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Old 08-30-2013, 12:45 AM   #1
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Towing

OK I can remember "Vessel Assit" from BoatUS, what is the other towing service?

What would you all recommend for the west coast? Do they reimburse for tows when they are out of range?
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:36 AM   #2
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Sea Tow is another service. Generally the reimbursement is limited in both dollar amount and geographic area.

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Old 08-30-2013, 07:44 AM   #3
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Sea Tow up to $5000
BoatUS up to $2500 or $3000

No mater who you have..always call your service first and let them work out getting to you...there are some "limitations" unless first approved so if they negotiate the "other service" it should be clear who's paying what.

But I always recommend looking around to who is in your area and go and meet/see them. Get a feel for their real experience and quality and care of their vessels.

There are huge differences sometimes between the 2 even in one geographical area...though I think the parent companies are getting more strict with minimum operating standards.

Many cruisers on the East coast just get both...it's not worth waiting several hours for YOUR towing company when the other guy is right there and able to pull you off a sandbar on a rapidly falling tide...
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:08 AM   #4
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Many cruisers on the East coast just get both...it's not worth waiting several hours for YOUR towing company when the other guy is right there and able to pull you off a sandbar on a rapidly falling tide...
Interesting. I just assumed "my" company would call the closest towing company if I was in an area they didn't cover. But I see the logic in having both. Maybe one is closer, or one is busy with another case.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:23 AM   #5
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Your insurance policy should also have towing coverage- it's a 100% reimbursable coverage that does not limit you to any specific tow provider.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:44 AM   #6
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I'd be very careful with just assuming that insurance companies will take care of you.

If you are a cruising trawler you better have at least $2000-$3000 coverage and make darn sure that the company won't drop you after a claim or two. I don't think most will...but I have heard some 3rd party stories that I can't verify...but I would be wary and double check (in writing).

You also have to fork over the money (usually) to the towing company and get reimbursed by your insurance company...while it sounds OK...now while on your cruise you have to be out a thousand or more in cases that you don't break down/go aground near a tower and have to worry about calling/filing and collecting.

That's why most cruisers I know have assistance towing (if in areas where it's really usable) and many times both ...for a little over $300 bucks what's your piece of mind worth?
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:50 AM   #7
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I called both companies. Both companies would have to arrange a tow with a third party as there are no company tows from SF to the Columbia River, but BoatUS does have a vessel in Coos Bay OR.

Vessel Assist (west coast BoatUS) has a gold membership that covers up to $3000 and up to 50 miles offshore. One tow boat in Coos Bay.

Sea Tow has membership that covers up to $5000 and no limits offshore other than sea conditions and range of tow vessel. Nearest Sea Tow is in San Diego, so third party here too.

So I guess it comes down to customer service. Experiences?
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:22 PM   #8
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So I guess it comes down to customer service. Experiences?
I've used both, and found both to be very good at what they do. (They are also both very expensive if you do not have towing insurance -- for my money the "unlimited" towing insurance option is the best thing since sliced bread.

That said, I personally prefer Boat U.S, but only because I like their boat colors better. Something about a yellow boat that is offputting . . . :-)

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Old 08-30-2013, 12:41 PM   #9
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Sea Tow just has "one service level" for the average boater...their philosophy is that it keeps thing simple for the customer...no worrying about if it's in "your" policy or not.

If you are worried about saving a few dollars or have different needs...the BoatUS different levels of service can be useful/a tad cheaper.

Yellow is more visible than red in dim light..and Sea Tow has instituted reflective tape in the middle of their stripes.

It really boils down to...if you boat in a small area...the local tower you select should be based on how well they do/can serve you. Who has more capt's, boats, equipment? Is it in better shape? Can you get to know them so they do the little "extras" for you? etc...etc...

If you are a cruiser...you never know who might give better service...as a whole the companies are usually neck and neck (and I know a boatload of both)...so look to the areas you most likely cruise and see who has more "homeports". Even then...some franchise owners will say there is a "homeport"...OK there is a boat and trailer nearby...but rounding up a captain off hours, etc might be an issue.

Cruisers are at the mercy of where they break down/go aground I guess....
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:41 PM   #10
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If I were to base it the level of service for me, SF north, it would appear Sea Tow would be the way to go with 5K coverage and unlimited range coverage.

Regardless who I pick, almost a 100% chance it will be a third party tow becuase other than Coos Bay, these companies do not have an boats on this part of the coast.
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:51 PM   #11
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If I were to base it the level of service for me, SF north, it would appear Sea Tow would be the way to go with 5K coverage and unlimited range coverage.

Regardless who I pick, almost a 100% chance it will be a third party tow becuase other than Coos Bay, these companies do not have an boats on this part of the coast.
The for about the same price...I would go with the company that will reimburse the most.

Any doubts...call and see what else their corporate guys have to say.
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