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  #1  
Old 10-22-2008
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What is SeaTow prepared to do?

When I can't sleep I think up scenario's.
So I'm sailing in Long Island Sound where we have very good SeaTow availability. Usually takes them about 30 minutes to pop on over. Never had to call them myself yet but we get to listen to the drama on the radio.

Something bad happens. Hit a log and punch a hole in the hull. Through hull lets go or shaft falls out or some other sinking event. Yes I'll try to plug the hole somehow but who knows how successfull I'll be.

What exactly are they prepared to do?
Do they carry pumps?
Do they have flotation?
I know they can tow but what if I'm going down too fast for that?

What exactly can I expect. I'll call to find out the company line but maybe you guys have seen what actually happens.

I'm pretty sure the Cost Guard just picks me up and lets the boat sink so maybe ST can save the boat but what can they do in reality?

Needless to say if my life in in danger I don't care about the boat. But if the weather is normal and I have a choice it would be nice to know what to do.
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Old 10-22-2008
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Not sure about ST but around here the Vessel Assist boats carry pumps and have flotation available (not sure they carry all the time). They have rescued a lot of boats that were sinking, burning, etc. There is a pretty interesting blog that I read from one of the VA captains here in Friday Harbor, you can get a pretty good idea of their capabilities by reading back through the entries.

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Old 10-22-2008
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Just be aware that if your boat is actively in the process of sinking, it isn't a tow job anymore—it is salvage, and the price just shot up astronomically. If you don't have salvage coverage on your insurance, you will be in for a very, very rude awakening. Also, try and get a signed contract stating what the salvage fees are going to be if you can before they proceed. Of course, if the boat is really in trouble, the contract is a moot point.

Most of the SeaTow or TowBoatUS boats will have dewatering pumps and flotation bags aboard. It is how they make the big money.
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Old 10-22-2008
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I don't suppose the statement "You can keep the boat to defray expenses" would fly??
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Old 10-22-2008
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I have a friend Stationed at Eatons neck near huntington and he says that the coast guard cant even tow you only if its life threatening in fear that seatow will sue them but i doubt seatow wouldnt be prepared with that stuff and if not them the police or fd or someone should have it
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Old 10-22-2008
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Quote:
Do they carry pumps?
Do they have flotation?
Around here, it's yes to both.

On the other hand, while I was HARD aground at Smith Island a few months ago, I started thinking if I were to call them would they come out as it would have been several hours for them to get there. I was lucky and was able to find a retired waterman who was glad to help us.
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Old 10-23-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Most of the SeaTow or TowBoatUS boats will have dewatering pumps and flotation bags aboard. It is how they make the big money.
That's news to me. I thought that if you have a SeaTow membership you were by contract in a help for hire situation and SeaTow could only claim salvage for non-contract customers.
I'll give them a call.
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Old 10-23-2008
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I found this statement:

"The second element of a salvage claim is that the salvor’s actions must be voluntary. Your local fire department, for example, would not be eligible for a salvage claim. Nor would the U.S. Coast Guard, as their job is to provide assistance. Yet the U.S. Navy is an eligible salvor. In addition, if you subscribe to a Sea Tow or Boat/U.S. towing plan, they will not be eligible for salvage awards. The second element of a salvage claim is that the salvor’s actions must be voluntary. Your local fire department, for example, would not be eligible for a salvage claim. Nor would the U.S. Coast Guard, as their job is to provide assistance. Yet the U.S. Navy is an eligible salvor. In addition, if you subscribe to a Sea Tow or Boat/U.S. towing plan, they will not be eligible for salvage awards. "

Florida Lawyer News - Salvage verses Traditional Tow Services at Sea

Of course I would rather see it in the SeaTow contract.
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Old 10-23-2008
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I'm not sure how it works if you have a SeaTow membership, but if you don't and you request a pump or flotation bags...it is definitely a salvage situation at that point.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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Old 10-23-2008
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sailingdog it looks like the SeaTow website agrees with you not the lawyer.

Sea Tow Boston Membership Guidelines

Hard Aground: A vessel grounded on rocks, ledge, shoal or otherwise in a perilous marine situation. Assistance to a vessel hard aground constitutes a salvage operation and will usually be covered under a vessels hull insurance or liability policy.

Soft Aground: For the purposes of the Sea Tow membership program a vessel is considered soft aground when the vessel's hull is touching the bottom and the vessel is not in peril, not beached, has water surrounding on all sides, has some movement, is not in contact with rocks, coral, reefs, or any other obstruction that may damage the vessel, is in calm water, free from wakes, surf, and waves greater than 1' and the vessel can be removed from aground with one towboat in less than 15 minutes.
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