Billy writes from down in Jasper County, “Dear Mr. Cooper. I have a pleasure boat that was damaged when my neighbor’s son in law ran into it. What can I recover for in court? I need to know just in case the son in law’s character isn’t any better than his driving.”
Good question, Billy. The usual items of damage recoverable in a pleasure boat property damage case would include, salvage or towage or emergency expenditures, repair costs, diminution in value if repairs do not fully restore the vessel to its precasualty value, loss of use if the vessel’s provable revenues are interrupted, and pre-judgment interest from the casualty.
Dorothy sends her letter all the way from Sumter, “Dear Mr. Cooper, greetins. Afore my husband pass, he tol me bout his pleasure boat. He alus say, when he pass, he want his pleasure boat to go to Nicodemus. Well now my problem. I done scoured that dock up an down. . . up an down. None of dem boats give me no pleasure tall. I give up. How do you tell a pleasure boat?”
Excellent question, Dorothy. A pleasure boat is a gift from a relative or friend. A pleasure boat appears when needed, on time, freshly painted and in Bristol condition. A pleasure boat needs no maintenance, upkeep, repair, or painting. In fact, a true pleasure boat requires no expenditure at all, and is always kept at someone else’s dock. A pleasure boat is the fastest in the fleet, makes no noise to speak of, and never sustains a break down like her cousin the dis-pleasure boat. If a pleasure boat be propelled by gasoline or diesel engine, her tank is filled with a smile and the charges cheerfully added to someone else’s bill. A pleasure boat’s galley cupboards are always filled to bursting with the tastiest food and all manner of drink, compliments of others. Now, that’s a pleasure boat. . . and they are becoming harder and harder to find.
My friends, if you in the past acquired a boat which you thought was a pleasure boat, only to discover later that it was a dis-pleasure boat in pleasure boat clothing, take heart; cheer up; under a new bill now before Congress, you may soon be able to request that the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Office in West Virginia change your boat’s pleasure use endorsement to an official endorsement for unhappy use. Compliments of Congress.
More next week on The Admiralty Docket. Until then, remember your rights and responsibilities may change as you approach the shore and may God Almighty grant you pleasant sailing.