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Old 06-10-2011, 14:57   #1
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What Is the Proper Way to Request a Tow ?

And how much do you pay for towing insurance?
I have a Boat US policy with the minimum $150 per incident towing. I was thinking of going to 'unlimited' for $125, which I think is $2500 or $3000 per incident?
So if you need a tow who do you call first and how, phone or radio? Must you call Boat US first?

There is a difference between soft grounding vs stuck on a rock?
Is there a tow limit as to how many tows you can get in a year or how far?

What if your just out of fuel?

Years ago, we ran out of fuel and called the USCG on the phone. They sent out the Virginia Marine Police with 5 gallons of gas. Very nice of them to come out. We had run out of fuel because the boat was really pushing, it was very wavy and stormy and we misjudged the situation. So the motor cut, the anchor dragged in the storm and the boat slammed into a fishing pier ripping out part of the flybridge. Then the people on the pier pulled the boat around the pier end and thankgod the anchor finally held. So it was bad but could have been much worse.
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Old 06-10-2011, 15:19   #2
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

As I am a Captain for TowBoatUS in Fort Myers Beach, FL I think I can help.

First off I think you mean a $150 MAX per inc, not min.

ALL towing companies bill total time, from my dock, to you, to your dock, back to my dock. Your tow may take an hour, but I may bill 3 hours.

My BoatUS rate is $170 an hour. So $150 does not even get you an hour. I would highly recommend getting the TowBoatUS Unlimited membership for the additional $125. A total of $149 a yaer.


By the book an unlimited member tow maximum is $2,500. It is the tower's choice to collect the balance if it goes over. I can't speak for anyone else, but the very few tows that have gone over $2500, I have NEVER billed the customer any thing else.


If you are out of fuel, you just pay for the fuel.


There is no "limit" on how many tows, as long as TowBoatUS does not think you are abusing the service. Coverage area and the towing agreement can be looked up on www.towboatus.com


We cover soft ungroundings. If you are hard aground, or stuck on a rock, you may be a salvage. This is case by case.


If you have a cell phone on board it is always the easiest to call your local dispatch, or national dispatch at 800-391-4869.


If not hail TowBoatUS on VHF channel 16.


Like I tell everyone, I have been a member since 1999, but a captain only since 2009. I truly believe in our product/service.
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Old 06-10-2011, 15:19   #3
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

I've had the Unlimited tow insurance from boat US for a number of years.
It's a great investment. You just call them directly via cell phone, or call them on 16 if your near enough. You can also get someone to relay your info.

I've only needed to use them once in 6 years, ( long story, won't bore you) but the tow would have been $800.
As it was it only cost me a $ tip to the captain.

I'm sure they'd bring you fuel if that was your only problem. They might even bring parts if available to avoid an actual tow.

If I traveled more extensively, I would personally consider both a Sea-tow and a Boat US contract.

The hard grounding I imagine is a judgment call. They will probably make an risk-based, task based assessment. But, it may be excluded from the normal contract; if it requires special equipment and or other vessels and labor.

Here's the website http://www.boatus.com/towing/agree.asp
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Old 06-10-2011, 15:27   #4
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
And how much do you pay for towing insurance?
I have a Boat US policy with the minimum $150 per incident towing. I was thinking of going to 'unlimited' for $125, which I think is $2500 or $3000 per incident?
So if you need a tow who do you call first and how, phone or radio? Must you call Boat US first?

There is a difference between soft grounding vs stuck on a rock?
Is there a tow limit as to how many tows you can get in a year or how far?

What if your just out of fuel?

Years ago, we ran out of fuel and called the USCG on the phone. They sent out the Virginia Marine Police with 5 gallons of gas. Very nice of them to come out. We had run out of fuel because the boat was really pushing, it was very wavy and stormy and we misjudged the situation. So the motor cut, the anchor dragged in the storm and the boat slammed into a fishing pier ripping out part of the flybridge. Then the people on the pier pulled the boat around the pier end and thankgod the anchor finally held. So it was bad but could have been much worse.
What Ocean Roads said is mostly correct..

In the Northeast..many towers are up around $250-$300 an hour for non-members or overages.

Suprising about the Marine police/USCG story...most of the time if it's NOT an emergency...the govt agencies AREN'T allowed to assist.

