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Stick

Who's responsible for sinking my boat?

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Stick

After 3 long years of drought in Texas, our lakes are finally full (some overfull). My Malibu Vdrive has always lived under it's Malibu cover on a covered boat lift at our lake. Watching the lake drop ever lower in 2013, I got my boat on it's trailer so it wouldn't be stuck on it's lift for possibly years like so many other boats at the lake hanging over grass instead of water. I've always changed my own oil and winterized myself, but knowing it may be on the trailer and not used for years, in Oct 2013 I decided to take it to my local well respected dealer to be winterized. I thought they might do a better job than me and I might learn a few things. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago and our lake is finally full, I go to the lakehouse to de-winterize the boat and drop it in the water. I pull the cover off and discover it is full of water above the floor all the way to the ski locker., 1/2 the engine is under water, both my Optima batteries are underwater, the rear speakers under the bench seat are underwater, it's bad.

Stamped in big RED ink on my workorder from the dealership it says "DRAIN PLUG OUT OF THE BOAT". I never even thought to check it, even though I walked past it every time I entered the lakehouse. Since Oct 2013, any rain that got through the cover has been filling up my boat to where it's "sank in the driveway". There's mold EVERYWHERE, worse than what you would expect because it's been covered and full of water for months if not years.

I called the dealership immediately and was told to spray the starter and alternator heavily with WD40 and they said when they winterize a boat on the trailer they put the drain plug in the parts bag or in a cup holder. I alluded to the fact I thought this was their fault in that they said the plug was out, they said that it was the boat owners responsibility to check on their own boat. I drained the boat, used the hose and a shop vac, cleaned the seats as best I could, and sprayed down everything with WD40 as suggested.

The boat is currently at the dealership where they will see what all the damage is. When dropping it off, I handed them the plug from the stern of the boat and said "this was in the boat, not out as your paperwork said." They then told me that's not the plug they leave out, they leave out the one directly in front of the engine. I would have had to remove the cover of the boat, climb in and lift the engine hatch to see if they removed that plug.

So, long story short, I'd like everyone's thoughts on this. Who's responsible, what should be done about it, who should cover the cost, how do I get the HEAVY mold off the seats? Am I supposed to check their work and make sure they did what they stamped on the report they did (drain plug is out)? Had they done an oil change am I supposed to check and see if they put oil in it, if they replace the impeller am I supposed to check and see if they put an impeller in it? My boat was in GREAT shape and it kills me to see it like this.

I look forward to hearing what y'all think.

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ibelonginprison

In my opinion, their fault. Hands down.

They handed you a piece of paperwork stating the plug was out, and that it was winterized (meaning ready to be stored).

I'm not an attorney, but I imagine it wouldn't take a very good attorney to prove them liable, if you paid them to do that work, and the paperwork supports your assumption that it was "ready to be stored."

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shawndoggy

IMHO the problem is the passage of time. It's your word against theirs about whether the plug was out or not.

I agree the dealer should be responsible, but whether you could force that responsibility on the dealer by way of a successful lawsuit is another question.

Sorry to hear about this.

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RTS

They handed you a piece of paperwork stating the plug was out, and that it was winterized (meaning ready to be stored).

I'm not an attorney, but I imagine it wouldn't take a very good attorney to prove them liable, if you paid them to do that work, and the paperwork supports your assumption that it was "ready to be stored."

Good luck proving the owner didn't reinstall the plug sometime since Oct 2013. I doubt you would find any attorney to take this case. That's why I'd be being real nice to the dealer right now, and accepting any help he offered.

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REHinH20

Bad deal all around, agree with RTS - your savior now is the same dealer you are upset with. Hopefully your insurance is paid up?

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jetskipro550

Didn't check on your boat for two years...wow! When you mow, do you find cars in your front yard? ;)

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oldjeep

I'm going with your fault. Maybe since it is illegal to trailer with the plug in here, I don't get how you never looked. Even if the plug had been out you would have a moldy boat from your clearly leaky cover.

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chris4x4gill2

I've got to say, this is on you my friend. 2 years? Never lifted the cover?

I agree that the paperwork you were provided was evidently incorrect but even if the plug had been out, there is possibility of the drain becoming clogged and the same thing happening. Its hard to prove liability when nothing was done on your part that would show expected diligence or maintenance.

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Sixball

I am going with Your fault. If you have not looked under the cove in that time well :whistle:! All the dealers I have dealt with over the years have always pulled the T handle plug. But then I do my own work if I have no reason not to.

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Michigan boarder

Time lag is the biggest issue, you have to put yourself in the dealer's shoes. How would you respond if you were that dealer?

Gotta check your stuff. Heck there could have been a family of mice in there destroying things.

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Sixball

So is Insurance responsible for neglect?

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shawndoggy

So is Insurance responsible for neglect?

It better be? This seems like pretty ordinary negligence to me.

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oldjeep

So is Insurance responsible for neglect?

That is the big question. If the boat had been damaged on the trailer in a storm and you found the damage a reasonable amount of time later then I would think yes. Sitting on a trailer for 2 years outside without a peek under the cover might be a tough sell to the insurance company. I'd read my policy very carefully before talking to the insurance company.

