BoatU.S. warns of marina removal orders

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – With Hurricane Ivan expected to strike the Gulf Coast sometime today or early tomorrow, Boat Owners Association of The United States has received reports that some marinas may be requiring boat owners to remove vessels from their slips in hopes of preventing damage to docks, piers and other facilities.

But BoatU.S. said in a press release yesterday that such orders can put lives at increased risk, possibly leave vessels in less favorable anchorages where they could be more heavily damaged, and are – at least in Florida – illegal.

“The Florida legislature decided long ago that as a matter of public policy, marina operators cannot require vessels to be removed from marinas in the face of an approaching hurricane,” said BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Vice President Carroll Robertson. “We agree that protecting lives and safety of vessel owners is rightly placed before the interests of protecting property.”

However, Robertson said the state’s statue does require boat owners to exercise reasonable care in making storm preparations, including properly securing the boat with extra lines, reducing windage and removing or securing any items that could blow away and cause further damage.

BoatU.S. said the existence of similar laws was unconfirmed in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, which are also expected to feel the effects of Ivan.

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