If you are a member and are aground (even on a rock) ....most towing companies will try and assist members...if you are not...then you are rolling the dice as "soft ungroundings" which are usually spelled out in membership guidelines call for water all around the boat and the boat still having some movement. Anything else can be a salvage with big bucks involved...but as I said...for members I've dug the equvalent to the Panama Canal to get the guy off dry land,,,
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Old 06-10-2011, 15:43   #5
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

Tow insurance is the best bargin in boating.
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Old 06-10-2011, 16:48   #6
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

I have unlimited Boat U.S. coverage and it's paid for itself many times over. I have found the captains to be extremely courteous and helpful. On one occasion I was trying to enter the anchorage at Caya Costa in Florida but the channel markers didn't make any sense with the anchorage guide. I saw a Tow Boat U.S. anchored nearby and radioed him. I was informed that the coasties had changed the markers after the guide was written. He then upped anchor and guided me in. No charge but he got a healthy tip, you betcha.

Rich
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Old 06-10-2011, 17:20   #7
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

Thank god for BoatUS. Gotta love towing insurance
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Old 06-10-2011, 19:01   #8
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

Quote:
Suprising about the Marine police/USCG story...most of the time if it's NOT an emergency...the govt agencies AREN'T allowed to assist.
This was before hurricane Isabel around 2002.
They came out in this little boat in that rough water wind and rain and I remember the boat rocking so hard I could hardly grab the fuel can.

The fishing pier we floated up against was the Grandview pier. Did no damage to it and Isabel totally destroyed it the next year.

He did not write up a report as we agreed the damage was under $500.

Another time back in the 90's our other boat hit something in the James river and the stern drive cracked the case and locked up. The USCG towed us back to the launch ramp in Denbigh. (around 3 miles tops back to the dock). They came all the way from the Elizabeth river Norfolk station. We had a phone but no gps and they had a hard time finding us. we finally tossed a hand flare as high as we could and they saw it. They asked if we had towing insurance which we did not and then offered to tow us to the dock as they had no other calls.

What was interesting was someone on shore had seen our flares and already called them before we did and they were already on the way to get us.
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Old 06-10-2011, 19:12   #9
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

Grandview Pier | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

this is what happened to the Grandview pier after out boat hit it.


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Old 06-10-2011, 19:42   #10
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
What Ocean Roads said is mostly correct..

In the Northeast..many towers are up around $250-$300 an hour for non-members or overages.

Suprising about the Marine police/USCG story...most of the time if it's NOT an emergency...the govt agencies AREN'T allowed to assist.

If you are a member and are aground (even on a rock) ....most towing companies will try and assist members...if you are not...then you are rolling the dice as "soft ungroundings" which are usually spelled out in membership guidelines call for water all around the boat and the boat still having some movement. Anything else can be a salvage with big bucks involved...but as I said...for members I've dug the equvalent to the Panama Canal to get the guy off dry land,,,
IMO, running out of fuel in rough seas IS an emergency.
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Old 06-10-2011, 19:45   #11
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Re: What is the proper way to request a tow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Antares View Post
Tow insurance is the best bargin in boating.
I would not leave the dock without it. However, I think we still have to pay attention to what is going on. If I had been sensible when the first Towboat wanted to pull me over a sand bar, I would have gotten out of the boat and walked to the deep water so he could see where it was. I would have walked where he wanted to take me so he could see the difference.

The rudder is going to be $1308 plus tax. I view it as tuition.
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Old 07-10-2011, 00:16   #12
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Re: What Is the Proper Way to Request a Tow ?

If you have a true emergency and life is in danger, make it plain to the Coast Guard that lives are in danger or they might not respond. I listened to a radio conversation between a burning boat and the Coast Guard. A young girl was handling the radio but for some reason they couldn't talk directly to the Coasties, another boater was acting as a relay. I could hear all three sides. The first message was that they were anchored at a particular location near shore and smoke was coming out of the engine box. The coast guard wanted to know how many people were aboard, did everyone have a life jacket and would they accept commercial assistance. The girl said they would accept any help they could get. A local tow company came on and said they were responding and were twenty minutes away. The conversation went on for at least twenty minutes with the girl getting more scared the whole time. Her last transmission was that they had to get off the boat and were going to try to swim ashore. My buddy and I who had been listening from a near by marina drove to the place where they were trying to swim. We met the girl walking up a dirt road looking for help. We explained that we had heard her radio call and offered to help. She just looked stunned and asked "Why wouldn't the Coast Guard come?" The boat burned to the waterline but everyone was safe. I'm not sure that the Coast Guard Radioman ever got the idea that the boat was on fire.
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