Warranties of Seaworthiness in Marine Insurance
Whether a boatowner knows it or not, there are two occasions upon which he will warrant to his marine insurer that his vessel and all of its appurtenances are in tight, staunch, and seaworthy condition. No words need to be spoken and nothing needs to be written in order for these warranties to be conveyed. The warranties of seaworthiness are silently implied into every hull insurance policy by longstanding principles of marine insurance law. It is important for boatowners to understand these warranties, the manner in which they are conveyed, and the moments they attach, since the penalty for breaching a warranty of seaworthiness is loss of coverage and avoidance of insurance claims.
The Implied Warranty of Workmanlike Performance
While many rules of maritime law originated in ancient times and have been passed along through the ages, there are other rules that have suddenly arisen as the result of legislation or judicial decisions. The implied warranty of workmanlike performance (“WWLP”) is just such a rule, since it owes its existence to an opinion written by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1956. Although a few restrictions have been placed on the scope of the WWLP in the years since its creation, it remains alive and well in both property damage and personal injury cases.
Treasure Salvage: Finders Keepers?
Property found in or near the water may take many forms – from a derelict vessel found drifting on the current, to a whale or lump of ambergris washed up on a beach, to a chest full of Spanish doubloons found buried in the sandy bottom.
In each case, the finder may desire to claim it as his own (or at least to claim a substantial reward for finding or saving the item). But how does the law treat each of these situations?
Understanding the Differences Between Towing and Salvage
Every year, hundreds of boaters discover first-hand the difference between contract towing and salvage. In many cases, the discovery is made when the surprised boat owner receives a bill for a salvage reward as opposed to a bill for towing services.