We get what we deserve. Years ago, the USCG was SeaTow if you based your impression on the number of times they had to go out and tow someone in. The no tow policy, now over twenty years old, was designed to encourage mariners to resolve that water in the diesel tank issue and the like before heading out for a day fishing off the Farallons. The USCG is in the life-saving business, not the vessel saving business. That being said, it seems just as ridiculous to not make a short tow in a direction they're heading anyway. It's sort of like those push bars, called nerf bars, on the front of cop cars. If you run out of gas 100 yards from the filling station they cannot push you in due to liability issues, begging the question as to why we equipped the cars with them at our expense?
The original news story is just the type of thing to make you think that journalism school is a waste of money. Just enough sensational "facts" to get everyone jacked up but no details. More heat than illumination, if you will. I align myself with the comments of Bill Trayfors.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.