I have experienced the good attitude you both speak of. One time while stuck below an inoperable lock, we were hailed from a workboat off the tow pushed up on a nearby sandbar and invited to a bonfire dinner. And skippers never fail to respond to calls. Tow skippers want things to go smoothly - I just wish I could always understand some of their marble-mouthed transmissions.
I am a deep sea sailor with a now-lapsed USCG unlimited tonnage license, and I have listened to the King's English slaughtered all over the world by foreigners on the radio, but nothing beats the occasional garble heard on our our waterways. I am sure the other tow skippers catch the gist of what the fellow is saying but some of the rest of use who are in waters new to us miss the landmarks they use for reference. Mile markers seem to be seldom spoken of in my experience.