Diep v. Wuolle

In Other Practice Topics, Salvage and Wrecks on (Updated )

Précis: The B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal dismissed a claim for damages for repair of a sailboat that struck some rocks.

Facts: The applicant claimed the respondent crashed the applicant’s sailboat into rocks on a voyage while bringing the sailboat into British Columbia. Both parties were on the sailboat at the time of the crash and had discussed the intended route and were assisted by GPS. At 23:00 when the applicant was below deck and respondent at the helm, the sailboat crashed into rocks. It was contended by the applicant that the respondent had complete control over the sailboat and was accompanying the applicant on the voyage due to his sailing experience, and ignored the intended route.

Decision: Claims dismissed.

Held: The evidence did not show the respondent ignored the intended route or that he intended to have complete control of the sailboat. Negligence was also not proven by the evidence, as the standard of care under maritime law was judged according to the standards of the ordinary mariner judged by reference to the situation as it reasonably appeared to them at the time, and not in hindsight. Further, no information of tides or their effect on the sailboat were available to the parties before the voyage, so the nature of the tide was not determinative of what reasonably appeared to the respondent at the time of the crash.