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Old 02-10-2016, 08:15 PM   #21
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I do have the towing endorsement on my Capt Lic. And until you have specifically asked your insurer if you and your tow are covered it would be unwise to assume that coverage is provided. Most likely, due to other companies providing that service, you are not covered. Why would your assurer assume liability for another vessell at your behest ???
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:01 PM   #22
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Seriously?

How many of you guys grew up towing skiers? then towing your dinghy, then using your dinghy to tow your own boat back after some mishap? I am sure that identifies most of you. So what is this cr*p about now being shy?

If someone needs a tow and you are capable and have the gear, what is your problem. We are bound by the universal law of the sea to lend assistance. If that means you should tow, then you should tow, unless you can't.

I have refused many times, because I didn't like the conditions, the guy wanting the tow wasn't in any real distress and help, ie a can of gas, would get him going and was on its way. But where the need was legitimate, I was, and will be again, ready to hook him up and get him to safety.

Get real.
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:21 PM   #23
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What he said :-)
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:21 PM   #24
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Greetings,
Mr. kol. Don't forget we're mostly talking about rendering assistance in the land of litigation where people are hesitant to get involved for fear of being sued. Good Samaritan law aside if one renders assistance where there is not imminent peril AND "something" happens, one could be out a lot of money.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:29 PM   #25
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Exactly RT. If Koliver and Doug want to tow a guy home, go for it. As recreational boaters they are not expected to know any better, and as good samaritans they will "probably" not be held liable when something bad happens. Like when the young coasties in there big steel cruiser offered to tow a sailboat back to Sabine Pass. There main concern was that they didnt want to be liable for pulling a cleat out of the sailboat so they let the owner attach the tow line. He put the snap swivel on the headstay. When they made the turn into the pass the snap went to the top of the mast and pulled the boat over. It sank. USCG was found liable. But, knock yourself out. Towing your own boat or your dinghy or a skier is completely different. The only thing that is required of you as a person in a boat on the water, when comunicating with a disabled boat, is to make sure no one is hurt or in danger and that they have food and water. If it will in no way endanger your boat or people you "may" render assistance. Best to call the USCG, give the location and wait for a reply.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:00 PM   #26
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Seriously?

How many of you guys grew up towing skiers? then towing your dinghy, then using your dinghy to tow your own boat back after some mishap? I am sure that identifies most of you. So what is this cr*p about now being shy?

If someone needs a tow and you are capable and have the gear, what is your problem. We are bound by the universal law of the sea to lend assistance. If that means you should tow, then you should tow, unless you can't.

I have refused many times, because I didn't like the conditions, the guy wanting the tow wasn't in any real distress and help, ie a can of gas, would get him going and was on its way. But where the need was legitimate, I was, and will be again, ready to hook him up and get him to safety.

Get real.
Well said although I should say we tend to not have the problems with litigation here to you have in the US. Good seamanship whether we are professionals or not should be the order of the day.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:35 PM   #27
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Seriously?
Get real.
The good news is; our workload should be greatly reduced.

Henceforth when a stars and bars is seen flapping arms from knees to overhead, or swiping a hoisted paddle to and fro, we can nod politely, raise a Crown Royal in their direction and carry on.

Oh, and nylon scares me as a tow line.
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Old 02-11-2016, 02:19 AM   #28
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The good news is; our workload should be greatly reduced.

Henceforth when a stars and bars is seen flapping arms from knees to overhead, or swiping a hoisted paddle to and fro, we can nod politely, raise a Crown Royal in their direction and carry on.

Oh, and nylon scares me as a tow line.
Nylon scares you, but not as an anchor line? Doubled up 1/2" nylon, rated at 7,000 lbs single, and loaded so lightly that I can untie the knots with my bare hands after the tow? Not much to be scared of there I would say...
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Old 02-11-2016, 06:20 AM   #29
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Nylon is common for smaller towlines, used it all the time in the assistance/salvage business.


Towing is never required by the "law of the sea" only prevention of drowning.


Litigation unfortunately has become the universal decider more than anything....remember in a tow...just because you know what you are doing doesn't mean the other guy does. Right after saving the guy and his boat...be ready to be sued for some ridiculous thing.
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:15 AM   #30
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I have towed others 3 times. All with my previous boat an old 34 Mainship.
2 were friends and I had no problem towing them, they would have done the same for me.
When towing one of them I had no choice but to go right thru the middle of Watch Hill 15 sailboat race...I really enjoyed that part.

The 3rd was no one that I knew. They were drifting rapidly toward a sand bar and I actually only held them off until towboat US got there.
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:33 AM   #31
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TOW slow , 5K or kess has little strain.

A cruiser that moves at 5 K and burns perhaps 3GPH will be using perhaps 45 HP , in theory 60 is possible if the engine were matched to the vessel.

