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Old 29-12-2011, 16:39   #46
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

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Originally Posted by Ram View Post
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!

Gee, that's wonderful, Ram. You have many years experience. Are you sailing or powerboating?

How about those of us who don't have your decades of experience -- seriously? Are we all supposed to give up sailing?

I have four year's experience. It's been an action-packed four years, but you can only do so much in four years. I don't understand why you care about towing services if you're certain you'll never need it.
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Old 29-12-2011, 16:45   #47
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Re: SEA TOW

You got off cheap, my friend was towed by BoatUS less than 100 ft and it cost him $1,000. It really pays to be a member. Also, the buyer usually foots the bill for a haulout.
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Old 29-12-2011, 16:57   #48
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Re: SEA TOW

I am one of the many unfortunates to have run aground in the ICW. The normal "wait for the tide to come back" tactic didn't work, the water was moving due to the wind pattern, which would persist for a few days. It cost $500 to be towed off the sand (mud) bar. Next I ran agound in the channel near Coinjock, NC. It took 3 days for the "tide" to change, but I kedged off. Then a couple days later I clipped the end of a reef and once again had a 4 hour kedging job to get off. I'm a good navigator, I always find land. I purchased towing insurance, finally, and used it in Biscayne Bay, where I once again navigated successfully.
Later, much later, I had engine failure the weekend before a trip out of country. The towing company moved my boat, dock to dock, at no charge.
I was driving an older car long distance commute. I could find myself stranded just about anywhere, so I bought AAA and upgraded to AAA Plus, which will bring your car anywhere you want if it needs to be towed. It turned out later some bad repair parts failed, the first one about 68 miles away, then after that one was repaired, the second failed about 15 miles away. Both times the car was towed back and repaired. We joked about it. Both towing insurances for the boat and the car have paid for themselves many times over. I can understand why someone might do without it if they were always in familiar waters, but if you are voyaging, why not make that little expense, you will eventually need it.
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Old 29-12-2011, 17:09   #49
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Re: SEA TOW

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Originally Posted by Amapola View Post
You got off cheap, my friend was towed by BoatUS less than 100 ft and it cost him $1,000. It really pays to be a member. Also, the buyer usually foots the bill for a haulout.
I know the prices are high but think of what you'd have to pay as a tow operator. You need to have captains sitting there ready to go (which costs money), you need enough boats available just hanging out in top operating condition. Fueled up boats ready to go and licensed captains with towing experience. Stuff isn't cheap.

Like I said before, for anyone who thinks it's one big scam go ahead and do some price research on:
a) The liability insurance.
b) Personnel costs to have 7/24/365 coverage.
c) High powered / high maneuverability vessels maintained in top form.

The $100 and $600 people are talking about here are honestly drops in the bucket to the operating expenses of a towing service.
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Old 29-12-2011, 17:12   #50
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Re: SEA TOW

The strong arm of SeaTow, buy the insurance or we'll gouge you!
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Old 29-12-2011, 17:20   #51
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Re: SEA TOW

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The strong arm of SeaTow, buy the insurance or we'll gouge you!


IMO people should not buy sailboats if they feel they cannot afford towing insurance. Even at that, there are some limits, depending on how hard it is for them to get you off.
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Old 29-12-2011, 17:32   #52
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Re: SEA TOW

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IMO people should not buy sailboats if they feel they cannot afford towing insurance. Even at that, there are some limits, depending on how hard it is for them to get you off.
What about power boats?

I have seen more powerboats in tow than sailboats in my travels but when a sailboat is in trouble, it's usually in serious trouble, like on the rocks and taking water!
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Old 29-12-2011, 17:45   #53
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Re: SEA TOW

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Originally Posted by 2nd Dog Watch View Post
What about power boats?

I have seen more powerboats in tow than sailboats in my travels but when a sailboat is in trouble, it's usually in serious trouble, like on the rocks and taking water!

I don't know anything about power boats, but any boat on the rocks and taking water needs help, that's for sure. But since I've never owned a power boat and rarely even been on one, I am not the person to tell power boaters what they might consider doing.
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Old 29-12-2011, 17:56   #54
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Gee, that's wonderful, Ram. You have many years experience. Are you sailing or powerboating?

How about those of us who don't have your decades of experience -- seriously? Are we all supposed to give up sailing?

I have four year's experience. It's been an action-packed four years, but you can only do so much in four years. I don't understand why you care about towing services if you're certain you'll never need it.
I was only replying because You said and I quote"
. If you haven't run aground you're either very new to sailing, never leave the dock, or are lying." unquote-

SO if we are to believe what you said- that makes many of us new sailors & Liars, that stay at the dock- I wanted to point out to you that there are other possibilities !!

SO as I said; some of us this does not apply , dont paint us with a broad stroke--I have been sailing-charters in the Eastern Med for the last 6 years before that IN S. Florida /Bahamas -Dive Charters on a Trawler for about 20 years-
Maybe For you the best thing is to have Sea Tow Insurance for most people around the world this is not an option, so Perhaps we are more careful, Perhaps!
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Old 29-12-2011, 17:57   #55
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Re: SEA TOW

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Originally Posted by 2nd Dog Watch View Post
What about power boats?

I have seen more powerboats in tow than sailboats in my travels but when a sailboat is in trouble, it's usually in serious trouble, like on the rocks and taking water!

