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Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jaffe’s Answers

962 total

  • It is normal for a Marina to charge yearly taxes to an owner of a boat slip?

    My parents own a 45' boat slip in a marina in NC. It is paid in full. Instead of getting a bill for taxes from the state or county the marina charges them the taxes. Is this normal? My parents are in their mid 80's and when told me this I became c...

    Adam’s Answer

    Who has the power to tax, when, and for what purpose is an interesting question. As others have posted bred out, you have not indicated when the taxes are due nor the purpose of the tax.

    Clearly asking the people imposing the tax wheat the purpose of the tax is. You should bring with you a stack of your bills to make sure your tax has not changed.

    Also, since your parents "own" the slip, documents must be recorded with the County Rcorder/Assessors office. See what documents exist permitting the marina to levy anything on this property.

    It is unclear if you will need to speak to a lawyer once your investigation is complete, but if you feel compelled, speak to a maritime attorney. Be sure to bring with you all of the documents you have collected to assist him/her/them.

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  • What is my liability for a non injury boat accident for which i have no insurance coverage. Boat was rented

    the marina dock hands told me to leave the scene and enjoy the day. i scraped the rear of the boat. the boat owner is trying to get me to pay for other damages. the marina would not provide before pictures only after pics, my insurance will not co...

    Adam’s Answer

    Are you liable? The answer is maybe. Do you have to pay? Again, the answer is maybe. As Mr. Dickens stated, you need to review EVERYTHING with an attorney to assist you. There is no clear cut response. This could be ab issue with the company you hired the boat from in the first place. this could be a scam on the part of the "injured party."

    There are too many variables here for any one lawyer to provide adequate advice. I suggest you contact a maritime attorney. You can find one here on, with the Maritime Law Assoc of US (, or at the SE Admiralty Law Institute (

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  • Which law enforcement agency has jurisdiction on the WSDOT ferries?

    When a Washington ferry is underway and a legal offense is committed by a passenger, who should it be reported to? When I talked with the vessel's crew, I was told to report it to the county sheriff. After reporting to the sheriff, I began to wond...

    Adam’s Answer

    Who is the proper law enforcement officer to speak with, on land or water, can be quite convoluted. Usually, one agency will tell you that it is not them, but you should try another.

    for you, you COULD have contacted any of the following:
    1) County Sheriff
    2) City Police
    3) Harbor Police
    4) USCG
    5) District Attorney
    6) US Attorney
    7) FBI
    8) US Marshal

    The list can go on. Without knowing more about the offense, where the offense took place, where was the ferry when the offense occurred, who were the victims, etc. there is not too much guidance many of us can give.

    As I do not know the details all I can say is that if the Sheriff does not want to look into it further, try another agency.

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  • Can I sue a Cruise company for route changes?

    Took a 10 day Cruise in Alaska, the highlight was "Tracy Arm Fjiords". The ship had technical problems and changed route. We learned from the crew that a sensor did not lit and the sewage was not cleaned on time and had to go out to sea. Missing t...

    Adam’s Answer

    Considering how one-sided the contracts are in the cruise industry, you probably have little recourse.

    Assuming you purchased some kind of trip insurance, and this one aspect is why you went on the trip in the first place, contact the same insurance company and see what they say. Leave out the part of $75, though. That MAY constitute double recovery.

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  • Can I sue a marine surveyor for negligence? He did not let tell me that the boat I ended up purchasing had a car engine in it.

    I recently purchased a used boat and was told by the seller and broker that it had a new engine with only 42 hours on it. I looked at the boat and I agreed to purchase it pending a marine survey which I would pay for. The very first time I used it...

    Adam’s Answer

    The answer to your question, simply, is yes, you can sue. Your success will depend on: 1) what the written survey say, 2) the relationship between the seller, broker, and surveyor (which should be a series of written contracts), 3) what another surveyor will say should have happy.

    Similar to other types of professional negligence claims, an expert would be required to testify against the surveyor who authored that report. Further, there MAY be an arbitration clause.

    Finally as one of my colleagues mentioned, the surveyor who authored the report may not have insurance and no assets (not uncommon in Calif). An absolute requirement for you is to consult a local maritime attorney to talk you through these and other issues (claim against seller, state vs federal court, etc.)

    Look here on, Maritime Law Assoc of the U.S. (, or SE Admiralty Law Institute (

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  • Can a town establish a local regulation which bars anchoring in navigable waters (ie. a bay or inlet), excluding in a channel?

