Worst Case Scenario
Captain in trouble for Owners bad decision
Before you all go crazy on the "Captain always in charge" thing, let me just say that I completely agree, and in the process of telling this story and seeking input, I am completely on board with the thought that Captain is on the hook for everything.
Hypothetically speaking, what if the owner of a boat is also the crew, and not a licensed Captain, and then does something illegal, that is somehow recorded, or some snitch reports the event, and then the Captain gets charged with a crime, and has to go to court.
For instance, lets say the owner insists on dropping the hook in a location where anchoring is prohibited, like on a reef, in direct defiance of the Captains orders NOT to do so. The owner, not knowing the rules, pulls the power play by threatening the Captain with termination. Then somebody videos the anchor, and rats them out.
Now the Captain is accused of violating laws, and of course there is the reputation issue, not to mention lawyer fees, and a criminal record if convicted.
If the Captain - or any officer/crew member - is a Nautilus member, they should contact the union straight away. Nautilus has long campaigned on criminalisation, which is what this matter could lead to. Members get legal assistance, a 24/7 emergency helpline, and access to a worldwide network of solicitors that know the local jurisdictions.
Anyone that isn't a member and works in this industry ought to join as a matter of course. The price of protection is cheaper than the price of your sunglasses...
Well, if the owner was serving as crew and acted in defiance of the captains orders, then the captain finds legal relief (and the owner/crew a whole extra level of shit) under Mutiny statutes.
As far as owner/management issues go, they are tougher, but it got so bad in the oilfield that Louisiana passed a law that says "If management threatens the captain's job, management buys the captain's criminal liability"; so there is legal precedent to shift liability under these conditions. That law in Louisiana did prove effective BTW, it didnt completely resolve the issue, but it made it a whole lot better.