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Old 28-12-2011, 18:04   #1
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Sea Tow


Quick story:

I am selling my boat (hoping to buy a bigger one...) and the buyer wanted to have it hauled to inspect and clean the bottom. I wasn't sure if I would be available to move the boat to the haul dock and he is a begginer who didn't want to do it himself. I was told at the marina that it costs $75 to have it towed. Being anxious, the buyer arranged to have it towed approximately 150' to the other side of the marina. 150 feet and 5 minutes later SEA TOW gave us the bill:

$675!!

I now see why he asked for the credit card before towing us. And he had the nerve to explain if we were memebers this would all be free. GIVE ME A BREAK! I could have built a coffer dam and pumped the water out of my slip for that price. The jerk suggested he stay and wait to see if we needed help getting it back. At $250 / hour I said "no thank you.
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Old 28-12-2011, 18:52   #2
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Remember: line on cleat = money.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:00   #3
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Corpus,
That was a very negative post.
You stated that you did not know that you would be available to move the boat to the haulout dock. That put the onus of getting the boat to the haulout on the prospective buyer. Obviously, not being accustomed to "marine" workings, the prospective buyer did what he thought was the right thing to do to expidite the haulout and, to your benifit, the sale/purchase of the boat. Would you have thought to ask the SEA//TOW operator the per hour rate? Are you aware that the SEA//TOW boat had to come from his base of operations to your location? (If the rate was $250 an hour (a not unreasonable rate)he must have had to come some distance to your location) The cost to operate and maintain a towboat is very high, and that cost remains the same (with the exception of fuel useage) wether the boat is working or sitting tied up to the dock.
Why did you not have the marina make the tow? They would be able to do that without a problem. Or did you find THAT charge to be too much for you??
It appears that the SEA//TOW operator was attempting to be as helpful as possible in the situation you described.........with a "beginer" buying the boat.
And, yes, if you had been a member, the tow would have been free, wether from SEA//TOW or Towboat US, or Vessel Assist.........You had every opportunity to join any of those assistance organizations, but you did not!! Please do not try to tell us that you "had no idea" that a membership had that benifit....it's just that you did not want to spend the $150 or so for the membership.
I draw this conclusion from your previous posts which mainly deal with your fixation on the costs of boating, running aground, and berating yourself for not having cleaned the bottom while you were on the sand bar, and then having to haulout to do the bottom. (How would you have cleaned the side that the boat was lying on?)
To call the operator a "jerk" for submitting a bill for services rendered, is at the very least denigrating. Do you work for your employer for free??
Boating is an expensive undertaking. If you choose to go boating, be very aware of the involved costs. (Wait until you go to the Caribbean, and see the cost of purchasing supplies there!!!)
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:07   #4
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Of course the expenditure of $675 for the purposes described is insane. I feel for the OP! On the other hand -- that's what it costs to order a towboat from some distance and back. Information about prices is freely available. Whose fault was it that the services were ordered, and accepted, without having a clear understanding of the cost of them? Hmmm.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:13   #5
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

I've seen yards offer tow rates around $150, so that seems reasonable for a 1 time deal from a prospective buyers POV. But, as a boat owner, It only takes 5 minutes of research to find out tow services, like seatow and boatUS, are outrageously expensive per usage... It just so happens to be so outrageously expensive, that it scares you into buying a membership For $150 a year, if you ever plan on calling them, it's well worth the price. As a member the services are well beyond the price you're paying for them. But, as a non-member, you already know you're gonna get shafted... It's pretty clear cut.

I wouldn't have ever thought to order a service like that without some reasonable idea of what it's going to cost me first..
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:36   #6
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

You are correct in that a little due dillegence on my part and none of that would have happened. However, the marina people (who told me it would cost $75) or the SEA TOW people could have asked a question or two and seen that it was obviously redicolous to have my boat towed litteraly 150' along the sea wall when I could have motored or even it pulled it with a rope from the shore.

The boat wasn't a "TUG BOAT" it was a 20' bass boat with a couple extra cleats.
Their base is about a 1/2 mile away.
The guy got lost and charged us for the extra time.
It is obvious that the large cost does shock people into buying a membership, who will probably never again use it, so they essentialy make double.

Yes I do complain a lot about the cost of boating, but I thought that was one of the perks of owning a boat, complaining about stuff.
Why should a 4" turnbuckle cost $30 at West Marine and $2 at Home Depot?

Talking with the guys who actualy hauled the boat (salt of the earth good ol boys) they gave advice and opinions. They scraped the propeller and tightened the lock nut without charging for every other breath they took.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:40   #7
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Yes I know in the end it was my fault, but would you do a complete engine overhaul on a car when you knew it just needed the battery cable connected?
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:45   #8
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corpus View Post
You are correct in that a little due dillegence on my part and none of that would have happened. However, the marina people (who told me it would cost $75) or the SEA TOW people could have asked a question or two and seen that it was obviously redicolous to have my boat towed litteraly 150' along the sea wall when I could have motored or even it pulled it with a rope from the shore.

