Annual Conference Round Table Discussions – Legal and Business Support

HOW BUSINESSES CAN RECOVER BAD DEBT –  Legal v’s Practical route 






Boat yard is owed £6,000 from a customer in respect of boat repairs carried out at the yard. The customer is in financial trouble and the only realisable asset is the boat. How does the boat yard recover its costs without expensive & lengthy legal proceedings disproportionate to the debt? 1. Practical Solution– Engage services of a debt recovery organisation to recover the debt on boatyard’s behalf.2. Legal Solution

(i) Arrest the vessel through Admiralty Court. If the debt remains unpaid, apply to court for an order for sale – cost £1,000

(ii) Small claims court – money claim on line ( – cost £100.

(iii) If other known creditors, join claims together to reduce the legal costs

(iv) Possessionary lien – refuse to release the boat from the yard until debt is settled.

Promote BMF Dispute Resolution Scheme as an affordable, effective way of dispute resolution for marine businesses.
EMPLOYMENT LAW –Support & Guidance for employers & seafarers employed at sea. 







Reports that many owning companies of commercial and large pleasure vessels have no experience of employment related issues of crew at sea and are expected to deal with complex issues onboard such as disciplinary & dismissal procedures. The lack of knowledge & experience is opening the floodgates to employment law claims with  regards employment at sea. Offer support & guidance on this issue to marine companies employing seafarers and promote legal awareness through Marine HR companies and Marine Recruitment companies.Run workshops & seminars to raise awareness.Create a central advice centre where employers & employees at sea can obtain independent employment advice – currently being looked into with Nicholas Moore Employment Specialists.


Raise awareness of this through BMF.Post articles on BMF SW website offering guidance and support to companies

employing seafarers.







Reports that second-hand boats are being bought & sold without any formality, leaving transactions wide open to fraud and dishonestly, damaging the reputation of the marine industry. Money is exchanged informally with reports of boats being sold without proof of title, encumbered with mortgages & charges, deposits are being forfeited unreasonably, incorrectly drafted bills of sale, and inaccurate ownership advice on joint / co-owners  to name a few! Obtain legal advice, especially when the sale involves private individuals (without broker), or more than one owner, or the boat is in a company structureGreater co-operation and information sharing needed between marine solicitors, yacht brokers & marine surveyors.



Promote legal services of BMF – Highlight assistance provided to members regarding contracts & guidance.Raise awareness & promote BMF workshops & seminars on the boat buying procedure and VAT issues.
STREAMLINING IN SMALL BUSINESSES –Outsourcing v In-house business services With many small businesses looking at ways to save costs, how far can / should businesses streamline?Should business owners focus on cash -flow / profits and outsource business services such as HR, payroll, accounts, marketing, health & safety, marketing, company secretarial matters etc… or try and save costs by keeping it in-house? Depends on the type of business & infrastructure. Undoubtedly a balancing act.Information sharing – encourage members to communicate with other business owners, share experiences, disclose any problems / difficulties overcome in respective businesses.


Inform BMF members of useful business resources:

*Business link

*HMRC Workshop & seminars

*Companies House

Promote legal & business support service of BMF.Feedback from BMF member who had used the contracts & guidance legal helpline was a positive one.  It was reported as being a ‘good starting point to talk through the issues before deciding on whether to instruct a solicitor’.
BOAT SAFETY STANDARDS AT RISK -UK Boat Safety Legislation v EU Directives 


Marine surveyor reported that boat safety standards are suffering due to EU directives which are ambiguous and a watered down version of UK laws . Boat Safety equipment is at risk. Reports of pressure from manufactures to keep safety advice vague. Results in ineffective boat safety equipment  – example given of  defective lights on life jackets and gas storage systems on Italian motorboats not meeting the required standards of UK safety and yet  allowed under EU law. Encourage information sharing – canvas manufactures for their views.Raise awareness.


Enlist the help of BMF to lobby parliament about these issues.



Promote help and guidance offered by BMF on RCD  available to members.Feedback from BMF member that BMF is an ‘excellent resource for help & guidance on the Recreational Craft Directive’.

February 15, 2012