    This issue comes up many times when I teach sailing. I would like a clear and definitive answer. You can see one example here;

    Adam’s Answer

    The answer to the questions is both simple and complex. As Mr. Richard pointed out, in Yarmouth ME, the local government MAY issue rules relating to when/where a mooring/anchoring (absent an emergency) may occur.

    Often, a local municipality will try to regulate and a citizen will challenge the rule in Court (e.g. suing the govt.). What the Court rules will be the final decision.

    Now, that being said, the Govt. will - generally - have a low threshold for establishing reasons WHY it made the law it did. Often the threshold will be: is there some "health, safety, or welfare" reason why the rule/law was created. If the answer to the question is yes, and is not out-right laughable, then more often than not, the law/rule is upheld as valid.

    Now if your question comes from can a municipality (city, county) issue the rule or must it come from the USCG, then the answer is clear, it may come from the municipality.

    If you have more specific questions, I recommend you reach out to a local maritime attorney to get an answer that you are looking for. If you are in the USCG Aux, I would reach out to your ADSO-LP for further guidance.

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  • Can I go after a marina for damages to my boat from Super Storm Sandy?

    The marina didn't allow me in the boat yard 2 days in advance of the storm to secure my boat, this ultimately caused my vessel to sink in the storm. After the storm I wasn't allowed in to assess damage to my vessel for 3mos, during which time the ...

    Adam’s Answer

    You have multiple issues here, some you have not been identified. First, the marina has a lien against your boat for the storage fees in alleged arrears. This means the boat can be seized and sold at auction.

    Second as it relates to the damage to vessel, yes, you can sue. Whether or not you are successful is an entirely different story. I would contact a local maritime attorney ASAP to discuss all of these issue. There could be other issues which are not readily apparent based on what is written here!

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  • Can I be taken to small claims court internationally for a boat sale?

    Recently, I have sold a boat and out of ignorance it was advertised as a 98 but after signing the transfer of title the Canadian border inspector pointed out it is a 95. The private bill of sale both parties signed states a 98. It is no longer in ...

    Adam’s Answer

    Generally, under MOST state's laws, when the parties to a contract are MUTUALLY mistaken about an essential fact, the court will do 1 of 2 (or more things): 1) fix the contract; 2) cancel the contract.

    If #1, no big deal. If #2, then you have to give money back and they have to give the boat back.

    As Mr. Richard said, there is no such thing as International Small Claims Court. US State Court systems (as far as I know) all require that the person to be sued be residing in the jurisdiction where the harm took place. In you case, that is in ND, and NOT Canada. Most State Court Small Claims systems (as far as I am aware) do not permit the suit of a foreign defendant. As such, it is likely possible that Canada has the same protections, though I cannot guarantee. In short, if you are to be sued, it will be in ND. If you are sued, I would not imagine that you would lose anything other than restoring the parties back to the position they were in BEFORE the contact was created.

    Obviously, I cannot guarantee anything and I am only licensed to practice law in Calif. That being said, a relatively harmless error is not such a big thing.

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  • Boating accident.

    We were in a boating accident about a week ago. The boat that hit us got charged with speeding. How do I go about getting my medical bills paid

    Adam’s Answer

    As the previous attorney's suggested, contact an attorney with experience in admiralty/maritime law. Getting your medical bills paid, will ALMOST certainly require the filing of a lawsuit. It is possible to do it through insurance, but it is better to get the legal advice.

    There are other aspects to consider, which are too many to name here, but could include: licensing with USCG, who wrote the ticket, was it JUST for speeding (e.g. not any other reason(s), etc.)

    Contact a GA licensed maritime attorney. You can find one here on, on, or

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  • I let a friend borrow my boat. He sank it . was wondering if he is financialy responsible for replacing the boat

    I let him borrow my boat while I was on vacation. Boat was sea worthy. Pretty sure he didn't put the plug in it properly and it came out. Error on his part

    Adam’s Answer

    There may be State Statutes that deal with lending of personal property and it is later damaged. This is VERY common with automobiles.

    Though Mr. Richard is correct with the maritime law jurisdictional issue, I think there is something else to be concerned with: rescuing the boat. If it causes ANY kind of environmental harm (oil, water hazard, etc.) you will be on the hook for it as the owner of the boat. This does not mean, however, that you cannot get him to pay for any associated legal costs.

    You definitely need to consult with a maritime attorney. You can find one here on or

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