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Old 07-31-2015, 12:54 PM   #1
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My Tow Boat US experience

When my transmission got jammed and I thought I had something wrapped around my prop shaft I called for a tow using my Boat US towing insurance. I figured a sleek tow boat would be there shortly after my call so I wasn't worried. I grabbed a beer and kicked back. 😄

It took about half an hour for the Boat US rep to pinpoint my location, and then she informed me they had no boats in that area. She said she would call me back and check other towing companies. I figured maybe Sea Tow. She called back and said no towing companies at all in that area. I was only about 5 miles from the Sell Morgan fuel dock so thought that was strange, but she said she would call "vessel assist" and get back with me. Thirty minutes later a deputy with the local Sheriff office called and said they don't do boat assists unless lives were in danger. I told him I was not in danger, just in a busy barge canal. He apologized and said he couldn't help at this time.

It had been about two hours since I first called Boat US and it was not looking very good for my Boat US assist, so I quit drinking beer and started calling around. I got ahold of a diver from Abbyville LA who said he could be there in two hours. Would be about $800-900 to get there with two guys and clear the prop. I said come on.

While I was doing this the Boat US rep was calling the Coast Guard and also yelling at the local Sheriff because they would not help me. I know that because the deputy who called and told me the Boat US rep was screaming at him. I told him I was sorry and that I had arranged for some help. The Coast Guard also called me multiple times to make sure I was OK.

Turned out there was nothing on the prop but the trans had locked up in gear, but the divers were able to tow me in with their boat.

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I just thought that was an interesting "towing insurance" experience. I was pretty much out in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:21 PM   #2
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Any help from your marine policy? Mine has a limited amount.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:43 PM   #3
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I need to submit the invoice to them. Hope they cover it.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:22 PM   #4
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I would think that Boat US should cover the tow. We had a similar experience with dead batteries anchored in Taylor Bayou. First the dispatcher had no clue where we were even giving her the GPS coordinates. After a while she came back and told us the only available tow boats where in Seabrook and Lake Charles. We were about half way between the two, about 75 nm either way. We were totally dead in the water, no coffee, no microwave and with two electric heads, guess what? They finally found an independent out Port Arthur who came out and jumped off the genset and the engines. Took about three hours.


We had just bought the boat in Beaumont and were bringing her home and some friends had wanted to go along for the ride. They haven't been on the boat since.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:25 PM   #5
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I also have Boat US Tow, let us know how that turns out. Hope the transmission linkage is fixed.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:30 PM   #6
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I would think that Boat US should cover the tow...
They will reimburse you, if authorized. I'd push it. This is from their web site:

Even if you are boating in an area that is not supported by a TowBoatUS or VESSEL ASSIST Service Provider, BoatUS will reimburse your towing service up to your service level: $2,500 for Unlimited Towing, $3,000 for Unlimited Gold Towing and $5,000 for Commercial Towing, when authorized by the BoatUS 24-hour Dispatch Center.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:42 PM   #7
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BobH: NO COFFEE??? As a former tow boater I am absolutely sure that any passing tow boat would have provided you some Community Coffee. Boats run on Diesel fuel and coffee.
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Old 07-31-2015, 04:11 PM   #8
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Sea Tow is similar in that if they can't service you...they are supposed to help and reimburse you up to $5000 or $200 something an hour if they can't get to you.

Screaming at the Deputy was a mistake...LE and other government agencies are strictly prohibited unless an emergency or unusual situation.

It is the trick with boating....roll the dice on how much redundancy you want to live with.

I am hoping the further you get from civilization...the more help you can get from other boaters.

If in a similar situation, call the USCG which will radio on CH 16 a MARINE ASSISTANCE REQUEST BROADCAST - a MARB. Usually someone will respond after awhile as if they are near....they either feel obligated or if properly licensed, can make some good bucks.

Just make sure you clear it with your towing and/or regular insurance first for reimbursement.
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Old 07-31-2015, 05:00 PM   #9
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BobH: NO COFFEE??? As a former tow boater I am absolutely sure that any passing tow boat would have provided you some Community Coffee. Boats run on Diesel fuel and coffee.
dan
At that point we would have rather used their head.
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Old 07-31-2015, 05:17 PM   #10
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My Tow Boat US experience

So I should have called the USCG after the TowBoatUS folks struck out?

Part of the problem, as usual, was I didn't know what the hell I was doing. 😄

It all worked out fine, but the TowBoatUS system was a little "clunky" I thought.

Transmission is holding up. Finally got the linkage released back at the dock. Flushed the oil a few times and it seems OK so far.

I'm in the Port Author area, so I'm finally back in Texas. Been on this boat almost three weeks! Starting to lose it! 😜
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:07 PM   #11
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Ask Towboat if calling the USCG for a MARB and accepting is OK...or ask them to call the USCG for you and see what happens.

You can do a self MARB if you wanted to...but the USCG usually has better reach and comes across as more legit.

The main deal with the towing companies...they get first crack at solving your problem...after that...they have to do what is going to work.

If at any time the situation changes...danger goes up, weather deteriorates, batteries start hreatening communications, health issues...notify the USCG immediately and now they have more leverage to help.
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:49 PM   #12
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My Tow Boat US experience

Good info. I'm def leaning some things on this trip.

