Legal Question in Admiralty Law in Florida

if someone abandones a boat on my property and leaves the state of florida what can I do. I verbally agreed to let them dock it at my dock until they obtained their own dock. they never got a dock now they have moved out of the state of florida , I cannot contact them

Asked on 11/20/10, 12:19 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert Gardana Robert L. Gardana, PA

Under these circumstances, you have a federal maritime lien for storage. Enforcement of a maritime lien against a vessel requires the vessel be arrested by U.S. Marshals, after an in rem lawsuit is filed in federal court. Assuming that the federal judge determines the storage claim to be valid, a maritime lien will exist and the boat may be sold at a US Marshall's auction and title transferred to the buyer through a US Marshall's Bill of Sale. You may not be the buyer, nor may the sale generate sufficient funds to pay the storage and cost judgment, but you could credit bid to the extent of your judgment if you want the vessel. The concern with this procedure is the expense involved and cost of a vessel arrest may easily exceed $ 10,000 to $15,000.00, including costs and attorney's fees, even when the claim is undisputed by the vessel owner.

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Answered on 11/26/10, 6:56 am
David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

Chapter 705 of the Florida Statutes covers abandoned property.

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Answered on 11/30/10, 1:17 pm

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