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  #11  
Old 07-07-2008
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Boat Towing Services?

OK!

I am convinced.

Given my newly purchased almost 40 year old boat, same age diesel and the fact that I have run aground 75% of my outings this season, I would be stupid not to purchase the service.

Thank you everyone!

Rick
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2008
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Hey harpguitar, sounds like you believe in keeping a CLEAN bottom! Have fun!

Bob
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  #13  
Old 07-08-2008
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There is another thing to consider when you get towing insurance. It also insures you don't get ripped off!

Sea Tow and Tow Boat US are franchises. That means each boat that you see running around out there is actually an independent operator, and some of them are, simply put, crooks.

There are several cases on the docket down in South Florida over this right now. Here's the basic scenario. Your boat has a problem and needs to be towed. You call for help and the tow boat arrives. By the way that Admiralty Law is written, if he gets a line wrapped around a cleat on your boat, he is eligible for salvage fees. Not a reasonable towing fee, but salvage. That can be 10% of the value of your vessel.

So if you choose to run without towing insurance, be aware that if you have a boat that's worth, for argument's sake, $100,000.00, you run aground and the guy in the black and yellow boat pulls you off, you might find yourself with a bill for $10,000!

This isn't a joke, either. An owner I know down in Miami had the family out for a day of dolphin fishing 3 summers ago, and on the way back into Stilt Town, he cut the corner a big and ran aground. Not hard, but he was stuck, and bent the last 2 inches of his props. He called a tow company (email me and I'll tell you which one), and the boat showed up, tossed a line on a cleat and pulled him off. It took about ten minutes, start to finish. The big sedan limped back to its slip with the bent props. No other damage done anywhere.

The tow boat operator had him sign the bill and said he'd send the guy an invoice. Three days later, he got a bill for (sit down) $310,000 dollars for salvage, along with an explanation that the fair market value of the boat was $3.1 million, and the tow boat operator had 'saved the vessel from immediate peril.'

The tow boat operator made a mistake. The owner is a very wealthy lawyer, so after he'd calmed down a bit, he decided to push the issue. The tow boat operator and the big company he works under have been trying to settle out of court, but the lawyer isn't having any of it. Several maritime lawyers have jumped on board and are providing their expertise and services pro bono because the entire boating community needs protection against such crooks.

For now, if you don't have a towing service, make double-damned sure you don't let the guy drop a line around your cleat FOR ANY REASON until you have discussed what it's going to cost, and that is written down on the contract, you and the operator have signed that contract, and you have a copy of it in your hands, or you might find yourself with a huge bill.

It isn't that way everywhere, but it's common in South Florida, and I heard that the people near Nassau Sound are pulling the same shenanigans, and going aground there is easy because the sand bars shift daily.

Just a word to the wise...
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  #14  
Old 07-08-2008
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Gary makes a good point.

If you don't have towing insurance and another boat comes to tow you off, HAND YOUR LINE TO THEM. That way they can't claim SALVAGE RIGHTS. If you accept their line, they can.

Also, if you don't have towing insurance, never, ever sign anything without getting a clear price on the services. Generally, if your boat isn't in immediate danger of sinking or being holed—a soft grounding as opposed to sitting on rocks/coral heads—then there is no legitimate basis, unless there is an imminent storm approaching, for salvage.

SALVAGE requires risk to the boat and to the salvor. MY guess is that the creep in Gary's story is probably going to lose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary1 View Post
There is another thing to consider when you get towing insurance. It also insures you don't get ripped off!

Sea Tow and Tow Boat US are franchises. That means each boat that you see running around out there is actually an independent operator, and some of them are, simply put, crooks.

There are several cases on the docket down in South Florida over this right now. Here's the basic scenario. Your boat has a problem and needs to be towed. You call for help and the tow boat arrives. By the way that Admiralty Law is written, if he gets a line wrapped around a cleat on your boat, he is eligible for salvage fees. Not a reasonable towing fee, but salvage. That can be 10% of the value of your vessel.

So if you choose to run without towing insurance, be aware that if you have a boat that's worth, for argument's sake, $100,000.00, you run aground and the guy in the black and yellow boat pulls you off, you might find yourself with a bill for $10,000!

This isn't a joke, either. An owner I know down in Miami had the family out for a day of dolphin fishing 3 summers ago, and on the way back into Stilt Town, he cut the corner a big and ran aground. Not hard, but he was stuck, and bent the last 2 inches of his props. He called a tow company (email me and I'll tell you which one), and the boat showed up, tossed a line on a cleat and pulled him off. It took about ten minutes, start to finish. The big sedan limped back to its slip with the bent props. No other damage done anywhere.

