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Old 29-12-2011, 07:27   #31
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Re: SEA TOW

In my 25 years of sailing Ive never called for a tow for one of my boats. On the other hand many times Ive towed boats for friends and people in distress. For that move i would have flipped on of my friends a $20 or case of beer that were at the marina. probably could have been done easily with a dinghy. The marine industry is full of gouging, gotta always do a lot of shopping. get hard prices before services are rendered. I even ask for hard prices in writing when I get a haulout. I saw one place that advertized $6 a foot haulout but failed to mention the $75 strap fee $100 strap placement fee $75 blocking fee $150 a day subcontractor fee if outside contractors are brought in $75. per person per day diy fee. The neighboring yard with their $10 a ft fee was much more reasonable. Another yard refused to give hard prices for shaft service. His logic was I dont know how long its gonna take so you I cant give you a hard price. No chance I took it there. I was looking for new shaft, cutlass bearing and shaft log. if he hasnt done enough of these to be able to come up with an estimate I dont want him working on my boat in the first place.
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Old 29-12-2011, 07:30   #32
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Re: SEA TOW

I learned to use my own dingy to tow myself after using Boat US to tow me less than a mile and charging me about $350 with the lesser membership.

The turnbuckle is not a great example of West Marine pricing. But I can share a better one. When the pressure relief valve on my water heater started leaking I bought a replacement at Home Depot for $12. My neighbor bought the exact same Watts valve at West Marine for $72. He comforted himself by saying, "well, it's probably marine grade".
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Old 29-12-2011, 07:31   #33
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pirate Re: SEA TOW

LMAO................ sorry, I find this hilarious...
your boat is tied up 150yds from the Lift..
the yard is doing the Lift..
just about every yard I've worked in or used has its staff move the boat, haul and then replace the boat...
its usually part of the service..
And thats not just Europe.. its like that in NC, NY and Vermont in my experience..
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Old 29-12-2011, 07:36   #34
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Re: SEA TOW

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_78 View Post
Between SEA TOW and Tow BoatUS, would there be any benefit having one over the other? Don't they cover the same areas? If, let's say, I have a home port of TX but traveling around FL or MD, do they ever try charging extra due to being away from "home" (assuming w/membership)?
Some folks get both SeaTow and TowBoatUS mainly because both outfits are basically "franchise" and the availability in a particular are fluctuates over time.
- - For instance one outfit has boats in the Bahamas, but the other doesn't. And even here inside the USA the "coverage" is different. You can look at the websites of each outfit and see where they have active local towboats. Then pick the one that has active coverage in the areas that you will be operating.
- - Note: some areas are shown as covered but the towboat has to come from many miles away which can mean many hours of waiting while stuck in the mud or on the sandbar.
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Old 29-12-2011, 09:13   #35
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Why Towboats are Costly

I see on a daily basis the costs of operating a commercial vessel. What SeaTow, Vessel Assist or whoever charges is not out of line. It's a shock to your typical boater because most are unaware of the true costs of operating a commercial vessel in addition to having to make at least a small profit so one can remain in business. The costs are far more than the cost of the captains time underway and fuel. Commercial insurance alone is very expensive and many times over the cost of insuring a pleasure boat. The boat I operate pays around $15,000 per year just for P&I. There are also Jones Act requirements which increase costs dramatically. We also live in a litigious society where one becomes responsible for the other boat and those onboard when you take them into tow. There are also plenty of fixed costs that are accruing when the boat is sitting at the dock losing money. Those have to be paid for as well.

Considering how little I see towboats getting underway to do a rescue, I am surprised that they make any money at all.

If one ever needs a tow and they do not want to pay the true cost of a towboat then they can always get on the VHF and make a general call for free assistance. Hopefully a good samaritan is in the area, knows how to tow properly and safely and is willing to tow you back for free. Because it is illegal to accept money to tow another vessel if the operator does not have a license and a towing endorsement on that licence. Towing another boat for money also invalidates ones insurance. You need a different type of insurance to accept money for what is then defined as a commercial tow.

Hopefully this post helps to explain why commercial towboats are costly to hire. They have their costs which are far more than the obvious variable costs of towing a boat back to a dock.
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Old 29-12-2011, 09:59   #36
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

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Originally Posted by Corpus View Post
"Probably because the West Marine turnbuckle is built to withstand the environment it will be in while the one from Home Depot is not. Given the importance of turnbuckles I would darned well want one designed for marine use. "

Maybe.....I think mostly it's the liability and the markup.

