The term “discoverer guardians” is about as forensically substantial as the rhymes, songs, and writings of centuries ago when the term first appeared. Nautilus Insurance
It’s an entertaining phrase but one that doesn’t stack up in a courtroom. Nautilus Insurance
The last time we had flooding that washed away all manner of items, including boats and pontoons, in Moreton Bay and beyond, a number of social media warriors asked if they had the right to keep the things they “found”, including a person who thought an aluminum canoe might now be his.
Without thinking for a moment how he might feel if the positions were reversed – if he had lost the canoe rather than finding it – he used terms such as “finders’ keepers” and “rescue” in an effort to substantiate his request.
Perhaps using social media to ask unqualified people legal questions is enough of an indication of the person’s intellectual capacity in the first place.
However, as a preview, you can’t automatically keep something because you “found” it and that’s before we even consider what “found” might mean.
As a responsible citizen, you have a moral and legal obligation to seek out the original owner of anything you claim to have now “found”.
You can’t just hang it up and take it home. Nautilus Insurance
Likewise, if you are on the water and find a boat adrift, the first thing before rushing to retrieve it is to consider your capabilities, those of your crew and your ship to undertake the rescue plan. you are considering.
Besides the safety factor, you could also put your boat insurance policy at risk if your boat and engine are not designed to undertake such recovery.
Logically, many maritime rescue groups have the training, equipment and vessels built specifically to undertake such rescues and recoveries.
Back to your “finding” and claiming ownership – in many cases, formally contacting the police and reporting the find may be your most logical first step.
They have access to resources that can increase the chances of finding the rightful owner and facilitate the return of the asset.
Along the same lines, that pontoon or boat you “find” may not technically be the legal property of the registered owner.
A finance company, another person, a corporation, the ship’s insurer – any number of entities could potentially hold a lien or legal right to this property before the ‘finder’.
And it’s not just boats and pontoons – kayaks, canoes, tenders, expensive safety gear and a myriad of other items could roam our waterways for quite some time.
Our responsibility as boaters is to ensure they are returned to their rightful owners and to minimize the likelihood of them causing damage to other vessels in the meantime.
Contacting the authorities is therefore your first step. Nautilus Insurance
In terms of salvage law, it is a complicated process and it varies from region to region, as do the laws.
Even in the days of swashbuckling pirates around Key West on the southern tip of America and the Bahamas, there were strict rules.
The rescue of the crew of ships in distress was in many cases a mandatory prerequisite for being authorized to undertake the salvage of the goods they were carrying, and in turn secure a right of ownership over part of them.
So if you want to go down this road, you might be better off consulting a marine lawyer, because you can rest assured that if something of value is missing and in your possession, someone will campaign for the possibility of recovering it.
With respect to your own vessel affected by floods and rain events, what is covered and what may not be covered in terms of losses will be interpreted in accordance with the terms of insurance as set out in the Product Disclosure Statement of your insurance policy.
Similarly, any special conditions and deductibles must always be clearly explained in the DVP of your insurance contract.
If you need more information, you can contact Nautilus Marine Insurance on 1300 780 533 for any boat insurance.