A really great prop setup can usually put 20 lbs of thrust in the water per HP at cruise speed...

So in the worst case it tales 1200 lbs of pull to drag the dead boat., probably less.

To stay safe use thin line ,,say 1/2 in that will part of there is something unusual happening , like the tow sinking.

If the tow boat was even of modest construction,, a bridle with 600 lbs on a cleat should be fine.
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:37 AM   #32
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I think a point that may not have been mentioned is to remember that if you tow someone, it'll be much easier while there's plenty of water around, but doing so into a marina is another matter altogether. It's always an option to tow someone to the safety of an anchorage and then let the Pros finish the job.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:45 AM   #33
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Thanks everyone for the great opinions and advice. I should have mentioned that this would be for cruising in the Sea of Cortez, Baja area. There is no SeaTow or Vessel Assist in that part of Mexico. I do like the suggestion of just towing the vessel to a safe anchorage if conditions are not ideal. Where I cruise, if your vessel is disabled you are really screwed unless someone lends you a hand (tow).

Just trying to think ahead so that if the situation arises I can act responsibly and properly. I hope to never have to tow somebody or to require a tow myself. Thanks again for the great information.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:33 PM   #34
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It's really good that you are thinking about it, you want to already have a plan for the eventuality if it does come up. Trying to figure out what to do in the stress of the moment leaves a lot to be desired. Keep it simple...
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:53 PM   #35
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Just trying to think ahead so that if the situation arises I can act responsibly and properly. I hope to never have to tow somebody or to require a tow myself.
Bill, there is not one right way to tow or be towed but lots to consider in advance of either position and let's remove buddies busted ski boat on a calm lake from the equation.

In boating, rarely are two situations identical and towing is probably more one off than anything else. Boats, tow and towed can be vastly different; sea conditions and locale are different; tow propulsion can be different with single, twins I/O and now pods; hardware (bitts, cleats, chocks and bow eyes) their backing and placement can all be factors.

Just as important, crew are different and the crew of a towed boat, unless communications are very clear, can make or break a tow. Unless you can convince that family of 6 to not wander all over the towed boat, sometimes it's prudent to bring all but the captain aboard your own. In anything but ideal conditions, use of PFDs is wise.

If a nylon hawser, stretched to the limit, separates or worse, sucks a cleat out, you have a nasty projectile and that is why I stay away from using it as a tow line. A nylon bridle, ok, but not a 100 foot hawser.

In close quarters, like a marina and depending on currents etc. a hip tow can be very effective.

None of this should deter you from getting involved especially where you are now. Many, many areas are without nearby paid to pull guys.

And...always, after any tow, examine your lines for chafe.

As AKDoug says in post #34, good on you for thinking ahead and yes, keep it simple.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:53 PM   #36
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Understanding your preparation for an event that you would prefer not to happen you may as well go ahead and draw up a waiver document that provides indemnification to you and your vessel. Finding witnesses might be difficult though.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:56 PM   #37
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Furthermore be aware of lighting requirements if towing at night.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:58 PM   #38
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I use both back cleats, and build a weight equalizing harness with a rescue pulley centered to distribute the load equally to both cleats. I keep the harness fairly short, it's purpose being to equally load the cleats, and use 150' of 1/2" nylon line with plenty of stretch. By the time it passes back and forth to the pulley you have about a 30' harness.

I have the towed vessel use it's line, preferably nylon with plenty of stretch, that way they can adjust the length of the tow depending on swell conditions. If the towed vessel can "cast off" the tow as you approach the dock, that's the best way to disconnect. If you time it right they will have enough inertia to get to the dock, approach upwind when possible letting the wind push the vessel to the dock.

I wouldn't tow in any kind of sea but minimal, or any kind of swell but long interval and moderate. I towed a Nordic Tug 32' this past summer, and made almost my normal speed at the same rpms. We had to lengthen the tow line to avoid "pulsing" from the swells, and asked every vessel in our area to respect the tow and to reduce their wakes for us.

I have training with a fire department rescue team at building weight equalizing systems, so it's an easy thing for me to improvise. I wouldn't tow from a single point unless that point was built for it. You can forget about towing at any speed but displacement, it's not going to happen.

Don't tow unless you have to! Don't tow any further than you have to, to the closest protected anchorage is the best call.
That's clearly a photo-shopped picture.. Everyone knows nordic tugs don't break down.
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Old 02-11-2016, 02:18 PM   #39
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Furthermore be aware of lighting requirements if towing at night.
Fair enough, I suppose, but how many rec vessels are so equipped?
Towing Vessel < 50m (tow < 200m)
Aft

Forward

Starboard
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Old 02-11-2016, 02:29 PM   #40
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I always maintain temporary and portable lights for just such purposes.
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