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Old 18-06-2013, 05:46   #1
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Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

Hello,

I would like to give a gift-membership to a newbie who has a 16 foot bow-rider and is probably going to need commercial assistance at some point. Can anyone recommend any commercial assistance provider; Sea-Tow, Boat US or someone completely different? How about pros and cons of a membership to any provider? The boat will be used on enclosed harbors and lakes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Also, the boat will be trailered and American Automobile Association does not assist with trailer breakdowns, so coverage there would be good.

Thanks,
Harry

P.S. If I am posting in the wrong area, I will gladly be redirected to a better area for this question
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Old 18-06-2013, 05:59   #2
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US membership or someone else

TowBoatUS has their Trailer Assist add-on, which will send someone out on the road to help you with a flat tire or a burned out bearing etc.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this kind of insurance. If you carry spares, you can fix them yourself. And the boat towing insurance, unless you're a serial grounder, costs a lot for a little peace of mind.
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Old 18-06-2013, 06:45   #3
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For the couple hundred bucks a year, it's well worth the money.
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Old 18-06-2013, 06:50   #4
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US membership or someone else

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
TowBoatUS has their Trailer Assist add-on, which will send someone out on the road to help you with a flat tire or a burned out bearing etc.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this kind of insurance. If you carry spares, you can fix them yourself. And the boat towing insurance, unless you're a serial grounder, costs a lot for a little peace of mind.
If you're talking about a newbie to boating, the BoatUS with the trailer assist is pretty attractive. However, I don't know what the on the water coverage is for inland waters. If your friend is going to be mostly on lakes, it would be good to know how that works. Northern New England has lots of beautiful small lakes that would be easy to explore in a boat his size. However, they often don't have any services. Getting out of trouble involves a paddle or a friendly passing boat. If he's going to be on salt water or the major lakes, I'm sure they'll have coverage.

I find the towing insurance short money for peace of mind. However, be aware that it's use is more for engine failure than pulling a boat off of a grounding. A newbie is likely to have a day that he kills his battery or, otherwise, can't get the engine going. One of those every few years will more than pay the premium. Once he's more experienced, he can make the call about keeping it going.
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Old 18-06-2013, 07:05   #5
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

Hands down Boat US...
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Old 18-06-2013, 08:14   #6
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

Never had to use them but I had BoatUS and generally heard good things from people that did need the tow.

In my case I was bringing a new to me boat down the ICW from RI to FL with the original 25 year old engine and questionable tanks. I did all I could before departure but had a lot of concern about something leaving me dead in the water.

On a lot of the ICW sailing is not an option so if the engine died and repair on board wasn't possible then a tow was the only option. Fortunately the engine never missed a beat the whole trip so didn't have to find out how good the service might be.
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Old 18-06-2013, 08:39   #7
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

As a bit of a newbie myself, I have been extremely grateful for the assistance of BoatUS for help when:
1. the bearings on my fresh water pump seized
2. I ran aground in fog after running out of fuel
3. I ran my batteries down too low to start the engine

I am somewhat embarrassed to say that BoatUS has lost a bilge-load of money on me, even though I've been purchasing their most expensive annual package at $157/year.

As a side note: Since New England is my cruising ground, I researched the coverage of BoatUS vs. SeaTow and found that BoatUS was more omnipresent in the area.
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Old 18-06-2013, 08:55   #8
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

BoatUS is hands down the best coverage....

People who say they don't need it will someday and pay through the nose.

I was sailing with a buddy in San Francisco Bay. We lost steering on his CT-41, but were able to steer with the sails/engine to within 3 miles of his home port. Later we discovered the bolts holding the rudder to the post had sheared.

Anyway he did not have a tow card and ended up paying Vessel Assist $275 per hour for the tow... Time is calculated from the time the Tow boat leaves its home dock and till it returns to its home dock.

My friend paid about $800 for a 3 mile tow or the equivalent of about 5 years of tow insurance had he had the card.

I drove for Vessel Assist (BoatUS in California) for a little while in SF Bay. The longest tow I did was for a guy in a Grady White 20 miles outside the GG Bridge. He had sheared his water pump pulley off the pump and was drifting in heavy seas. I had to find him using a radio direction finder since he didn't have a working GPS. It was an 8 hour tow from start to finish and no charge since he had he BoatUS card! That would have been about $2700 or more had he did not have the BoatUS card.

BoatUS will bring you fuel or parts and pull you off soft groundings, all covered under the tow policy.

Finally, BoatUS Card covers you not your vessel, so if you are on another boat you are safe.

Anyone sailing bays or coastal water of the US should have a card. You may never use it, but if you do, you will be glad you bought it.
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Old 18-06-2013, 09:05   #9
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
People who say they don't need it will someday and pay through the nose.

I was sailing with a buddy in San Francisco Bay. We lost steering on his CT-41, but were able to steer with the sails/engine to within 3 miles of his home port. Later we discovered the bolts holding the rudder to the post had sheared.

Anyway he did not have a tow card and ended up paying Vessel Assist $275 per hour for the tow... Time is calculated from the time the Tow boat leaves its home dock and till it returns to its home dock.

My friend paid about $800 for a 3 mile tow or the equivalent of about 5 years of tow insurance had he had the card.

I drove for Vessel Assist (BoatUS in California) for a little while in SF Bay. The longest tow I did was for a guy in a Grady White 20 miles outside the GG Bridge. He had sheared his water pump pulley off the pump and was drifting in heavy seas. I had to find him using a radio direction finder since he didn't have a working GPS. It was an 8 hour tow from start to finish and no charge since he had he BoatUS card! That would have been about $2700 or more had he did not have the BoatUS card.
This is the heart of the matter. Things break on a boat and if you need even a short tow up a channel it could cost hundreds and hundreds. The BoatUS policy will pay for itself many times over if you ever need it. If you don't ever need it you haven't spent that much and you still have the peace of mind knowing you won't empty your bank account for one tow.

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
Anyone sailing bays or coastal water of the US should have a card. You may never use it, but if you do, you will be glad you bought it.
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Old 18-06-2013, 09:07   #10
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisM View Post
As a bit of a newbie myself, I have been extremely grateful for the assistance of BoatUS for help when:
1. the bearings on my fresh water pump seized
2. I ran aground in fog after running out of fuel
3. I ran my batteries down too low to start the engine

I am somewhat embarrassed to say that BoatUS has lost a bilge-load of money on me, even though I've been purchasing their most expensive annual package at $157/year.
Oh, so you're the guy driving up the rates for the rest of us that never need a tow.
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Old 18-06-2013, 09:11   #11
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Oh, so you're the guy driving up the rates for the rest of us that never need a tow.
LMAO!!! Guilty as charged. But the good news is, they've all been learning experiences.
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Old 18-06-2013, 09:12   #12
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LMAO!!! Guilty as charged. But the good news is, they've all been learning experiences.
Do you have a fuel gauge?
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Old 18-06-2013, 09:14   #13
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

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Do you have a fuel gauge?
Yes, but I learned the hard way (see item #2 above) that it lies.
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Old 18-06-2013, 09:15   #14
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Re: Sea Tow, Boat US Membership or Someone Else

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Oh, so you're the guy driving up the rates for the rest of us that never need a tow.
The good thing about us sailors is that Dennis will be able to use the exact same quote to another newbie when he has a few more years experience!
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Old 18-06-2013, 09:17   #15
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Yes, but I learned the hard way (see item #2 above) that it lies.
Then the answer is no. If it doesn't register correctly, then it doesn't work...
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