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Old 29-09-2011, 22:05   #31
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

It is a myth that putting a line on an abandoned vessel allows you to keep it.

At least in Maryland Waters
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Old 29-09-2011, 22:08   #32
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

Good Samaritan Law has certain restrictions.

They seem to vary from State to State
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Old 29-09-2011, 22:21   #33
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

I was referring to years gone by in Canadian PNW waters, Chief... it didn't happen often because if folks had a problem they usually hollered for help and stayed with the vessel until you arrived. Abandoned vessels we towed in from open waters were yours if you could get 'em. I don't recall any issues with the owners or the insurance companies in those days. Both occasions we heard of them being spotted over the VHF. Because of the severe tides and currents, they would quickly be busted up ashore if someone didn't pick them up. The authorities were only too happy to get hazards to navigation secured. Capt Phil
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Old 29-09-2011, 22:24   #34
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

Under Maryland Law...you have to pursue with due diligence, the owner of the vessel...If they can't be located you can apply for title.

I believe there is a provision for reasonable storage charges...
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Old 30-09-2011, 04:56   #35
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

Maritime law is international Md or Ca aside)...you are both right in some aspects...an abandoned vessel that could come to harm and salvaged may have a substantial salvage pay to the salvor. The vessel may be placed in "custody" by the law until the salvage payout is fullfilled...but it isn't automatically yours to keep. The problem with abandonment is the actual legal definitiion...just because you get off because she's sinking doesn't mean you abandoned her in the eyes of salvage...but the basic theory of salvage claims is that if you can PROVE you prevented further damage...then you have a claim of salvage whether the owner gives permission or not.

It is also a myth about who passed the towline..but it isn't a myth about how many good samaritans get hurt or damage things trying to tow/help.
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Old 30-09-2011, 04:58   #36
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

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Originally Posted by Chief Engineer View Post
Under Maryland Law...you have to pursue with due diligence, the owner of the vessel...If they can't be located you can apply for title.

I believe there is a provision for reasonable storage charges...
sometimes even UNREASONABLE storage charges!!!!
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Old 30-09-2011, 07:46   #37
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

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Maritime law is international...
There is no such thing as an international law. There are agreements between countries whereby the laws are made pretty uniform, but there is no guarantee that EVERY country in the world has signed any particular agreement. What's more, each country is free to excuse themselves from the agreement if they want to.

Beyond that, within the U.S., federal laws and agreements apply in federal waters, but state laws apply in state controlled water. So it is entirely possible that each state will have its own requirements within its own waters. Similar situations probably apply in many other countries.

You cannot just assume that because you know what the maritime conventions are, you therefore know for sure what the rules will be everywhere.
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Old 30-09-2011, 08:11   #38
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

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There is no such thing as an international law. There are agreements between countries whereby the laws are made pretty uniform, but there is no guarantee that EVERY country in the world has signed any particular agreement. What's more, each country is free to excuse themselves from the agreement if they want to.

Beyond that, within the U.S., federal laws and agreements apply in federal waters, but state laws apply in state controlled water. So it is entirely possible that each state will have its own requirements within its own waters. Similar situations probably apply in many other countries.

You cannot just assume that because you know what the maritime conventions are, you therefore know for sure what the rules will be everywhere.
All true...notice how I said maritime law not international law...

Fed court will usually trump state court so it may be a question of where you are taking your agrgument...but when a federal marshall slaps an arrest warrant or whatever they are called now on your boat...doesn't matter much what the locals or staties think.

Your right about trying to win an arguement in some places...you might wind up in jail before you even discuss yor boat or slavage claim....those are places I try and avoid.

That's one good reason to have your vessel documented if US...then the full weight of the USCG and State department can be brought to bear if you are a big enough PIA!
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Old 30-09-2011, 08:47   #39
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

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Something just occured to me. In Canada if you are aware someone is in trouble you have legal obligation to render assistance if you can without putting your vessel or crew at risk. I suspect that doesn't just apply to Canada.

How does this work for tow operators?

That's the law in the US also, and I suspect it's international. But your assistance may just be reporting the problem, or dinghying out to rescue someone, etc.

If a professional tow boat renders assistance the bill to the troubled boat can be HUGE if they don't have insurance for that.
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Old 30-09-2011, 08:58   #40
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

I think we are talking two completely different types of businesses here. One is assisting recreational boats that need a rescue. The other business is tugs that push or pull most anything.

The first seems to be more of a hobby job where there is little money to be made either by the operator or the owner....because lots of people would like to do this combined with relatively few rescues that need to be performed. The latter profession requires a lot of experience before you are allowed to be a captain.
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Old 30-09-2011, 09:12   #41
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

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I think we are talking two completely different types of businesses here. One is assisting recreational boats that need a rescue. The other business is tugs that push or pull most anything.

