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Old 21-01-2021, 11:58   #31
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

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Originally Posted by Mickeyrouse View Post
The cost is so cheap. I can think of any number of times that a single tow has justified the cost of my lifetime expenditure for towing insurance.

That's the key. The towing insurance is cheap enough that if you use it once in 15 or 20 years, it's likely paid for itself.
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Old 21-01-2021, 13:13   #32
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

The commercial tow provider near us (as in, their boat is kept on the next finger over) charges $100 a year for a membership (2 tows, unlimited service calls) or, for non-members, $250 an hour dock-to-dock. So 0.5h for him to get out to you + 0.5h to assess & hook up + 2.5h to tow you home at 5 knots = $875. If you pay for the membership for eight years and never use it, and then your engine craps out 10-15 miles from home base, you're still ahead.


Plenty of folks have memberships, but few rely solely on that. In 20 years, I've been towed twice and have towed others maybe 6 or 7 times, all non-commerical. One time I had an outboard blow a head gasket 300 m from the dock. One time we spent two hours digging a 28' power cruiser's Bravo drive leg out of a well-charted sandbar. (No, he didn't have the charts. Yes, it was marked with a buoy. Yes, his power trim-tilt had seized from lack of maintenance.) Another time, someone's 1-year-old outboard wouldn't start, and when the usual on-the-spot troubleshooting ended up at "looks like a dead engine computer", we just tied alongside and took him all the way back to the ramp.


We don't worry much about reimbursement, or going out of our way, etc., we just do the best we reasonably can to help in any given situation.
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Old 21-01-2021, 14:38   #33
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
That's the key. The towing insurance is cheap enough that if you use it once in 15 or 20 years, it's likely paid for itself.
I think you misunderstand. To put it another way, my towing insurance lifetime has been about $1,500. My claims have probably been around $8k.

The general concept of insurance is to spread the risk over time and among a large group. Most people will never have a claim for fire insurance on their house. But if and when you do.....
No doubt a comprehensive inside analysis of towing insurance claims paid versus premiums received could reveal that, as an insurance product, that ratio may be different compared to a similar product for your house, car, boat, airplane, or any other property for which insurance is secured. Could be higher, could be lower. Even if 15 years of premiums does equal 1 year of claims, Iím better off because Iím spreading the pain- in this case, the premiums- on a more convenient basis over a longer period of time than ďright nowĒ.
And the question ultimately becomes- ďDo you believe in insurance- for anything?ď There are certainly a great number of risk-takers out there of all types and for all kinds of risks. Theyíre called the self-insured.
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Old 21-01-2021, 20:52   #34
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

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We'll in my case it was not only the guy who rammed me.. then reversed away a few hundred metres while one of the two women went below for a beach towel she draped over the stern so I could not see the name as they turned and motored away but also the guy who sailed past a couple of miles to the N who made a judgment based on arrogance.
But hey.. its your perspective..


No doubt he falls into the ďbad neighborĒ category to say the least. Iíve run into a few really bad apples too, but then you go months and months of really nice people who would be very willing to go out of their way to help anyone who needed it, and a few who surprise you with their unexpected generosity. So, generally speaking I donít think people are any different than they ever were. Of course when youíre the one who just got T-boned and left I can understand itís a bit hard to see it that way. But karma has a funny way of finding and dealing with people like him.
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Old 24-01-2021, 10:57   #35
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

Maybe, its just selfish, but I feel good when I help another boater.
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Old 24-01-2021, 13:06   #36
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

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Maybe, its just selfish, but I feel good when I help another boater.


Haha, maybe thatís part of anyoneís motivation and in an introspective moment Iíve asked myself that same question. But as long as the action you take is an honest attempt to help out, if I were the one you were going out of your way for I couldnít care less WHY you were doing it, just grateful that you WERE doing it.
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Old 24-01-2021, 13:26   #37
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

What do you guys do if you sail out of Seatow and Towboatus range or does that never happen?

No such thing in Australia or most of the world for that matter, have to sort yourself out
Will always help someone out on the water if I know they need it and can.
One day it might be me that needs help.
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Old 24-01-2021, 15:22   #38
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

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What do you guys do if you sail out of Seatow and Towboatus range or does that never happen?

No such thing in Australia or most of the world for that matter, have to sort yourself out
Will always help someone out on the water if I know they need it and can.
One day it might be me that needs help.