1. Boat US is not a panacea.

2. The Mississippi locks are a bitch.

3. The actual Mississippi is a bitch when she's at flood stage.

4. Boats break-- often. And at bad times.

5. Wives doesn't want to feel unsafe on the boat in big waves.

6. It takes forever to get from FL to Rockport.

7. Boat repair yards are very expensive and sometimes they are not very good.

8. Cajuns are cool.

9. Giant engine rooms are awesome (or so I've heard).

10. I'm too old to sleep/sweat in hot humid weather with no AC.

11. Generators and cold AC are a gift from the Gods.

12. Anchoring correctly is hard.

13. Tying up to a random barge at dusk on the ICW and not getting run off all night is kind of like a High School "getting away with stuff" flashback.

15. Cold beer is good!

16. Barge captains are cool as hell.

17. Female lock operators can be a PITA.




😄😄

😳
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:59 PM   #13
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Hang in there, like you said, you are in Tx. now. That used to be the highlight of my trips in the old days because that was where Blue Bell Ice Cream was available. Alas now its not available anywhere.
One caution on those random barges, please do not tie to a "red flag", liquid carrying barge, even an empty one. Could be dangerous if you start up your grill, stove, etc..

safe travels
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:07 PM   #14
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Hang in there, like you said, you are in Tx. now. That used to be the highlight of my trips in the old days because that was where Blue Bell Ice Cream was available. Alas now its not available anywhere.
One caution on those random barges, please do not tie to a "red flag", liquid carrying barge, even an empty one. Could be dangerous if you start up your grill, stove, etc..

safe travels

Rich Bass money will hopefully get Blue Bell bailed out. What a colossal mess.

Good point on the barge blowing up. I didn't think about that.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:14 PM   #15
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BoatUS should cover your diver/tow expense. Might be a quibble about getting it cleared ahead of time, but should be able to work through that.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:19 PM   #16
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Tow probably...assistance towers usually charge for real divers not affiliated with their company.

Our franchise policy has been...if the captain wants to jump in with mask and clear rather than tow, fine. But if the company or outside diver is used...their time is paid...not necessarily the time of the captain or boat though..


Out of Boat US service agreement....

This Towing Service Agreement becomes effective 11:59 PM on the day of payment and does not apply to: pre-existing conditions, including but not restricted to, towing after disabled vessel departs a dock or mooring; battery jump starts, dive service, and fuel delivery at a dock; towing from a repair or storage facility, for seasonal haul out or routine maintenance or for storm preparation; salvage, including but not restricted to hard groundings, or assistance requiring more than one vessel, pumps, divers, airbags or other special equipment; the cost of fuel or supplies; charges for escort, navigation assistance, search for lost vessels, retrieving anchors or other equipment; charges to repair, haul, launch, commission, decommission, moor, dock or other marina charges; U.S. or Foreign Customs Fees; when Member is a guest or paid captain on any boat; any boat used for commercial purposes; Paid Services being paid for by another company.
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:04 PM   #17
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Yea, does exclude divers. But Cardude probably would not have called a diver if a tow was available. Sounds like that was the only guy that would come out. If he got towed initially, he probably would have figured out it was a gear issue and not a fouling.

I'm still wondering about that gear. Gears rarely fix themselves...
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:09 PM   #18
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My Tow Boat US experience

Quote:
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Yea, does exclude divers. But Cardude probably would not have called a diver if a tow was available. Sounds like that was the only guy that would come out. If he got towed initially, he probably would have figured out it was a gear issue and not a fouling.

I'm still wondering about that gear. Gears rarely fix themselves...

The only folks who would come out were these divers. I told them to write up the invoice as a TOW not a dive issue. Hopefully that works.

The trans issue is kind of in a "limp in" mode IMO. Just trying to get to my dock so I can work on it on my terms. I don't think the issue is resolved either.

Ski--do you have any experience with Kanzaki transmissions? Arigato!!
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:15 PM   #19
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Well...in all fairness it was a tow...as long as the invoice is written up as a tow without broken out dive time...you are probably good if BoatUS accepts the deal at al, and it falls within the price schedule.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:18 PM   #20
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The only folks who would come out were these divers. I told them to write up the invoice as a TOW not a dive issue. Hopefully that works.

The trans issue is kind of in a "limp in" mode IMO. Just trying to get to my dock so I can work on it on my terms. I don't think the issue is resolved either.

Ski--do you have any experience with Kanzaki transmissions? Arigato!!
Cardude,

I have had a fair amount of experience over the years with Yanmar/Kanzaki transmissions. I have performed repairs on a couple of KM series, and just replaced one in my present boat due to damage from a bad shift. I found a superb source for all things Kanzaki at East Coast Marine Transmissions. Rick Neary is the go to guy and can be reached at (732) 991-0694 or by email at eastcoastmarinetransmission@gmail.com. Their team were key members of the Kanzaki service department at Mack Boring, so they know as much or more than anyone you could ever find about your transmission.

Keep an eye on the transmission lube and change it again if you have a chance. Each time you change it will help flush any debris and old (or new) metal particles, shavings, flakes etc. until you can pull and inspect it.

When you get back you can examine and check everything from the engine to the propeller nut on your own terms as you stated.

Feel free to PM me if you care to talk about this directly.
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