Last thing I am going to say on this issue.
Originally Posted by tanksalot
It wasn't really a choice, but rather a confluence of circumstances. After anchoring with what I judged to be sufficient scope considering the crowded conditions, weather
, my wife and I were on board for 5 hours without any indication of a problem. We would never, never have left if I had any
suspicion that the anchor would not hold or was questionable. Doing so would have been grossly irresponsible, and there was also no way I could relax ashore if I wasn't certain
the boat was safely anchored. At that time I had NO KNOWLEDGE of Block Island's notoriety as a poor holding ground, or I would have acted very differently.
While you are admitting you made an error, you are also refusing to take personal responsibility. It was YOUR CHOICE to anchor in the manner that you did. While you may not like what the other options were, you had other options. "Sorry family
, it's unsafe for us to stay here so we have to go back home or to another port." How did you not expect the crowded anchorage on a holiday weekend? You're like the guy in
, you show up to a crowded anchorage after everyone is already set and just cause havoc.
You are the skipper
of your boat. You are responsible for all actions that occur with your boat. You had other choices but chose to exercise poor judgment.
For you to claim you didn't know about the bad holding is another place you are avoiding taking responsibility. Have you never read the cruising guide for the area or been on Active Captain
? The first review on Active Captain
talks about the poor holding in that part of the salt
Many of us don't mind helping out other cruisers/boaters. On numerous occasions I have grabbed my tool bag and headed over to another boat to help people out. When I find that the motor
has no oil
and is smoking hot and that the owner doesn't know the last time he checked the oil
, impeller or coolant
, I pack my tools back up and tell him he needs a mechanic
. If you can't be bothered to the basic things, why should anyone else be inconvenienced by your ignorance?
I'm not in any way excusing the fact that I made an error. I'm questioning the legitimacy of using "salvage" to charge $675 for a 25 minute tow. Since I'm very unaware of reasonable towing charges, what would you have expected as a towing charge for picking up the boat?
As I said before, be glad it was only $675. They obviously decided to charge you T&M rather than a % of the boat value salvage claim. Tow/salvage companies will charge an hourly rate (typically dependent on weather
and time of day and ranging from $200-500) from portal to portal. On a holiday weekend, $300 per hour wouldn't be out of line. So if their home base is, say in Point Judith Pond because it is expensive to maintain a commercial
slip on Block Island, that would be about 15 nm away. Probably about an hour at a conservative speed. So 2 hours of travel and 0.5 hours of work would be $750. A tow company may chose to stage a boat in the Salt Pond on a busy weekend and that is their risk to take. It is still standard industry practice to charge portal to portal.
I've been towed once. My engine
died while powering out of the river my marina is in. We managed to get onto a dock
further down in my marina. I tried to fix the engine
, couldn't and saw a Towboat U.S. vessel towing someone into the marina. We decided to just call Towboat (we have the tow insurance) and have them tow us back to our slip so I could spend the time to diagnose the problem. He spent less than 15 minutes towing and already was in the marina from his home base about 45 minutes away. The charge to Towboat (the individual operators charge the national service
for each tow covered by the insurance) was about $500. It included a hour each way back to his home base.
There is a lot of information out there about the difference between towing and salvage. As a skipper
you really need to know the difference because how you report your problem to a tow boat operator could be the difference getting tow bill or a salvage claim. A general rule
of thumb is that towing is just getting you in quicker. As a sailboat, we can always sail in. It might not be the quickest or easiest way but you can do it. If you have no sails
on your boat, no oars and your engine just seized up, you might be in a salvage claim if you don't report it right to the tow boat. Boat U.S. also has a salvage contract
. You should have several copies of this you boat. Never sign the tow boat's salvage contract
. When a tow boat does a salvage there are 3 ways it can get paid: 1) fixed fee negotiated before the salvage, 2) time and materials spent to do the salvage or 3) as a percentage of the boats value. The last one is typically done based on a negotiation with your insurance
company, an arbitrator or in court.
In my opinion, you were salvage. Your boat was likely to due damage to other vessels or the environment
and the tow boat acted to intervene. Yes, the other vessel had tied you up temporarily but it was not their responsibility to hold onto your boat until you returned. They may have wanted to leave, go ashore, or were just worried that they would now drag or swing funny
with the extra boat. They passed off your boat to the tow company, relinquishing their rights to salvage. The tow company looked at your boat and decided to go with a T&M charge for salvage. If you had a late model Benny or something, they might have gone after your insurance company for salvage value of the boat. Be grateful that didn't happen, pay your bill and make better decisions in the future, starting with paying the $135 a year for Towboat U.S. unlimited saltwater towing.
Also, I have heard from others that if you boat washes up in the Salt Pond, that Block Island hits you with a heavy environmental fine for causing damage. Another cost you avoided thanks to the tow company and the other boat that tied you off temporarily.