The first seems to be more of a hobby job where there is little money to be made either by the operator or the owner....because lots of people would like to do this combined with relatively few rescues that need to be performed. The latter profession requires a lot of experience before you are allowed to be a captain.
Actually you are off base.....the two overlap quite a bit....certainly no more a hobby job...but in the sense that a college kid with a captains license and a towing endorsement can be hired...it's not the best thing to do if you tow/salvage million dollar plus boats..

And mostly off base is that assistance towing and any other towing operation fall mostly under the same regs, rules and obligations. If a mariner is in TRUE distress...we are ALL supposed to respond....the little assistance tower may actually be the better responder for vessels under a 100 feet due to the responding vessel, experience and equipment on board.

Just because a commercial tugboat captain has a zillion hours on the water doesn't mean he/she has that much experience with rescue/salvage by the very nature that often they can't be a useful responder...not taking anything away from them though...towing big stuff is ONE CHALLENGING JOB!

Plus...some towers are busy...in NJ...all summer I average about 20-25 tows a week.

ANYONE can run tug/tow boats under 26 feet...the last job I pushed and held 750,000 pounds of rock/barge against a major parkway bridge while the contractor loaded the rock around the base.
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Old 30-09-2011, 09:18   #42
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Actually you are off base.....the two overlap quite a bit....certainly no more a hobby job...but in the sense that a college kid with a captains license and a towing endorsement can be hired...it's not the best thing to do if you tow/salvage million dollar plus boats..

And mostly off base is that assistance towing and any other towing operation fall mostly under the same regs, rules and obligations. If a mariner is in TRUE distress...we are ALL supposed to respond....the little assistance tower may actually be the better responder for vessels under a 100 feet due to the responding vessel, experience and equipment on board.

Just because a commercial tugboat captain has a zillion hours on the water doesn't mean he/she has that much experience with rescue/salvage by the very nature that often they can't be a useful responder...not taking anything away from them though...towing big stuff is ONE CHALLENGING JOB!

Plus...some towers are busy...in NJ...all summer I average about 20-25 tows a week.

In the wintertime...ANYONE can run tug/tow boats under 26 feet...the last job I pushed and held 750,000 pounds of rock/barge against a major parkway bridge while the contractor loaded the rock around the base.

I disagree. It is a completely different market. The laws, equipment, knowledge and your customers are completely different.

There is little similarity between towing 650 foot barge filled with oil and towing a 30 foot pleasure boat back to its berth.
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Old 30-09-2011, 09:27   #43
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

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I disagree. It is a completely different market. The laws, equipment, knowledge and your customers are completely different.

There is little similarity between towing 650 foot barge filled with oil and towing a 30 foot pleasure boat back to its berth.
Actually they are similar...just different scale and as a former USCG officer I do have experience with larger ships.

The laws are actually EXACTLY the same for inspected tow vessels no matter what size..and it's rumored ALL towing vessels may become inspected.

And who says all of our work is 30 footers.

I pushed a 120 foot crane/deck barge up a residential canal barely 80 feet wide with boats on both side and backed it out after midnight when we had to raise another piling barge/crane. Most seagoing captains would have thought I was crazy to manuever a 150x40 rig up a tight canal with 2 90 degree bends.

You dont know very much abut the industry to make your statements...plenty of assistance towing company owners made LOTs in the gulf last year with oil cleanup.

That's why I clearly stated that if you do work or own in the industry...be prepared to expand beyond assistance towing or work for one that already is.
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Old 30-09-2011, 09:48   #44
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

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I disagree. It is a completely different market. The laws, equipment, knowledge and your customers are completely different.

There is little similarity between towing 650 foot barge filled with oil and towing a 30 foot pleasure boat back to its berth.
Agreed,

Why complicate the original question?

Newt was inquiring about operations like Sea-tow or Boat U.S. that provide assistance towing to mostly recreation vessels. That assistance is often for mechanical failure, or simply running out of fuel.
You can provide towing assistance within the scope of your original MMC.

Towing or pushing barges are a different animal, and are limited by the MMC. and the COI

General assistance ( free) is required by all mariners, but that assistance does not require the provider to endanger their own ship or crew.
Assistance provided can be as simple as standing by, relaying information to the CG or others, and being prepared if necessary to retrieve people from the water. You are not required to tow, board a vessel in distress.

That is my understanding..but I'm open to clarification based on the CFRs
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Old 30-09-2011, 09:52   #45
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Re: Tow Boat Captain: Good Job ?

Those confused about the difference between tugboats and towboats might find this link useful.

The American Waterways Operators
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