SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Open Letter: RE: Boondoggle

By Al Johnson

July 07, 2019
Sunday PM

Good to hear from you Rep. Ortiz during you busy break (I agree with the Senate President as to the Governor calling the location, I disagree that it has to be. I would if asked, suggest that you attend where the Governor has indicated while the lawsuit proceeds (Deal with the determination). That too, disturbs me that the separated powers are in this fix.

As to the boat title issue. I thank you for common sense. I understand the issue from the Harbor Master's position, however if you think about it this action serves little in the way of improving abandon boat ownership in terms of handling disposition. One would believe the same legal steps have to be taken in any instance of attempting to locate ownership. It is assumed that the hull will have AK numbers, the registration for those numbers will confirm the last owner.

I am at a loss but intend to inquire, of the specific betterment this will result in face of the individual total chaos this will bring. Just imagine the situation at our local DMV and it can be the same at any given DMV office, where if we are fortunate at the moment to have two staff (No, I am not advocating for additional staff !!) dealing with a majority of auto issues now having to deal with a mob of a large boating population lunging to the counter IN PERSON to achieve a title.(Then because of missing or not having the correct paperwork turned away??) Pure lunacy in thought and action.

A better, idea would be a local harbor requirement that liability insurance be a requirement for mooring in public harbors (Including visiting boats or a local fiscal visiting  temporary waiver). This is an in effect requirement within the greater number of private and government harbors in the lower 48.
With the proof of liability insurance on file with your annual mooring/ reservations the identification of an abandoned boat would be reduced   Without proof of insurance, these craft would not be within the harbors to present a hazard or abandonment.
The often given rebuttal to this suggestion is the cost of insurance, to which I respond, "If you can not afford the cost of an insurance policy related to the size and class of your boat, then give a thought to the cost of pollution clean up and civil liability of NOT having insurance. Weight the results of your thinking to asking if you should own a boat"

Safe to say Dan, those that espouse raise the cost of insurance as a determent cost to owners, are involved with local harbor matters. Can't do better than that

Requirement of liability insurance would also give peace of mind to fellow boat owners knowing that the boat alongside in the adjacent float is providing coverage in case of a mishap, not the case now. As an example. I provide said insurance, which would cover the piece of crap twin engine glass boat that barely made the annual proof of movability, which is a question. who has no insurance I fear would blow up given the effort to start the one good engine of two.  Were that owner to have a issue, I am not covered, I lose my boat, that owner goes scot free unless I take civil action.The harbor carries the cost of any dock/float damage.  If that owner were required to have current  insurance on file it is solid bet that boat would not be in the harbor.
Would this suggestion of insurance not increase the issue of more abandon boats by the owners, the Harbor Masters are raising?  One would suppose that the case, however is the pain now to force the issue or pain over a long period of time doing the same as what is being done?  (Similar to the current state budget discussion)

This is all subjectable Dan, as it would be up to individual communities to address harbor required insurance, I only point this avenue out as a methodology to reduce the number of abandoned boats in the long runs, while providing a solution of reduction of the potential and at the same time create a harbor where incidents are addressed by insurance companies rather than individua civil action at personal cost.(Small boat owners of which are the majority)   Too pollution cost are more readily mediated when known funds are identified reducing local community legal cost.

In closing- Boats that are financed are required to maintain full coverage during the contract period, so those participants are at the same disadvantage as we owners caring liability only insurance.   If a commercial boat, insurance is a write off leaving the non-insured boater and potential abandonment to the bad guy. . 

Given this, the majority are insured to one degree or another, leaving the solution by the Harbor Masters looking towards the boating community that is not providing them with the issue, it is the minority that prevails which is contrary to the cause.

The suggestion of insurance places the minority that cause the issue to deal within or allow the issue to be dealt with in the position of  legal or legislative action to be taken.

Again, thank you for the correct vote.


Al Johnson
Ketchikan, Alaska



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received July 06, 2019 - Published July 07, 2019

Related Viewpoint:



Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

Published letters become the property of SitNews.

SitNews ©2019
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews are considered protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.