Don’t Walk the Plank Alone…
Do You Know How to Protect Your Boat From a Maritime Lien and a Forced Sale?
Don’t be bamboozled by poorly drafted and unfair contracts …..At the Horton Law Group, P.A. we will fight for you until the Bitter End!
Did you know that every time you sign a contract for services to be performed on your boat – you may subject your boat to a “Maritime Lien”? A Maritime Lien gives a provider of fuel, repair services, storage…etc., AN AUTOMATIC LIENon the ship to which the services were provided. By automatic – I mean, the lien exists the second the fuel is pumped, the ship is repaired or the boat is docked/stored. It is sort of like “a secret lien” because the lien does not need to be recorded anywhere to attach to the vessel. The lien allows the provider of the services to seize the ship and sell it in satisfaction of the lien so it can recover its costs from the sale. Moreover, if you buy a boat subject to one of these “secret liens”, the lien holder can come after YOU for the money owed – even if, you, the innocent buyer, didn’t know about the lien.
It is your money! It is your boat! Shouldn’t you be “captaining” the terms of the contracts for the services being performed on your boat. Most contracts for boat services or repairs are drafted by the contractor. These contracts are usually “one sided” and contain unfair terms that can subject you to maritime liens, payment of the contractor’s attorneys’ fees, in addition to paying your own attorneys’ fees and that may even get you to waive your right to a jury trial or pay liquidated damages!
So who can enforce these liens and sell your boat so they get paid…..Any person who provides “necessaries” to your ship. Necessaries are those goods and services necessary to keep the ship in navigation. Fuel, provisions, repairs, wharf age, and insurance premiums are all necessaries, and there are many other examples. We recently represented a client who was one of many victims of an unscrupulous contractor who was in the business of alleging breach of contract against the boat owner and threatening to sell the boat unless they were paid excessive fees. Many of the boat owners paid the excessive demand (even though the demanded payment was not warranted under the contract) because they were scared that their boat would be sold without their consent.
It is time to protect your Boat! It time to protect your rights. We handle disputes between boat owners and vendors in connection with the furnishing of labor and materials in boats during the maintenance, repair, and renovation of vessels. You should have an experienced maritime attorney draft your services contract, negotiate the terms, or at least, review and revise the terms to protect your interests. If litigation cannot be avoided – the Horton Law Group will work around the clock to aggressively defend you and your vessel.