Man alleges test-cruise injuries in lawsuit

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A Port St. Lucie, Fla. man filed a lawsuit against two boat dealers and a boat captain for injuries he says occurred during a test cruise.

In the lawsuit filed last week, Kevin Cope says he was with two business partners June 27, 2008 on a sea trial of a boat the partners were considering buying, according to an article in the Orlando Sentinel.

Cope, who described himself in the lawsuit as a “very inexperienced boater,” said he was told by boat captain Kevin Cates to sit on the bow of the 27-foot World Cat 270SD catamaran bow rider, while Randy Stringer and David Bradley sat in the stern.

Cope, who says he was not warned to brace himself, was thrown in the air. He landed back on the boat and suffered injuries he says have required two surgeries.

The suit seeks unspecified damages from Stuart Yacht Sales, Boaters Exchange of Rockledge and Cates.

The dealers declined comment.

Click here for the full article.


20 comments on “Man alleges test-cruise injuries in lawsuit

  1. Doug Reimel

    I have a couple of questions: 1) Was this Kevins first time on a boat?  2) What is this going to do to their CSI score?

  2. JS Pgh

    The dealership I work at requires everyone who takes a sea trial to sign a waiver stating that they are riding at their own risk.  It would keep anyone from suing, but at least it will help us in the event of a law suit.

  3. Len R

    The customers beg for rough water sea trials, and get offended when you ask for there exp. and often lie. Thats the problem with this country , pretend to have no common sence and sue everyone around you trying to make a living. Lawyers should just say it the way it is ” Be Stupid Get $”

  4. Carl Skarne

    Great, I look forward to having my potential customers fill out a 10-page waiver each time we go for a sea-trial…

  5. Yacht Girl

    This is such an unfortunate circumstance, and I cant help but feel especially sympathetic for Stuart Yacht Sales and Boaters Exchange.  I have been on board many times with quite a few “very inexperienced boaters” and they all seem to have the following trait in common.  As soon as the throttle is engaged, it seems the less experience they have, the more prone they are to hang on for dear life.  Does someone really need to be told to brace themselves or hold on while sitting on the bow of a speeding boat? (assuming it was speeding in order to throw him in the air)  I guess it falls in the same category as having to tell someone that coffee is actually hot.

  6. srw

    The man said he was a vetran boater and when riding in the bow didnt brace himself. Things dont add up.

  7. Aaron Held

    Yacht Girl:  ”Does someone really need to be told to brace themselves or hold on while sitting on the bow of a speeding boat?”
    No, they shouldn’t. But it’s a sad world we live in, but common sense isn’t common any more, and the bottom feeders are always looking for an excuse to sue.

  8. Carl Skarne

    Actually, one could argue that the statement “now i’m gonna show you what this boat can do” was a warning for the occupants to hold on…

  9. John Albe

    As an experienced boat dealer I would never let anyone ride in the bow of any boat, especially a demo ride.  This vessell operator was in error and should be sued, if in fact there were injuries to his passengers.  Even if the customer insisted to ride in the bow, the captain should have denied that request.  World Cats aren’t magic crafts, you ride in the bow of any craft over 15-20 mph. and hit a wave or wake, you get hurt, stupid!  Pay the man!

  10. Reynolds Yacht Sales

    I recommend putting “inexperienced” small childern on the bow of small boats in the ocean. Those “professionals” need to be sued for being stupid. However, the comment about a sea trial waiver makes since with the enviorment broker have to expose themselves to. Thanks for the info.

  11. Capt Brett

    It’s unfortunate that these things happen.  That’s why we all pay so much for our insurance.
    But you have to wonder why stupid people and the evil lawyers always prevail on the backs of the hard working guy who is trying to make a living. 
    My heart goes out to Stuart Yacht and Boaters Exchange.  This is one thing they don’t need right now with all of the other challenges in today’s economy.  I will forever keep this in mind for future sea trials.  I definately don’t want to pay the lawyers and someone like this stupid guy who thinks he can just sit in the front of a boat and not hold on.  Afterall, he made the decision to ride on the boat.  I think he should be responsible for the outcome of his own decision.

  12. James S

    My blood pressure breaks the gauge when I hear yet another entrant in the “…not my fault!” Club is showcased as a victim when his own lack of common sense brings injury on himself.  It is regrettable that any injury occurred at all, but when the guy tries to put blame elsewhere, it just toasts me. The good news could be that  any lawsuit should and would be thrown out by a competent judge because the injury was suffered by a guy who admits or boasts “I am an experienced boater.” Okay then, experience says you hold on. You admit you know better. You know what to do. “One hand for the SHIP, One hand for yourself.” It is unfortunate that there aren’t many judges with the boldness to think this way and  admit the lack of common sense in this guy’s personality repetoire was the root cause of his own injury and not the result of another person’s actions. Unfortunately, the lack of common sense isn’t a trait limited to a few. There are citizen’s at every professional level that don’t exercise the use of it and will POINT THE FINGER away and make excuses. It has become our way it seems.

  13. Michael J

    Yet another example of the “sue happy” world!  We at our company have a disclaimer that the prospective customer has to sign that they are indicating experience, knowledge of boating safety, and hold harmless our store personnel.

  14. just another boater

    Went to a party the other night. The food wasn’t so good, the music not what I liked, took to long to get a drink and there were no single women…hey Kevin Cope…think we have a case?
    Give me a break. A novice boater taking a test ride in a 27 World Cat? Whats the tag on that boat, 150K? And your a first time buyer? Want to learn to drive a car, I have a Formula 1 with your name on it.  This every thing wrong with attornies.
    Kevin Cope cannot cope. He is looking for a free hitch in troubled times.

  15. AnonymousBob

    People, please read the article before attempting quotes from the article. The article states the boater indicated he is a “very inexperienced boater”. He is going into the deal with partners, so he is not footing the entire boat himself, not that financial status indicates the experience level of a boater, Formula 1 driver, or plane pilot.
    I agree that we are in too litigious of a society. Take a look at all the lawyer commercials on television and tell me that chasing ambulances doesn’t pay.
    This is not a story to be taken lightly as all parties weren’t thinking too brightly. An experienced dealer could probably qualify a boater as experienced or not and take appropriate action on the test ride. An honest customer would/should ask more probing questions about where to ride on the boat.
    I hope the judge does throw out the case, but there are still going to be costs incurred all around that were completely preventable. The sad part is that the dealer’s insurance will skyrocket if not get canceled. The customer will probably never buy a boat, will condemn the boating industry, and we’ll lose a potential boater at the worst possible time. Screwed all around.

  16. Richard D. Buchanan

    Lesson?  A prudent captain would never let anyone ride on the bow of a speed boat.  I wonder if he was wearing a pfd?  Was the skipper a licensed captain?  Yes, society is litigious, but was this prudent boat operation?

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