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  #1  
Old 03-25-2013
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Towing options in upper Chesapeake

Hey folks,

I'm currently re-upping my various coverages for the year. My insurance went up 20% (no claim,) but I found another provider that will actually cover me for a substantial discount to what I paid last year!

The new company is offering $300 coverage for towing, for an additional $17 in the annual premium. I currently have the basic $50 from BoatUS.

The options I'm considering are: stick with just the $50 from BoatUS, buy the additional $300 from the new insurance provider, or by the "unlimited towing" from BoatUS for $125.

I very rarely get more than an hour or two from home (though if I'm that far there will probably be a closer marina.) I might venture out a little further this year, maybe over to Rock Hall.

The problem is, I really have no idea what the typical "incident" costs in this area of the upper Chesapeake (Rock Creek / Baltimore.) BoatUS has a nightmare scenario showing how much a tow could cost, but I don't know if that has any relation to what I am actually likely to face.

Any advice on the typical tow for this day sailor on a 27' sailboat? Thoughts on the prudent coverage?
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Old 03-26-2013
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Towing options in upper Chesapeake

Towing insurance can be thought of as peace of mind insurance. It is a very individual thing that is very hard for us to advise you on. It is very true that any tow will end up costing mega bucks as the tower charges from the time they leave their dock to the time they return and all points in between. Then they have to find you out on the sea (We are that white sailboat up by where the river meets the bay) which can take a long long time to do. It's not that easy. So if you anticipate needing / using tows, the unlimited is very economical.

However, I find it is about how resilient and capable you are. You might need a tow to dislodge you from a shoal or because your engine failed. I find that in the very rare occasion we have gotten our 5' of draft stuck in a shoal, we have been lucky enough to have had the kind assistance of a power boater who pulled us off or have been able to kedge ourselves off in Fairlee Creek's entrance channel. If you have a mechanical problem, you rely upon your ability to repair at sea or sail to port. Diesel engines are pretty foolproof and you need to be able to change filters and bleed the engine under way in rough conditions as air and clogs are the #1 cause for breakdown. Gas is more complicated but, again, a lot depends on your ability to manage what occurs out there.

Since you say you never venture far from your home port, it would seem you really don't need much but it all depends upon your confidence level in being able to handle issues on your own. You are, after all, your best safety net. But $125 is not too expensive for piece of mind protection and that is what the insurers are all about, right?

I too sail out of Rock Creek and love the areas around for cruising destinations.

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Old 03-26-2013
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Re: Towing options in upper Chesapeake

Having just picked up the insurance for this season myself; I'm in the same boat as scratchee.
The CSR I talked to gave me the low-down on their 300 dollar ( I *had* opted for the $500) tow ins. He told me to drop the entire package and spend the $$ elsewhere. It reduced the annual cost of the policy by quite a bit; almost to the point of being half of what TowBoatUS would charge for their premium service.
His logic??
Do you wish to carry lotsa cash around to pay the tow services and wait until the Ins carrier sends the check? What if the dreaded tow happens more than a couple times in that period? With SeaTow or TowUS, it's simply flash yer card and go.
I used the savings on the policy to upgrade valuation and personal goods. Only remains to join the BoatUS club and pay the TowUS fee. Premium service seems ta be the way to go...unlimited/unlimited is a good thing for a neophyte paddling about the far-North Bay !

As I understand it; tow service in the N. Bay region could be as little as $60 or so to $600 depending on how far you are from home port or repair marina. I have been told that (roughly) $160 is the average pull- off or tow fee. Use the TowUS once and it pays for itself.
True peace of mind for me.
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Old 03-26-2013
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Re: Towing options in upper Chesapeake

I bought BoatUS towing last season and ran aground in the bay near Ocean City, NJ. That incident would have cost me something like $230-$280 (sorry, I don't remember the exact figure at this point) if I didn't have the $125 insurance. Instead, as deltaten said, I just flashed my card and it was done. My new-to-me boat broke down a few days ago and had to be towed; I still haven't heard from BoatUS as to the cost of the tow, but I'm betting it will be close to the same.
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Old 03-26-2013
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Re: Towing options in upper Chesapeake

I am also in Rock Creek. Although we do travle a greater distance from home than you, we rarely have used our unlimited towing from Boat US.

I guess the question is will you ask yourself if you have a second incident this season, why didnt I get unlimited towing.

Peace of mind for me for a relatively cheap price. Cheaper than AAA for the car.
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Old 03-26-2013
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Re: Towing options in upper Chesapeake

The bill last season when I got towed would have been 895.00

8 seasons at 125 a season doesn't equal that, but it is easier to pay one year at a time.
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Old 03-26-2013
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Re: Towing options in upper Chesapeake

I, too, would have had a $800+ towing bill a few years ago and I was just outside my marina (couldn't sail into our slip). Unlimited towing from BoatUS is always factored in to our annual budget.
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Old 03-26-2013
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Re: Towing options in upper Chesapeake

I have unlimited from BoatUS. For me it's a safety issue, and a way of circumventing my natural cheapskate tendency.

I suspect that if I were to run aground or suffered an engine failure, I would take a lot of time to figure out alternatives to avoid the high towing bill. I don't want to be in a situation where I am tempted to compromise safety to avoid the bill. So by having unlimited towing, I basically eliminate the $$$ factor in that decision. My hope is that I'll call more quickly because of that, though I know I'll still look for other alternatives anyway, but hopefully not spend as much time doing it. For instance, my outboard motor failed once last summer (fuel hose tore open), and I duct taped it back together rather than call for a tow. But I was only 1/2 mile from my marina.

But I like to think that for something more severe (or further from my home marina) I would call without hesitation.
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Old 03-26-2013
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Re: Towing options in upper Chesapeake

Boat/US will tell you that the average towing bill is $650. I can think of four times I had to call for a tow in the years I have been a Boat/US member (three as a delivery skipper, once on my boat). None was less than $1500. One was well over $3000.

Unlimited towing insurance is the best deal going. Paying for my two towing policies is one of the few checks I am happy to pay.
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Old 03-26-2013
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Re: Towing options in upper Chesapeake

An acquaintance of mine blew his engine (lost a connecting rod) in the Central Bahamas, had unlimited BoatUS towing insurance, got towed all the way back to Florida .... BoatUS covered the entire charge.
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