Baril v. Beaumier

In Collisions and Ships on (Updated )

Précis: The defendant vessel was found 100% at fault for a collision with a stationary vessel.

Facts: The plaintiffs were fishing from a small aluminum boat that was at anchor between two points of land. A second vessel operated by the defendant was proceeding at a speed of approximately 25 knots and collided with the plaintiff’s vessel causing property damage and minor personal injury.

Decision: The defendant is 100% at fault.

Held:The incident is governed by federal maritime law. There is a presumption that when a moving vessel collides with a stationary vessel the moving vessel is at fault. The defendant has failed to rebut this presumption. The visibility at the time of the collision was clear. The defendant has not explained why he did not see the plaintiff’s boat. Either he was not maintaining a proper lookout or his vision forward was obscured by the raised bow of his boat.