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Vessel Arrest & Yacht Substitute Custodian

Wilson Yacht Survey and Damage Claims (WYSDC) is capable and experienced with providing Substitute Yacht Custodians to support vessel arrest. Arrest of a vessel is part of the process by which an Admiralty Court gains jurisdiction over the subject matter of a law suit. These lawsuits are known as "in rem" actions meaning that the action is again a "thing" rather than a person.


Generally, the vessel, itself, is responsible for payment of liens, mortgages or any other maritime lien that may arise. When the owner encumbers a vessel with a First Preferred Ship's Mortgage, it is the ship that guarantees payment rather than the owner. However, the owner may separately contract by a personal promise to pay or other type of guarantee to be personally liable.

Notice of Arms 

An arrest of a vessel is the prerequisite for the court to establish jurisdiction. Arrest is the physical process by which, in case of the United States, a U.S. Marshal boards a vessel and physically takes charge of it. The Notice of Arrest must be posted on the vessel, a copy given to the master or person in charge, as well as to the owner. Also, notice must be published in a newspaper authorized to publish legal notices. Actual notice must be given to all other lien holders who claim an interest in the vessel.    

Vessel Seizure and Ongoing Care

On the day of seizure the court, through the marshal's service and substitute custodian, acquires possession of the vessel and the owner loses all control. The federal courts will identify the qualified preapproved substitute custodian and list them on the arresting documentation as shown in this court order. Initially the US marshals will board the vessel and take possession and noting vessel inventory.  Secondly the WYSDC captain will board and survey the vessel to determine seaworthiness in the event the vessel is required to be relocated to maintain the safety of the vessel and ability to adhere to the court order.  Once the vessel is posted with a Notice of Arrest, vessel access is restricted and limited to the WYSDC captain.  To avoid this situation and its effect on commerce, the court will allow the owner to post a bond or other suitable security. Once the security is accepted, the vessel is returned to the owner and the litigation continues with the security as the subject of execution of judgement.  Until such security or bond is posted, WYSDC will provide daily care maintenance and security of the vessel until the courts reach a resolution in the matter.

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