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Old 14-04-2013, 18:28   #1
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Sea Tow or Boat US?

We have Sea Tow but a Boat US capt gave us a story about how they are compensated differently. Supposedly Sea Tow gets a flat fee based on area subscriptions, and has no incentive to come out. But Boat US gets paid hourly for each job.

Delaware and Chesapeak area.

Fact or fiction? Whom do you reccomend?
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Old 14-04-2013, 18:56   #2
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

Let me ask a question first: do you think the franchise holder does the trips himself or hires out captains who would make quite a bit less no matter which way?

Decent luck with Boat US with a friend on his boat but we were in the Tampa area.
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Old 14-04-2013, 19:25   #3
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

I have been very pleased with BoatUS and recommend them. Yes, you have the compensation correct. I'd rather depend on a fellow who will be paid for getting me right now rather than one who already has the money and might not be as motivated. Plus the captains I've met have been professional and "got the job done" ...

Er, that's TowBoatUS.
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Old 15-04-2013, 02:13   #4
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maren View Post
Let me ask a question first: do you think the franchise holder does the trips himself or hires out captains who would make quite a bit less no matter which way?

Decent luck with Boat US with a friend on his boat but we were in the Tampa area.
Not a clue, had not even thought of it.

The one time I called Sea Tow they were VERY reluctant to come out and gave me anything but warm and fuzzies. Also the boat they were gonna use was not adequate, although there is an adequate boat in the area. But maybe not THAT franchise area? Don't know.
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Old 15-04-2013, 05:48   #5
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A few years ago captains were paid per job, not per # of subscriptions. Very disappointed with what i have seen from seatow. Boat US seems much more professional. Neither co is fond if trying to remove a stuck sailboat.
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Old 15-04-2013, 05:56   #6
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

Plus 1 for TowBoatUS. I have used them many times, and with one exception in Marco Island, all were professional in their duties. Captain Fred in Crystal River, Fl. was by far the very best TowBoatUs Captain to date. TowBoatUS Captains get paid by the hour as of my last encounter with them. I would recommend TowBoatUs 1000%, and lord know I am a professional TowBoatUs customer, with vast experience with their services!
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Old 15-04-2013, 06:01   #7
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

hpeer--when seatoad toad us we were charged hourly plus salvage rate of anything the boat operator thought necessary--per foot from 10 usd to 250 usd PER FOOT plus hourly.
thy all do hourly and they all do salvage rates for unsticking ye from a shoal.

have fun. i am glad neither nor any covers here--i use me own self and friends for towing myself and others. as it should be.

if you sail outside usa waters--do not get either as none of em works here.
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Old 15-04-2013, 06:20   #8
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

We ended up with a Seatow membership. They have been good so far on the East Coast.
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Old 15-04-2013, 06:46   #9
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

An interesting & informative article on the subject:
Navigating the Towing Service Maze: Sea Tow/Towboat US

See also:
5 Tips Before You Call Towboat US or SeaTow … or the US Coast Guard!
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:52   #10
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

Thanks for the feedback. This brings to mind another question....I have heard that Sea Tow insures the boat, but Tow Boat US insures the skipper. Since we have two boats his could be Germaine (bloody spell check.)
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Old 15-04-2013, 16:59   #11
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

Save yor money. These tow insurers are a rip-off.

Picture a scenario when you pick up the microphone and call "any tow vessel, please respond ..." And they all try to beat the competition for your business.

Wouldn't you prefer that?

All you need do is add tow insurance to your existing boat liability policy. It is a myth that any reputable underwriter would raise your rate because it had to reimburse you (100%) for the tow which any of them prefer to paying a repair bill.
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Old 15-04-2013, 17:32   #12
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

Be Careful, buy only the top of the line of towing offerings. The lower levels of insurance are worthless based on my experience.
The "best" may be related to where you are and how many tow capts they have in the area.
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Old 15-04-2013, 21:19   #13
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Not a clue, had not even thought of it.

The one time I called Sea Tow they were VERY reluctant to come out and gave me anything but warm and fuzzies. Also the boat they were gonna use was not adequate, although there is an adequate boat in the area. But maybe not THAT franchise area? Don't know.
I used to speak with the Sea Tow folks in St Pete a fair amount. Both of the guys were employes as were just about all of the Boat US folks I met. I never was on a boat with Sea Tow but have been on three with Boat US. The first complained how rough it was (while towing) and did a poor job at the end. He also couldn't catch a rope and didn't think to have glasses keepers on. The second time they said they they would call it a salvage operation and it therefore wouldn't be covered; the third time was at about 4 am and the guy was stellar.

My point is this: I think you'd find if you did an exhaustive study that is comes down to the individual expertise and attitudes of the captains over the two companies. Both likely take some advantage of the guys who are working for them. But in all honesty, that's been true for a couple of hundred years now. For you area, I'd ask around. They guy who did a poor job had been working with them for a long time.
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Old 15-04-2013, 22:26   #14
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

Must be nice to live in a country where you can choose your rescuer
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Old 15-04-2013, 23:20   #15
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Re: Sea Tow or Boat US?

Do not have any experience with the Sea Tow.
I am member of Boat US and have Unlimited Towing package.
They bailed me out in 2006, when approaching entrance to the Beaufort Inlet, NC,
we caught jib sheet in to prop during bad weather. We hove to and called TowBoat US which after couple of hours informed us over the radio, that the sea are to big for him and he is forced to turn back.
Then over the radio come CG from Macon Station. They asked some questions (one was, if we can anchor ) and then dispatched their cutter to tow us to the shore (their base). The tow took form 1:00 AM until 8:00 AM. We got full safety inspection and were released to the TowBoat captain (same one from previous night), which towed us to marina.
Next encounter was at the entrance to the Atlantic City. Problem with the stalling engine forced me to drop the anchor and to call ToewBoat US. At first come regular size towboat, but after while, when he learn that I have on board just my teenage daughter he decided that he is "to small" for may 35' sailboat, and called "bigger brother" (salvage?). That sucker was huge, he dragged me into inner harbor and released mi back to the smaller dude. Bill was $3500 for less then 1NM tow. I have complained with the local CG, they acknowledged that they are aware of their "shady practice", and advised me to go to court.
However, Boat US covered whole bill without much fuss.
Third time, during approaching St. Georges in the Bermuda, engine (again ) problem forced me to call local tow service. BoatUS refunded money which I paid in Bermuda.

Viv la BoatUS
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