-People with boats have money - they can afford it (I had money, then I bought a boat)
-The turnbuckle has to withstand any potential lawsuit, or they must make enough profit to pay the settlement.
All of the above, AND the turnbuckle is actually rated for a certain breaking strength (usually very high) and warranted to work in that application under a a defined load.
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Old 29-12-2011, 10:14   #37
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Re: SEA TOW

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Some folks get both SeaTow and TowBoatUS mainly because both outfits are basically "franchise" and the availability in a particular are fluctuates over time.
- - For instance one outfit has boats in the Bahamas, but the other doesn't. And even here inside the USA the "coverage" is different. You can look at the websites of each outfit and see where they have active local towboats. Then pick the one that has active coverage in the areas that you will be operating.
- - Note: some areas are shown as covered but the towboat has to come from many miles away which can mean many hours of waiting while stuck in the mud or on the sandbar.
If you join Boat US at the Gold Unlimited level ($157 + $19 membership) you are covered for TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist, and they even cover you for tows from your dock to a repair facility.
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Old 29-12-2011, 10:21   #38
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Re: SEA TOW

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Originally Posted by Efraim View Post
I was in a marine chandlery last summer, when I overheard a conversation between the store manager, and what appeared to be a new tradesman buying some paint for a clients boat. The tradesman wasn't sure what hourly rate he should be charging his client, the answer from the store manager - "As much as you can". That pretty much sums up the whole "marine" business for you right there.
That pretty much sums up most business, not just marine.
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Old 29-12-2011, 10:35   #39
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Re: SEA TOW

Quote:
Originally Posted by Efraim
I was in a marine chandlery last summer, when I overheard a conversation between the store manager, and what appeared to be a new tradesman buying some paint for a clients boat. The tradesman wasn't sure what hourly rate he should be charging his client, the answer from the store manager - "As much as you can". That pretty much sums up the whole "marine" business for you right there.
Quote:
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That pretty much sums up most business, not just marine.
Yep

I do agree that was a little steep for "that" tow though.
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Old 29-12-2011, 13:40   #40
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Re: SEA TOW

The 'average' tow is $700 so you were ahead of the curve

And it doesn't matter how far the tow was, they charge round trip from their home port, which was likely a few miles away.

And, just to correct an earlier post boat US is $24 not 19

regardless, I belong to boat US AND triple A. It's worth $10 ish a month to me to not have to worry about it, cuz I always seem to break down in BFE and when I'm flat broke.

Two years ago V.A. came and got me three times in a three month period, for related but different breakdowns, each tow was $750.

AAA got me in three different vehicles, and those tows were 3-400 too. The most expensive was the shortest, in my RV towing a trailer so I don't fault Sea Tow at all. I Can't imagine not asking them how much it'd be before agreeing to do it.
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Old 29-12-2011, 14:33   #41
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Re: SEA TOW

OK. I will admit it, mostly I was just mad at myself for not realizing what was happening. I was under the impression that the marina charged a little extra if we needed help getting the boat over to the haul out, so I figure what the heck. A boat shows up and throws us a line, 5 minutes latter he's handing us a $600 bill.

NO, I will never get SEA TOW insurance!! I will tear my boat apart and build a canoe to row back to shore before I call them.

AAA is also a rip off, just like renters insurance, scratch offs and extended warranties.

YES, I do plan to go into the towing business, I'll spend my time fishing then if someone calls I'll motor over and give them a lift.

I believe it's called a "captive customer"...they can charge a lot for the same reason beer is $15 a cup at a baseball game.
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Old 29-12-2011, 15:01   #42
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Re: SEA TOW

$250 an hour sounds about right. You didn't inquire about the rate or request an estimate directly from the tow service?
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Old 29-12-2011, 15:39   #43
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corpus View Post
"Probably because the West Marine turnbuckle is built to withstand the environment it will be in while the one from Home Depot is not. Given the importance of turnbuckles I would darned well want one designed for marine use. "

Maybe.....I think mostly it's the liability and the markup.

-People with boats have money - they can afford it (I had money, then I bought a boat)
-The turnbuckle has to withstand any potential lawsuit, or they must make enough profit to pay the settlement.


It's your life, but I have made the mistake TWICE "saving money" by not buying marine. Someone who had the same non-marine battery charger had it EXPLODE when he turned it on. No kidding. The chain I didn't buy at West Marine started rusting in three weeks and made a real mess.

You can get marine grade turnbuckles online cheaper than West Marine, but they will be more than the ones at Home Depot and for good reason. But hey, it's your life.

I would not want to sail on a boat that had non-marine grade turnbuckles.
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Old 29-12-2011, 15:42   #44
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

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Wow, sure I'm glad I got that membership, the one that includes from your dock to a repair facility

Sounds like $175 well spent!

I wouldn't leave the dock without towing insurance. If you sail, sooner or later you're going to run aground, and you may or may not be able to get yourself off. If you haven't run aground you're either very new to sailing, never leave the dock, or are lying.
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Old 29-12-2011, 16:23   #45
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
I wouldn't leave the dock without towing insurance. If you sail, sooner or later you're going to run aground, and you may or may not be able to get yourself off. If you haven't run aground you're either very new to sailing, never leave the dock, or are lying.
Sea Tow & the like are only available in a very small geologic area of the world what’s the rest of us to do? I have been a Professional working Captain for Decades and have never been stuck aground where I could not get off easily- If I even touch bottom in most of this area, where I currently am (Eastern Med) it means a hole!

SO it could be that, there are many folks that spend great deals of time on the water traveling - happen to be a little more careful than you ! I am underway 180 days a year and no need to lie about anything!
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