By the way, I disagree that when a sailboat is "in trouble" it's usually serious trouble, like on the rocks and taking water." We don't have a lot of rocks around here, though, so location could play into this.

By far the most common problem for a sail boat here is a soft grounding. There's a LOT of shallow water around west central Florida. IMO it makes sense to not be in a rush. Many times all you have to do is wait for the tide to come in. If the tide is going out, that's automatically a bigger problem. Also, where I am, we typically don't have big tides, so you can't always count on floating off even on a rising tide.

I was surprised to find that a supposedly experienced sailor (a neighbor) had no clue what I was trying to do after I got stuck in "super-mud" when I took an anchor off to starboard, then led the rode to a starboard winch and got to work. He thought the boat should come out with the bow pointing in the desired direction -- in other words, pretty much vertically. I was trying to lay the boat down on its starboard side, which would have decreased the boat's draw and probably have popped the keel out of the mud. It also would have moved to deeper water. But we just weren't strong enough to do it.

He kept calling us, trying to tell us "But what you're doing will point the boat into shallow water!" If we then cut the anchor rode that would have indeed been bad, but it doesn't matter if the bow is in shallow water. It has very little draw. It matters where the keel is.

What I was trying to do was fromf "getting off a grounding 101." The tide was rising, and the combination of that SLIGHT rise left in the tide, the pressure to starboard, and a wind shift that allowed us to put the headsail out to help push the boat over finally got us off.

We were only about 100 yards from the marina office (their channel REALLY needs to be dredged!), and it would have been pretty embarrassing to have to call for a towboat so close to home!
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Old 29-12-2011, 18:01   #56
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Re: SEA TOW

Well I agree that this sounds very UN-reasonable, if the facts are as you state.
If the person that showed up to do the job did get lost, He is not very professional and I would assume he is inexperienced. I would ask for a complete resume of his qualifications and length of employment from the company or take this to small claims court. If you paid by credit card, refuse the payment with your credit card company and make them prove that all of the time they charged was justified.
As for the cost of a Tow-boat, the ones used by these people are nowhere near the $350,000 as posted. Still, the cost of using one of these services is posted and agreed upon before they come out. However, they should be professional enough to charge only the amount of time it actually takes to do the job. If the time is not correct then challenge it.
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Old 29-12-2011, 18:01   #57
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

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Originally Posted by Ram View Post
I was only replying because You said and I quote"
. If you haven't run aground you're either very new to sailing, never leave the dock, or are lying." unquote-

SO if we are to believe what you said- that makes many of us new sailors & Liars, that stay at the dock- I wanted to point out to you that there are other possibilities !!

SO as I said; some of us this does not apply , dont paint us with a broad stroke--I have been sailing-charters in the Eastern Med for the last 6 years before that IN S. Florida /Bahamas -Dive Charters on a Trawler for about 20 years-
Maybe For you the best thing is to have Sea Tow Insurance for most people around the world this is not an option, so Perhaps we are more careful, Perhaps!

Well, you're right. What I said is true IN MY AREA. In my area there's a lot of shallow water, and virtually everyone runs aground occasionally.

I doubt you're more careful. I'm quite sure you have more experience, and I suspect you may live around less "sneaky" waters than I do. I think it IS generally true that the newer you are to sailing, the more likely you are to run aground. However, *where I am* the only people who never run aground are the people who never leave the dock. I was on a boat with 22" draft that ran aground. We got off pretty easily, but ... It's extremely common around here.
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Old 29-12-2011, 18:21   #58
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Re: Why Towboats are Costly

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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.
Not to mention the costs of staffing for idle time in between tows with no income.
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Old 29-12-2011, 18:22   #59
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Well, you're right. What I said is true IN MY AREA. In my area there's a lot of shallow water, and virtually everyone runs aground occasionally.

I doubt you're more careful. I'm quite sure you have more experience, and I suspect you may live around less "sneaky" waters than I do. I think it IS generally true that the newer you are to sailing, the more likely you are to run aground. However, *where I am* the only people who never run aground are the people who never leave the dock. I was on a boat with 22" draft that ran aground. We got off pretty easily, but ... It's extremely common around here.
I never said I have never run aground, but when I have I uselly was able to get off on my own- I got my first boat 46 years ago in the Palm Beach , Fl area and ran it aground seems like almost daily -as I remember - for years as a kid ,back in those days you call the Coast Guard they came and pulled you off or towed you home at no charge-

but as you gain more experience you learn to keep a lot more attention on the depth under your boat along with many other things , than when you were first starting out-
Most failures onboard come from not paying attrition to the details , this could be applied to everything onboard! If the depth is less than 50 feet deep I’m on full alert when I’m underway and that means keeping my eyes glued on the color of the water and the depth finder/ chart recorder- this keeps me /vessel and my passengers safe-
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Old 29-12-2011, 18:25   #60
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Re: Why Towboats are Costly

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Not to mention the costs of staffing for idle time in between tows with no income.

I use Boat US, not SeaTow. Where I am, the Boat US towboats are independently operated and on call. They are only paid for tows, not for standing by. They make a point of making sure you know their name and encourage you to ask for them next time.

Not sure how it works with Seatow. I had them when I started, but the one time I needed a tow the guy who came out just didn't know anything about sailboats and among other things, pulled us WAY too fast. He refused to slow down until I told him I was going to put down my phone and call SeaTow.

I'm sure he was not representative, but around here Sea Tow just doesn't have a reputation for understanding sailboats.
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