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Need a maryland lawyer opoin about work done on our own boat

Baltimore, MD |

Repair work from a boat fire with insurance claim and addittional work ,we own boat out right we want to pay bill we are renting a slip and dry dock at a mmaryland marina company did work on boat rents space from marina and now they are forcing a sale of our vessell why and how allowed ?
Why could not a mechanic lein be put on vessel instead forcing us to sell we need that boat for our living ?

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Attorney answers 4


It is a bit difficult to understand your scenario but it seems you are a vessel owner who sustained damage due to a fire. You submitted an insurance claim that was covered and hired a repair company to do work to the vessel. The repair company you hired brought your vessel into a slip the repair company rented from a marina/yard. The repair company did not pay the yard and it seems the yard has arrested your vessel for what is known under the maritime lien act as necessaries. If this is the case, and I am unsure whether it is, you would need to file a claim of owner with the Court and defend the maritime lien claim. In order for a maritime lien to stand, the goods or services need to be provided to a vessel upon the authority of the owner or its agents for a reasonable price. It seems as if the yard had authority from the repairer, but not the Vessel Owner (you) and therefore you might be able to fight the maritime lien because the yard had no authority from you. The best way to handle is to post a bond for the amount claimed and get the vessel out from arrest. The costs of arrest could outstretch the amount of the claimed maritime lien. I suspect the yard is acting as the custodian now, so you want to bond out asap.


I cannot follow the scenario, but seems insurer, repairer, owner and marina are involved. You need to get to the bottom of this immediately. Go to courthouse and get copies of the claims and paperwork, and hire an attorney who knows maritime liens. These liens are tricky and different from mechanic liens in that they do not get recorded. Also, they get satisfied by a sale of the property, but you could post a bond for slightly more than the value of the claim to keep the vessel from being sold. Do not delay. You can lose your boat.You are right to want a local attorney, but you need to see one right away. Good luck.

Legal disclaimer: This answer does not constitute, legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Free Consultation 813 259-9494 Michael Lygnos, Esq., Lygnos Law Firm P.A., Serving Tampa Bay, Florida


Maryland law permits mechanic's liens for work done, and general maritime law permits liens for "necessaries." A state law lien can be enforced by possession and forced sale of the vessel. A general maritime lien (often called a "hidden lien") is enforced by seizure of the vessel (an "arrest"). Both processes provide you with opportunities to post security to obtain release of the vessel and contest the claim. But both processes have strict deadlines if a court proceeding has been filed. This is a common issue, here in Baltimore. I actually began my practice in the 1980's by working with the federal marshals to arrest vessels in the Port of Baltimore, and to gain their release so they could continue on their voyages. Don't delay! Seek advice!


The Maryland Act covering possessory liens (also erroneously called mechanics liens) on personal property (including boats) is found in the Commercial Law Article of the Maryland Code section 16-101 and following. These laws allow the person in possession of your vessel to assert a possessory lien upon it for providing dockage, repairs, fuel, etc. The lien arises the minute the service is provided. If the bill is not paid for 30 days the holder of the lien may foreclose it by auctioning the boat. Your facts aren't clear but it sounds like you have received a Notice that an auction is being held. You must act quickly if you want to avoid the auction. You can file suit in the District Court of Maryland for "replevin". You would have to post a bond to cover the expense of the disputed bill. Once the bond is posted the auction is stopped and you can regain possession of the boat. All of this takes time so act immediately.

Thomas C Valkenet

Thomas C Valkenet


Hey, Steve: I actually spoke to these folks. They've already filed and lost their replevin action. It's down to the bitter end. Hope you are well.

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