The tow boat operator had him sign the bill and said he'd send the guy an invoice. Three days later, he got a bill for (sit down) $310,000 dollars for salvage, along with an explanation that the fair market value of the boat was $3.1 million, and the tow boat operator had 'saved the vessel from immediate peril.'

The tow boat operator made a mistake. The owner is a very wealthy lawyer, so after he'd calmed down a bit, he decided to push the issue. The tow boat operator and the big company he works under have been trying to settle out of court, but the lawyer isn't having any of it. Several maritime lawyers have jumped on board and are providing their expertise and services pro bono because the entire boating community needs protection against such crooks.

For now, if you don't have a towing service, make double-damned sure you don't let the guy drop a line around your cleat FOR ANY REASON until you have discussed what it's going to cost, and that is written down on the contract, you and the operator have signed that contract, and you have a copy of it in your hands, or you might find yourself with a huge bill.

It isn't that way everywhere, but it's common in South Florida, and I heard that the people near Nassau Sound are pulling the same shenanigans, and going aground there is easy because the sand bars shift daily.

Just a word to the wise...
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  #15  
Old 07-08-2008
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I think Boat US unlimited insurance is only $120 or so... for a year. I don't see any reason to not have it. The time when you need to be towed means it is probably a tense time, and you are anxious. Now that I have the insurance, that anxiety gets a HUGE relief. I just sit back, and think, "well, atleast I have unlimited towing insurance, and won't get smacked with a huge unexpected bill to pay."

Alot of what I am doing now to the boat is not just to be safer, and to make the boat better... but to make me enjoy my time on her more because the anxiety is relieved. For instance, my anchor has held in conditions I didn't expect it too, but I am buying one of these new-fangled anchors, and new chain, and rode... just so I know its new gear, and I can trust it more. Then I won't need to sleep in the cockpit waking up at every gust to check our location.

Unlimited towing insurance is like a really big anchor... it lets me sleep better at night.
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  #16  
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I just renewed my BoatUS membership and for the membership fee and unlimited towing in freshwater areas...$57. Great deal for peace of mind.
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  #17  
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The unlimited towing coverage travels with the insured, from boat-to-boat, so that, if you're crewing on someone else's boat, and it has a mechanical problem or runs aground, it's covered. I have unlimited coverage, and have never used it on my boat, but had to use it two years ago, when I was on a friend's boat that grounded. (He was really happy that I had it!)
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  #18  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
The unlimited towing coverage travels with the insured, from boat-to-boat, so that, if you're crewing on someone else's boat, and it has a mechanical problem or runs aground, it's covered. I have unlimited coverage, and have never used it on my boat, but had to use it two years ago, when I was on a friend's boat that grounded. (He was really happy that I had it!)
Thats good to know, but how did you do it? Do you have BoatUS towing, or another company? From the BoatUS site (http://www.boatus.com/towing/guide/faq.asp#10) it appears that the only way they will tow the boat is if the member is on a boat they own, or captaining a boat they don't own and the owner is not present. Did the towing company just not ask who the owner was? Do you have to provide proof of ownership ever?
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  #19  
Old 07-08-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticGringo View Post
Thats good to know, but how did you do it? Do you have BoatUS towing, or another company? From the BoatUS site (http://www.boatus.com/towing/guide/faq.asp#10) it appears that the only way they will tow the boat is if the member is on a boat they own, or captaining a boat they don't own and the owner is not present. Did the towing company just not ask who the owner was? Do you have to provide proof of ownership ever?
When you need the tow, you call the BoatUS 1-800 number, tell them where you are, give them your BoatUS member number and your phone number - they call the tow boat operator, who then calls you to find out where you really are.
I had a friend move my boat from a marina down in Puerto Isabella (I was 500 miles away at the time) to a boatyard for some work. He ran hard aground at high tide - BoatUS handled it without any issues.
Join BoatUS and get the unlimited towing - you'll sleep better.
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  #20  
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Yeah, I have it... and I do sleep better knowing that I do. Just wonder how long till they start making "Are you the owner? Can you show proof?" a part of the questions they ask. Their site is pretty clear about being a guest on someone else's boat does not let you use your insurance.

But, I won't tell if you don't tell. Shhh.
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