Avoid Liability – “Lease & Release” When Renting A Dock

avoid liability

Avoid Liability with Lease and Release -We all know about “catch & release” right? This post will guide you through two important documents to avoid risk. Use a simple lease agreement and a release to protect yourself and avoid liability.

No one should rent out their dock and allow someone to enter their property without three items:
1. Proof of Boat Insurance;
2. A Signed Lease;
3. A Signed Release;

The boat-owner’s boat insurance will generally cover the boat-owner for any damage that may be caused to the boat. It will also cover any damage that may be caused by the boat. So, for example if the boat-owner crashed into the dock, the boat insurance should cover both the damage to the boat and damage to the dock. So if you are going to rent out your dock, you must get a copy of the boat-owner’s insurance “declaration page” and confirm that liability coverage is in place.

Avoid Liability with solid lease and release documents

The Lease sets out the terms for sharing your dock. It should identify the names and contact information for both parties, and including the rent, term (length of time), and any rules such as permitted hours, and use of any other amenities. Many people have expressed interest in renting their dock, but they are concerned about how the dock may be used. The lease agreement is the place to limit and define exactly how and when the boater may use your dock. For example, if you don’t want them to come on your property after 9pm or before 7am, just set those hours in your lease. Both parties must sign the lease and in some States it must be witnessed by two neutral people.

The third required document is the Release, This specifically “releases” or waives any liability for the dock-owner. This is the most common concern that dock-owners have raised. The release should simply state that the dock-owner is not liable for any harm or damage which may arise from the boat-owner’s use of the dock and entry onto the property. The purpose of the Release is to confirm that the dock-owner is not responsible for any damage that may happen to the boat while it is docked at your property, and you are also not responsible for anyone who may be hurt while on your property to use the dock.

Avoid Liability with signed documents

Keep in mind that the Release is only binding on the people who sign it. If the boater brings friends on your property (who have not signed a Release) they won’t be bound by the Release. Check with your insurance agent to confirm your insurance coverage.

These are standard legal documents which you can get from an attorney or an online legal service.  These are legalzoom; or rocketlawyer. Sample templates are provided just as examples of these forms. Remember that laws vary in each State It is important that you have a local lawyer prepare these documents for you.

For more information see Questions To Ask Before You Rent A Dock

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