Boat Lemon Laws
All states have some type of legislation for defective cars, usually
known as a lemon law. Lemon laws protect consumers in the event that
the car they purchased is irreparably defective. Some states, such
as Ohio, also have boat lemon laws. These are designed to protect
purchasers of watercraft, including sailboats, jet skis, and
Under the boat lemon law, if your boat is covered by the original
manufacturer・s warranty and it is defective, you give the
manufacturer a reasonable chance to fix it. In turn, the
manufacturer must fix it under the boat lemon law. If the defect
does not get fixed, or if there are an unreasonable number of
defects, then you can see about returning the watercraft for a
It matters not whether the hull, equipment, or motor is faulty.
There are three things that must be met for the boat lemon law to
take effect. First, the malfunction has to be covered under the
original manufacturer・s warranty. Second, you must allow the
manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to get the watercraft fixed.
Third, the manufacturer must fail to fix the watercraft within a
reasonable number of attempts, or within a reasonable time period.
If you can meet these three criteria, you may be protected under the
boat lemon law. Be aware, however, that you have a limited window of
time to file a lawsuit under the boat lemon law. If not, you may
lose your rights to do so and be left without recourse. Generally,
boat lemon laws allow 24 months from the time of purchase.
Additionally, in states such as Ohio, there are other laws outside
of the boat lemon law that you can turn to for protection against
defective watercraft. The Consumer Sales Practices Act also covers
watercraft. Ohio has a Commercial Sales Law as well.
If you find yourself the owner of a defective boat, turn to the boat
lemon law for recourse. Consult with an attorney that specializes in
boat lemon laws. Make sure the attorney represents boat lemon law
consumers, as opposed to manufacturers. Examine the boat lemon law
statutes to make sure you・re protected. If your defect isn・t covered
under the warranty, for example, the boat lemon law can・t help you.
As soon as you realize there・s a defect, make absolutely sure to
contact the manufacturer. You don・t want to lose your boat lemon law
rights due to complacency or indifference.