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Crew contract and skipper liability insurance

Important disclaimer between crew members

A crew contract solves many problems, but not all!

It is customary, advisable and in the interests of peace for charter crews to regulate their legal relationships as clearly as possiblebefore the start of the charter.

To make it easier for you to reach agreements with your crew members, we have developed the YACHT-POOL crew contract, which meets the relevant legal requirements in practice and has received an extremely positive assessment from Dr. Wychodil, YACHT’s legal expert.

An important point here, however, is that the skipper cannot be absolved of all responsibility. In particular, such contractual agreements are not effective against third parties, e.g. against the spouse or children of the injured party. If the skipper culpably causes an accident to one of his crew members, he remains liable, for example, to his wife, his children and possibly also his health and accident insurance. Only skipper liability insurance that also covers these cases, as is the case with Yacht-Pool, protects him against the associated costs.

According to the German Civil Code (§ 309 No. 7), exclusions “for damages resulting from injury to life, body or health” are invalid. The exclusion for material damage caused by gross negligence is also ineffective.

Only negligent breaches of duty that do not result in physical injury or damage to health can be effectively excluded in the “model contracts for co-sailors”.

These exclusions can only be made with an individual agreement. Should personal injury due to gross negligence also be excluded, this must be done on the basis of a contract agreed separately for each cruise.

The individual character must be clear. The contract should ideally be handwritten and text repetitions that are the same for several trips should be avoided. This is because a form contract can be derived from it in an emergency. However, a model contract may be used if it is actually a one-off trip and this is indisputable.

And that is why the crew contract only partially solves the exclusion of liability for the skipper.

The solution: Yacht-Pool crew contract in conjunction with skipper liability insurance.

We recommend concluding a crew contract because a number of important points, which are not covered by the skipper’s liability insurance, can be clearly regulated in this way, thus reducing misunderstandings from the outset.

The crew contract may be used free of charge and can be downloaded from the following link:

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