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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 31607
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Had my boat impounded at my marina. I just went down and

Customer Question

Hi had my boat impounded at my marina. I just went down and it's locked to the dock. I owe £400 mooring fees but I have had no correspondence asking for this money or any communication telling me that if I didn't pay my boat would be arrested. I believe they haven't followed the guidance as stipulated in the 1847 harbour act. I am therefore of the belief that my boat has been detained unlawfully. What do you think?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: In seaham co Durham uk
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None. I have been to the marina office to pay today but they are now asking for all this year's fees up front too. I normally pay monthly
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I read I should send them a letter of protest as they haven't followed the correct protocol
Submitted: 8 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 8 days ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

Expert:  Joshua replied 8 days ago.

I am sorry to read of the above. May I confirm if you are aware whether the marina falls under the Harbours, Docks & Piers Clauses Act 1847 please?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Hi yesterday I took a notice of protest into the marina office. Informing them that they have detained my boat illegally and telling them to unchain it from the pontoon immediately. I checked last night and they haven't done as requested. My question is am I legally entitled to cut the chain and move my boat. Without infringing 1971 criminal damage act?
Expert:  Joshua replied 8 days ago.

May I confirm if you are aware whether the marina falls under the Harbours, Docks & Piers Clauses Act 1847 please?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I presume they are? They are a cock limited company and seem to have encapsulated some of the acts clauses in their terms and conditions
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
How would I check ?
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Sorry CIC ltd company
Expert:  Joshua replied 8 days ago.

Thank you. Is there any reference to the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act in the marinas terms and conditions?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I will have to get a copy of thier rules and regulations. The marina name is***** interest company.
Expert:  Joshua replied 8 days ago.

thank you. The harbour would appear to be within the ambit of the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 which allows the harbourmaster to detain a vessel which has not paid fees seven days after a formal demand has been made in relation to those fees. From what you say, in this case, no demand has been made in relation to fees and as such, the right does not arise. You may wish to challenge the harbourmaster to produce evidence of a demand being made in this respect and in the event they are unable to do so, invite them to remove any items which are preventing the movement of your vessel observing that such restraints are unlawful in the absence of any formal demand having been made in the seven days beforehand.

If the harbourmaster claims to rely upon the Torts Act, there is still a requirement for a notice to be served upon you before any restraint is applied to your vessel and again, I presume in this case that has not occurred.

In terms of resolving the dispute, naturally, if notwithstanding the above you accept that the fees are owed, the simplest approach may be simply to pay the fees demanded. If you dispute the fees or are otherwise unable to come to an agreement, then you could consider applying for an injunction in the County Court requiring the harbourmaster to remove any restraining items from the vessel:

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Hi I found this. From what I am reading they have broken thier own regulations. I have had no correspondence informing me or giving me notice to pay the outstanding sum of£268.00.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you. The marina now wants me to pay a year in advance . I used to pay monthly. While I am not disputing I owe a sum of money. Would I be in the right to remove the chain from my vessel by cutting it off?
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
It's more a matter of principle. I have been on the marina 4 years and feel I have been victimised
Expert:  Joshua replied 8 days ago.

if you are confident  the chain is unlawful on the basis of what we have discussed above, and you can remove the chain without causing damage or at least significant damage then you could contemplate this. You would need to consider however that if you remove the chain in such a way which damages the chain, this can constitute criminal damage and you may be liable for the replacement cost of the chain. Naturally, you may also have a counterclaim against the marina for unlawful restraint of your vessel and the consequent loss of amenity you suffered though to the extent the matter can be resolved amicably, that would generally be preferable to court action or self-help

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Joshua replied 8 days ago.

I'm glad the above answers all your questions for now. If you have any follow up questions please revert to me.

Expert:  Joshua replied 7 days ago.

I hope I was able to answer your question. If you would like to ask me another question in the future, you can add me as a favourite Expert. You'll have the option to do that on your "My Questions" page if you choose to rate our interaction or you can request me by name if you wish. Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer and see you again in the future I hope.