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Falko

Most claims are based on negligence when you think about it.

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soonerbilly

Yeah, gonna go with your fault too. I had mine winterized at a dealer once and they didn't drain my heater. Claiming I didn't pay for a full boat winterization and only a motor winterization (wtf?). I ended up getting a new core and with the ideas from this forum got quick disconnects for future draining. Also do my own work now. Every time it rains I check under mine, these are expensive toys not to check on. ( and mine is an old 2002 clunker...lol ). Seems odd you would have never checked on it in 2 years, what was the point of removing it from the lift if you weren't going to check on it.

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oldjeep

Out of curiosity - what did your trailer tires look like, or is it up on blocks? With at least a foot of water in there I would expect all that weight to really squish the trailer and tires.

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Stick

Thanks for everyone's thoughts. With there being no water in the lake, we've gone to the lakehouse ~ once/month since the Fall of 2013 so that's ~18x I could have looked under the cover or under the ski platform to check the plug. I obviously kick myself now for not doing so. Honestly, I've been happy my boat was still there and the house not broken into or a tree on the roof with us only gong out 1/month.

I've had good experiences with this dealer in the past when buying parts from them, so we'll see how this shakes out. I am purposefully not mentioning who or where they are as I have no idea how this will end up.

I have not contacted my insurance yet, but will. I took plenty of pics to show the state the boat was in and I'll have a report from the dealer of all they find.

What's the best remedy for mold on my seats. I religiously used 303 protectant so I hope that will help it release.

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RTS

What's the best remedy for mold on my seats.

Sunlight! Take that cover off and let it soak up that Texas sun.

Edited by RTS

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Stick

To answer a few questions.

Had blocks under trailer to take load off tires.

Boat was on trailer and not on boat lift so that I could trailer it to a lake and still use it. So many other boats in Texas were stuck on their lift with no way to get them off. They may have been there for many more years had it not been for the recent rains. They would have had to sell the boat with the house if they decided to sell. Even with my boat on the trailer, we were unable to use it because none of the boat ramps were usable. The one saving grace is that we really have only had rain for the last few months, so the engine may have been dry until recently due to no rain to fill it up.

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malibu2004

After 3 long years of drought in Texas, our lakes are finally full (some overfull). My Malibu Vdrive has always lived under it's Malibu cover on a covered boat lift at our lake. Watching the lake drop ever lower in 2013, I got my boat on it's trailer so it wouldn't be stuck on it's lift for possibly years like so many other boats at the lake hanging over grass instead of water. I've always changed my own oil and winterized myself, but knowing it may be on the trailer and not used for years, in Oct 2013 I decided to take it to my local well respected dealer to be winterized. I thought they might do a better job than me and I might learn a few things. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago and our lake is finally full, I go to the lakehouse to de-winterize the boat and drop it in the water. I pull the cover off and discover it is full of water above the floor all the way to the ski locker., 1/2 the engine is under water, both my Optima batteries are underwater, the rear speakers under the bench seat are underwater, it's bad.

Stamped in big RED ink on my workorder from the dealership it says "DRAIN PLUG OUT OF THE BOAT". I never even thought to check it, even though I walked past it every time I entered the lakehouse. Since Oct 2013, any rain that got through the cover has been filling up my boat to where it's "sank in the driveway". There's mold EVERYWHERE, worse than what you would expect because it's been covered and full of water for months if not years.

I called the dealership immediately and was told to spray the starter and alternator heavily with WD40 and they said when they winterize a boat on the trailer they put the drain plug in the parts bag or in a cup holder. I alluded to the fact I thought this was their fault in that they said the plug was out, they said that it was the boat owners responsibility to check on their own boat. I drained the boat, used the hose and a shop vac, cleaned the seats as best I could, and sprayed down everything with WD40 as suggested.

The boat is currently at the dealership where they will see what all the damage is. When dropping it off, I handed them the plug from the stern of the boat and said "this was in the boat, not out as your paperwork said." They then told me that's not the plug they leave out, they leave out the one directly in front of the engine. I would have had to remove the cover of the boat, climb in and lift the engine hatch to see if they removed that plug.

So, long story short, I'd like everyone's thoughts on this. Who's responsible, what should be done about it, who should cover the cost, how do I get the HEAVY mold off the seats? Am I supposed to check their work and make sure they did what they stamped on the report they did (drain plug is out)? Had they done an oil change am I supposed to check and see if they put oil in it, if they replace the impeller am I supposed to check and see if they put an impeller in it? My boat was in GREAT shape and it kills me to see it like this.

I look forward to hearing what y'all think.

100% your fault.

Just another reason to do it yourself.

Get it out in the open and let the sun bake it to help get rid of the mold. Your always going to have a mold issue now.

I look under my cover in the winter all the time and it's in my garage.

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RTS

BTW...regardless of what the dealer says, plan on a new steering cable. If it is not seized up now, it will be shortly. They don't like being under water for long.

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Stevo

I have a hard time seeing how that much water seeps into the boat without ripping the cover ?

Depending on where you are I would think a cover failure with all the recent rain would be more plausible

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