You’re renting a yacht with a skipper, what about his responsibility?

Usually in our point of view, the responsibility of the hired skipper is considered in terms of the deposit that we leave for the yacht. It is important to know that his responsibility is much greater, including the legal liability. Maybe you don’t think about it every day, but it’s similar when you drive a car, you are responsible not only for the vehicle, but also for the health and even life of the passengers. In case of the yacht it’s the same.

Why do we leave deposit at all? Isn’t the skipper responsible?

The deposit is a protection in case of damage that may appear on the yacht during the cruise. Even if you charter a yacht with a skipper, the damage can be caused by the crew without the participation of the skipper (e.g. lost barefoot or bouncer, damaged window, locker, clogged toilet etc.). Then deductions will be made from the deposit.

Doesn’t the skipper have his own third party insurance?

Every professional skipper should have a civil liability insurance, which will cover e.g. deductions from the deposit. However, it should be noticed that this is the skipper’s liability insurance, i.e. it applies to the consequences of his actions (not the crew). Most often, it will include side scratches, sails, damage to the rudder blade and similar.

What else should you know?

You should know that there may be other costs that have nothing to do with the deposit or the skipper’s insurance. This includes additional services such as the diving service. An anchor hook can happen to the best and if the skipper has thrown the anchor in accordance with all the rules it is difficult to talk about his fault here – it simply can happen. If this happens and you need the help of a diver, it will cost from 100 to even a few hundred Euros (depending on the place and depth).

What can you do to protect yourself?

Holidays are supposed to be a pleasure, and when damage occurs, this principle may be questioned. Not every situation is clear. Not always any damage is the fault of the captain or the crewman himself. It is worth considering taking out additional deposit insurance (with some operators it is even obligatory) – even if an “awkward” situation occurs, it will make it easier to solve the problem and after the cruise only good memories will remain, which I sincerely wish you.

Best Regards,
Grzegorz

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