What do we do? Just like you, we try to handle it ourselves and if that doesnít seem to be getting things sorted out, ask for help from any nearby vessel on 16 and see if anyone answers. I pay (not much) to have Towboat US mostly because itís so so cheap and if I never needed a tow Iíd rather have someone who is properly equipped and knows what theyíre doing than just a well meaning stranger who had no idea how to tow someone. But Iím under no illusion that when/if I ever need help that thereís any guarantee a Towboat or anyone else will be able to come to my rescue so I had better be prepared to rescue myself. Some things never change....and thatís part of the reason cruising on a sailboat feels liberating and is attractive to a certain type person who enjoys knowing that ultimately itís up to them whether they succeed or not.
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Old 24-01-2021, 17:26   #39
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

Please stop and ask if they need help. remember to always pay it forwards.
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Old 25-01-2021, 04:47   #40
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

I have the Tow Boat insurance, I've been aground twice, and I used them both times. I'd rather not be a burden on someone else interrupting their time on the water. And I've seen some improper tow procedures bend rudders (towing backwards out of shallows), ram docks, and in one case split the cowling on the well-meaning samaritans boat. Frankly to me it comes down to a choice of paying the $120 each year, or risk a $500-800 tow bill. I dont think you can count on having someone else happen to come by and bail you out.

Oh, and when you come across that guy who tore up his lower unit and needs a long tow in the direction you are not headed, when you are trying to get on fish and salvage the trip, dont you wish he had paid the $120 for the insurance?

And before anyone chimes in, yes, i have towed people in need before. Or run them in for fuel, or other assists. But for myself, my choice is to depend on Tow Boat.
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Old 25-01-2021, 05:22   #41
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

It is easy to tell when someone has towing insurance. Especially small powerboats, the first thing they do when in trouble is call. By the time I pass by and offer assistance, they have already hit speed-dial.


My observation is that compared to say 20 years ago, that people rendering assistance to those disabled but not in distress has decreased dramatically. It used to be that if you were drifting and took the cowling off your outboard, someone would stop before you even started troubleshooting. Without any evidence to support my opinion, I think the widespread availability of towing insurance has a lot to do with it.
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Old 25-01-2021, 07:54   #42
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
So, for those of you who pay for memberships in the Seatow or Towboatus programs...


When you encounter a disabled vessel where there is no imminent threat of loss of life or vessel, do you stop and help?


Or do you just figure they should ante up like you did?
Really???? You have to ask????
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Old 25-01-2021, 07:56   #43
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

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Originally Posted by sanibel sailor View Post
It is easy to tell when someone has towing insurance. Especially small powerboats, the first thing they do when in trouble is call. By the time I pass by and offer assistance, they have already hit speed-dial.


My observation is that compared to say 20 years ago, that people rendering assistance to those disabled but not in distress has decreased dramatically. It used to be that if you were drifting and took the cowling off your outboard, someone would stop before you even started troubleshooting. Without any evidence to support my opinion, I think the widespread availability of towing insurance has a lot to do with it.


I can see how that could be true regarding small powerboats but I donít think itís as true regarding cruising boats. Cruising boats tend to go much further afield and away from where a quick response by any towing company is possible. I canít imagine leaving someone adrift or aground without offering assistance if it was within my ability to offer it and I havenít heard any reports to that effect from other local boaters I know. Last summer I was having some engine trouble out in the middle of a sparsely populated 9 mile long lake in my pontoon boat and within about 15 minutes 2 people stopped by and offered to help which I declined because I knew it was just a carburetor flooding issue and I had an anchor so knew going aground wasnít an issue to worry about. I knew time would cure my problem so declined the assistance but it was nice they offered.

I think Iíve posted this pic before on another thread but this what can happen when someone goes aground and a clueless person tries to help. He towed the boat further up on the ledge and ripped cleats out of it and punched a hole in the hull by pulling against the ledge. This pic was taken at the next low tide, and at the next high tide the boat filled with water and eventually was towed off the ledge where it promptly sank. It was a charter boat owned by a friend of mine and the charter client took a shortcut inside a ledge marked by a buoy and then accepted a tow from a stranger without even calling the owner of the boat who was only about 10 miles away. Click image for larger version

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Old 25-01-2021, 08:04   #44
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

Under at least UNCLOS and SOLAS regulations, vessels flagged by signatory states are obliged to render assistance if in a position to do so without endangering themselves.

This article makes it all quite clear https://www.maritime-executive.com/b...der-assistance
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Old 25-01-2021, 08:26   #45
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Re: Question for Seatow and Towboatus patrons.

I recently towed a Cape Dory 22 into harbor with my 19' Typhoon. I have been towed by Sea Tow and by small runabouts and once by a kayaker (very short distance, but much appreciated) The only bad experience I had in 50+ years of sailing is when I was a kid. I had a 16' sloop. A large cabin cruiser went close by at speed setting up a relatively large wake. The impact ripped a chain plate out of the hull and got dismasted. The son of a bitch did not even slow down. I am still pissed 50 years later.
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