The Boating Barrister

John K. Fulweiler, Esq., a Proctor-in-Admiralty based in Newport, RI, offers tips for navigating tricky legal waterways, always with a healthy dose of wit.

The Boating Barrister

Buffett’s Lyrics as Lessons in the Maritime Law

By John K. Fulweiler

Buffett’s Lyrics as Lessons in the Maritime Law

Jimmy Buffett was a people person; an easy breeze in any social setting. You go sailing in the southern climes and it’s not hard to find similar smooth souls with quick smiles, good memories and coiled springs of go-go. They are fun people. They are adventurers, compatriots and those that introduce you to the persons whose faces still raid your morning sleep with sea dappled memories of youth, sun and starboard rails. That Buffett was also an…

The Boating Barrister

A Moveable Read: Salty Reads to Keep You Going

By John K. Fulweiler

A Moveable Read: Salty Reads to Keep You Going

By John K. Fulweiler, Esq. This is the time of year where a reading list should be assembled. No matter the climate, a list of good books gives you a backdrop against which to carry on your affairs. Wearying the household list of issues or tiring of the newest corporate ‘training’ video, pivot to savoring the half hour you’ll spend this evening on that page-turner of a story. You get the idea, so I’ll give you some…

The Boating Barrister

Synchronization vs. Syncopation: A Sailor’s Wish

By John K. Fulweiler

Synchronization vs. Syncopation: A Sailor’s Wish

I married an Elizabeth and so maybe I just like the name, but Bequia’s Port Elizabeth is one of my favorites. And if there on a hook you find something tobacco, something cold and your feet on the rail of something with a big center cockpit, well friend’o, you might’ve found a moment of synchronization in a universe of syncopation. Twin engine operators of things that fly or float will know what I’m saying when speaking of…

The Boating Barrister

Selling A Boat: An Unpleasant Business

By John K. Fulweiler

Selling A Boat: An Unpleasant Business

By John K. Fulweiler, Esq. I sold our sailboat. Selling a boat is an unpleasant business. The detritus of misadventures, voyages and moments fill the interior spaces. In sorting things prior to closing, you’re reminded of voyages you should’ve taken, projects planned and personal promises left unrequited. I’m repeating the words of those before me, but boats are more than things and especially so when you’ve toiled at tending to them. It makes the parting tougher. he…

The Boating Barrister

The Ocean Race and Marine Insurance: Both Beta

By John K. Fulweiler

The Ocean Race and Marine Insurance: Both Beta

Oy. The Ocean Race was a big burger of bore. The video content was pretty poor and there wasn’t much editing effort made to create an interesting spectacle but you know what – it’s nobody’s fault. It’s those damn boats with their carriage roofs and Amazonian-humid interior conditions. Who cares if you can safely sail around the world in a protective bubble stopping at what, ten different ports? Boring! On the flip side, tune into the Golden…

The Boating Barrister

Of Farming And Sailing: The Maritime Law Changes

By John K. Fulweiler

Of Farming And Sailing: The Maritime Law Changes

Virgil’s poem The Georgics and Paul Theroux’s travelogue, Dark Star Safari, scoff at that scary curling wave capturing your attention, pointing out how it quickly settles into a forgotten, flattened wake. The remnants of famous warriors of the past are furrowed under a farmer’s blade while the school Theroux revisits twenty-years after his Peace Corps stint is a dusty husk of its once thriving self. That’s a heavy weather helm kickstarting this column, but it fits with…

The Boating Barrister

Cardiac Canoeing

By John K. Fulweiler

Cardiac Canoeing

Regatta Rules Can Trump the COLREGS (Sometimes)   Sailboat racing isn’t for cardiac candidates or simpletons. It’s a tough endeavor played atop a shifting game board with player pieces often valued in the kind of dollars many families call retirement. Maybe it’s for this reason, you skippers and Helly Handsome-wearing owners with the too-bright sneakers, should pay attention to this bit of kit about racecourse liability. Let’s disabuse the crew of something: you racing your sailboat (even…

The Boating Barrister

Sodium Law: Don’t Ride at the Bow 

By John K. Fulweiler

Sodium Law: Don’t Ride at the Bow 

Some of you might say I don’t write enough about legal things; that I pitter on about this and that when the reason you turned the page was to read a sodium-laced legal tidbit. Fine. Here you go. Picture a recreational boat with eight people aboard. Courts aren’t particularly good journalists and so there are always facts missing you don’t need for the legal decision, but they’d be nice to know. I’m assuming it was a bowrider-style boat. Use your mind’s eye…

The Boating Barrister

Looking Slow but Going Fast: Sleepers

By John K. Fulweiler

Looking Slow but Going Fast: Sleepers

There’s a video you can find without too much effort. It’s Christopher Cross vibing the tired lawyer look save for the shredding he’s giving a Tom Anderson guitar. Yeah, they call it ‘yacht rock’ but him and low-key Michael McDonald unpacking “Ride Like the Wind” always gets me verklempt. I like sleepers. You know, things that belie what lie beneath, which is what today’s column is all about. There was a burgundy-colored Volvo 960 wagon into which…

The Boating Barrister

Misadventure: Will the Coast Guard Bill Me?

By John K. Fulweiler

Misadventure: Will the Coast Guard Bill Me?

I don’t get people hollering for help as quick as they do. I remember late nights in Maine where wizened relatives well into their cups would cut lobster lines free of props and continue carrying us children homeward; I’ve wrapped up wounds a combat battalion would consider serious with 3M’s blue masking tape; I don’t like to think about the time it was me, a sailboat and another guy in a very bad spot off a New…

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