I write to warn all boaters about Trinity Marina in Hinckley, and also their boat brokerage business.
I used to moor my boat at this marina.
Before I was allowed to start mooring there November 2014 I was asked for a £500 deposit, which was duly paid. As soon as I put the boat on brokerage I started to ask for the return of the deposit. Initially they seemed to ignore this request, but after a string of emails from me they responded saying they could find no record that I had actually paid the deposit, despite every annual invoice stating that it had been paid.
I do not know if this was simply disorganisation, or incompetence, or something worse on their part. However, I am a meticulous man and was able to supply proof that it had been paid, after which they did refund the charge; but beware - make sure you retain proof of payment, or it seems quite possible that you will not get this charge refunded.
Now we get to the sad story of the brokerage. For many reasons I decided to sell up, and thought the easy option would be to use the marina's own brokerage business.
I signed their standard brokerage contract, and handed over all the keys, leaving the boat in their care, clean and fully locked up. After a negative survey which included various comments which were factually incorrect I decided to take the boat to a different area and a different firm in the hope that this incompetent surveyor would not be chosen again.
When I arrived to take some photos of the boat I discovered the following:
1) every single lock and padlock on the boat was unlocked
2) a pair of walkie-talkies was missing
3) the local edition of the Nicholson canal guide was missing
4) there was a 'pop-stud' fastener torn out of the front cratch cover
5) there was excrement in the toilet pan - the person had not even bothered to open the hatch in the pan to deposit it into the holding tank
6) the switches for both the bilge pumps had been moved from their 'automatic' position to 'off'.
Frankly, considering the locks were all open it was little short of a miracle that no further items were missing!
I raised this with the marina, & they told me to write to the manager. I did so, and again appeared to be ignored until a sufficient number of emails had arrived in their inbox, when I was told that I should have put personal items out of sight.
I then pointed out that the missing items were A) not personal items but part of the boat's equipment and B) were out of sight; and that this comment did not even begin to deal with the other issues. They are now trying to hide behind a clause in the contract saying I accepted responsibility for ensuring the security and cleanliness of the boat, and are refusing any compensation.
Since they did not tell me when the viewings were going to happen (how could they - they didn't know when a punter might turn up and ask to view) or indeed when they had happened - which they could have done, I had no way of knowing when I was supposed to come and check.
They also knew that I lived in Coventry (half an hour from the marina) and worked in Great Rissington (over an hour away) and could not therefore be popping round randomly to check, on the off chance that I would coincide with a viewing or her return from a survey.
This clause therefore makes it an 'unfair contract' in that there is no way it can be complied with by any boat owner unless they are living on the boat, or close enough to it to see when a viewing is taking place.
I had entrusted the boat to their care, and she was clean and secured when I did so.
The depredations and damage were a result of culpable negligence in their reasonable duty of care.
They have refused mediation, are still refusing any settlement, and have told me to only contact them through my lawyer, in the hope no doubt that I will not be prepared to incur a lawyer's charges, and will quietly drop the issue....
I strongly recommend any boat owner who might be thinking of using this brokerage service to think again, and if you already are doing so, you might be wise to cancel the contract and go elsewhere - or at least check up on the boat's condition as frequently as you possibly can!
The content of this post was sent to Trinity Marina, giving them the chance to come to terms with me before publication. They have refused to do so.