Brais & Brais’ Maritime & Boating Accident Lawyer News Blog in January 2011 reported on a recreational boat explosion at the Delray Harbor Club Marina in Delray Beach, Florida. This tragic event caused the death of Robert Romanelli and injured two others including the owner. The explosion also resulted in significant damage to nearby boats and docks.
When presented with a maritime catastrophe which could potentially costs millions of dollars, marine insurance companies often seek the liberal protections of a little known statute called the Limitation of Liability Act. Enacted in 1851, the Limitation of Liability Act allows boat owners to limit their liability for any death, injury or property damage arising from a maritime accident occasioned without the boat owner’s “privity or knowledge” to the post loss value of the boat. In the case of the Delray explosion, the owner claimed the value of the boat after the incident was only $1,000.