Passenger Boat Association – Presentation by Helen McCormick


This is a short synopsis of a brief presentation given by Helen McCormick to the Passenger Boat Association Conference in November this year.

There are many ways to sell tickets to passengers. Whatever method passenger vessel operators use, they most likely rely on terms and conditions to protect themselves from claims in case passengers are injured or their property is damaged while they’re on the vessel. These might be printed on the back of a paper ticket, displayed on a notice in the operator’s ticket office, or found on their website.

But how often do operators review these exclusions? It is important they are revisited regularly to ensure they are effective.

Here are some key points for operators to be aware of:

  • If an exclusion is contained in an unsigned document such as a ticket or a notice, it will only form part of the contract with the passenger if reasonable steps are taken to bring it to their notice before the contract is made.
  • Exclusions of liability for property damage must be fair and reasonable. This means that the exclusion must not cause a significant imbalance to the detriment of the consumer.
    Exclusions which are “unfair” to consumers might not be upheld by the Court in the event of a claim.
  • Exclusions must be clear, easy to understand and prominent. If operators cannot understand them, why should their passengers?

Operators of passenger vessels in Class A or Class B waters, should also be aware of the Passenger Liability Regulation. This is a regime which governs a ship owners’ liability to passengers for injury or damage to their luggage, and allows the ship owner to limit their liability. Application is automatic and does not depend on incorporation into the contract with the passenger.

Please contact us for further advice on applying these principles to your terms and conditions and ensuring that they are effective for your business.

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