable. If anyone think so, show me a case... Same applies to boats.. If you are not on board hired as a captain, or first mate, because you hold a license then your license is off the hook so to speak.

    Obviously if the owner screws up and some ambulance chaser land shark lawyer drags you into civil court, you may be found liable but the USCG will no go after your license