The boat wasn't a "TUG BOAT" it was a 20' bass boat with a couple extra cleats.
Their base is about a 1/2 mile away.
The guy got lost and charged us for the extra time.
It is obvious that the large cost does shock people into buying a membership, who will probably never again use it, so they essentialy make double.

Yes I do complain a lot about the cost of boating, but I thought that was one of the perks of owning a boat, complaining about stuff.
Why should a 4" turnbuckle cost $30 at West Marine and $2 at Home Depot?

Talking with the guys who actualy hauled the boat (salt of the earth good ol boys) they gave advice and opinions. They scraped the propeller and tightened the lock nut without charging for every other breath they took.

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.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:45   #9
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

I guess there's 2 sides to every story... but that does seem like an inflated price for the service rendered. I'd guess if the tow company was asked for a bid on the move... the bid would likely have been about half that or less.
You and your newly scraped prop have something in common: You've both gotten the shaft.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:48   #10
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corpus View Post

Their base is about a 1/2 mile away.
The guy got lost and charged us for the extra time.
If these are the facts then contest the cost. If you are paying for a professional service there is a reasonable assumption of competence which has not been met.

1nm round trip takes 20 mins, another 20-30 to move the boat 150ft and that gives under one hour maximum, Maybe round it up to an hour to show a generosity that was not afforded to you and then pay that and not a penny more.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:52   #11
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corpus View Post
You are correct in that a little due dillegence on my part and none of that would have happened. However, the marina people (who told me it would cost $75) or the SEA TOW people could have asked a question or two and seen that it was obviously redicolous to have my boat towed litteraly 150' along the sea wall when I could have motored or even it pulled it with a rope from the shore.

The boat wasn't a "TUG BOAT" it was a 20' bass boat with a couple extra cleats.
Their base is about a 1/2 mile away.
The guy got lost and charged us for the extra time.
It is obvious that the large cost does shock people into buying a membership, who will probably never again use it, so they essentialy make double.

Yes I do complain a lot about the cost of boating, but I thought that was one of the perks of owning a boat, complaining about stuff.
Why should a 4" turnbuckle cost $30 at West Marine and $2 at Home Depot?

Talking with the guys who actualy hauled the boat (salt of the earth good ol boys) they gave advice and opinions. They scraped the propeller and tightened the lock nut without charging for every other breath they took.

As much as I hate to give in, and after reading your cry, NO, it does not seem right! The sea tow people are not wrong though, they provide a service (seasonable) a few months, half the year, for idiots and fools that get themselves into trouble, one way or another, out on the waterways and just expect that someone can furnish a $350,000 dollar rescue/tow boat for your scream for help, anytime of the year! It cost big money to begin to offer the service then stay afloat financially to offer next seasons idiots the service...Hey, these people need to eat too! It used to be that the coast guard provided this service, but it was too much a burden on their government regulated budget and so they relinqueshed this domain to what we have today.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:52   #12
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

"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.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:54   #13
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

You're right to be pissed. It's ridiculous how much they charge. They are criminals. But that's just how much they charge... I don't think they overcharged you. That's just the going rate for their service :/
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Old 28-12-2011, 20:02   #14
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corpus View Post
Quick story:

I am selling my boat (hoping to buy a bigger one...) and the buyer wanted to have it hauled to inspect and clean the bottom. I wasn't sure if I would be available to move the boat to the haul dock and he is a begginer who didn't want to do it himself. I was told at the marina that it costs $75 to have it towed. Being anxious, the buyer arranged to have it towed approximately 150' to the other side of the marina. 150 feet and 5 minutes later SEA TOW gave us the bill:

$675!!

I now see why he asked for the credit card before towing us. And he had the nerve to explain if we were memebers this would all be free. GIVE ME A BREAK! I could have built a coffer dam and pumped the water out of my slip for that price. The jerk suggested he stay and wait to see if we needed help getting it back. At $250 / hour I said "no thank you.
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!
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Old 28-12-2011, 20:16   #15
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Re: SEA TOW = Modern Day Pirates

That is absolutely outrageous. I understand amortizing or distributing overhead and investment, but if I take my car to a service station to put air in my tire, I don't expect to be charged $1000 because a minor service has to defray a huge portion of a business' annual overhead. Our marina charges an extra $40 for what they call an "assisted haulout" for our 32 footer, which means they sail it over from the slip into the sling bay.

All that aside though, on the other hand I don't understand why anyone would order a tow service no matter what it costs to move a boat along a sea wall that you could just about pull by hand with a line according to the post. Even if you're a millionaire, why do that and waste your money for no good reason?

When we bought our 32 the seller's marina was 12 miles from the nearest big marina that could do the haulout and shipping prep. We gave the seller $100 for his trouble and the gas to sail it over from his marina to the haulout marina for us. Part of the purchase deal. Not sure which way to go on this one.
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