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Old 06-25-2016, 11:09 AM   #21
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"You could call this towing... but I do not feel it is to be thought of as a real tow - which I see as a boat weighing over 5K lbs... to 30K + lbs."




FWIW - I have found that towing a 3,000#'s plus 'dinghy' at 17 knots loads the tow bridle much more than towing a 20,000 boat at 5-6 knots in an emergency.
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:15 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
With this:
And - what is "this". Not same as in avatar... I believe.
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:37 AM   #23
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About 150' of 5/8" three braid nylon for backup anchor in lazarette. Used it to tow others several times.
I had a second anchor rode in my sailboat that would have been available if the need arose. However, we were always able to use another more readily available line when I did need to tow.

I don't have a second anchor rode on my current boat, much less a second anchor. Both are something that I should take care of.
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Old 06-27-2016, 01:57 PM   #24
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I would throw a line to pull a vessel away from a hazard. The previous owner of our boat burned up his twin disk tranny pulling a boat in the Bahamas off a shoal. He suffered the $10,000.00 replacement cost. With two major towing services available in most areas, the boat needing a tow is going to have to call them. Not me. And we won't even start to discuss the liability issues. Sound insensitive? You probably have never been involved in a law suit.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:12 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by cardude01 View Post
Aren't you required to tow someone in who is in distress?

20 years ago, on our first trip in our first "big" boat (a 24' cabin cruiser with a GM 350V8 I/O), my wife and I got flagged down by some folks on a disabled 18' fishing boat. We were about 5 miles from South Padre Island after a two day trip down the ICW, and we were ready to get there. I called the Coast Guard for them, thinking they would offer them assistance, but the CG said I was required to offer assistance since they had no boat in the area. We slowly pulled them the 5 miles to SPI. We tried at first to leave the folks in their boat but they were 4 big heavy guys and gals and their boat was not pulling well, so we eventually put them all in our boat. It worked out well in the end-- they gave us a lift to the grocery store and helped us arrange a slip since they knew the area.

I have not towed anyone using our current boat. I have a poly dingy tow line, but not sure it's big enough to tow a big boat, and don't think I would really know how to do that correctly. That would be my worry-- causing more harm than good.
No you are not required to tow, just stand by to prevent loss of life, not property.

Many people are injured every year from inexperienced towers or inexperienced boaters trying to help.

Even more than injuries is damage. Some try and bring the boat into a confined area and wind up damaging more than just their and the towed boat. Be careful what you think your insurance will cover. I firmly believe in assisting others but taking ZERO chances...that is what assistance towing or the USCG are for.

While it is pretty easy, it is only easy when everything goes smoothly...especially at the destination.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:43 PM   #26
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Ok. Good. I really don't know how to tow a big boat, and I don't really want to learn.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:50 PM   #27
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My boat was disabled in Jervis Inlet a few weeks ago after getting entangled in submerged abandoned fishing gear. No cell coverage. But I hailed a couple of passing boaters that were kind enough to standby while I contacted the coast guard, who forwarded my situation to SeaTow. That area is too deep to anchor and having them stand by gave us a sense of security in case we were to drift into the wall of the fjord, or something else. Anyway, we got the fishing gear untangled and called off the assistance, but we appreciated the two other boaters standing by during the ordeal. I offered to buy them a beer that evening but they were headed to a different location.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:51 PM   #28
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I would throw a line to pull a vessel away from a hazard. The previous owner of our boat burned up his twin disk tranny pulling a boat in the Bahamas off a shoal. He suffered the $10,000.00 replacement cost. With two major towing services available in most areas, the boat needing a tow is going to have to call them. Not me. And we won't even start to discuss the liability issues. Sound insensitive? You probably have never been involved in a law suit.
I see your side of things. But keep in mind not every situation is going to be the same as what you described. The boat i was in no danger of damaging any equipment and we cut them free at the mouth of the harbour so we could make the turn safely. Now pulling one off the rocks like you described would give me serious pause. Imo a task like that is best left to the pro's.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:57 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by drb1025 View Post
My boat was disabled in Jervis Inlet a few weeks ago after getting entangled in submerged abandoned fishing gear. No cell coverage. But I hailed a couple of passing boaters that were kind enough to standby while I contacted the coast guard, who forwarded my situation to SeaTow. That area is too deep to anchor and having them stand by gave us a sense of security in case we were to drift into the wall of the fjord, or something else. Anyway, we got the fishing gear untangled and called off the assistance, but we appreciated the two other boaters standing by during the ordeal. I offered to buy them a beer that evening but they were headed to a different location.

This I would do. Stand by until the pros show up. Especially if there's a chance for free beer.
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Old 06-27-2016, 04:04 PM   #30
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Every boat ought to carry poly towline. It is cheap, it doesn't stretch, it floats, it dries quickly, it weighs little. It can save your crewman if he goes over. It is less likely to get caught in the props. If you are the boat broken down, it can get you towed. It can stop your runaway dinghy, or someone else's. And when you find a drifting boat you can tow it. Not nylon, poly, and don't skimp on the length. It's an investment in the future. It's a no brainier. And I own a towing business.
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Old 06-27-2016, 04:40 PM   #31
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Every boat ought to carry poly towline. It is cheap, it doesn't stretch, it floats, it dries quickly, it weighs little. It can save your crewman if he goes over. It is less likely to get caught in the props. If you are the boat broken down, it can get you towed. It can stop your runaway dinghy, or someone else's. And when you find a drifting boat you can tow it. Not nylon, poly, and don't skimp on the length. It's an investment in the future. It's a no brainier. And I own a towing business.
I have about 500' of 3/8" Samson MFP Floatline. While I use it for painters for my kayaks, tow rope for my RIB, and primarily for a stern tie, I don't think I would trust it as a tow rope for any decent sized boat.
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Old 06-27-2016, 05:58 PM   #32
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My boat isn't equipped to tow a boat without damaging the boat's paint due to the location of the stern cleats. The towline would scrape off the gunwale's paint.

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Old 06-27-2016, 06:01 PM   #33
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My boat isn't equipped to tow a boat without damaging the boat's paint due to the location of the stern cleats. The towline would scrape off the gunwale's paint.
In my boat, I could use my Port, aft hawsehole to tow but would need to remove the swim step staple on that side. Easy and quick to do however.
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:16 PM   #34
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I carry a 150' and a 200' 3/4" three-strand for the situation where I need assistance and the other boat does not have a line suitable.

We have towed several boats but most recently came upon a 20' runabout with four guys waving like crazy. We circled back and asked what was wrong. Their outboard would not start. None of them had a working cell phone - REALLY? They did not have a VHF radio aboard. We asked if we could call a towing service for them, and they said no, they were not members. In the end, they said Thank you and said they would wait for someone else who would tow them into local beach party spot for the night.
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:43 PM   #35
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I carry a 150' and a 200' 3/4" three-strand for the situation where I need assistance and the other boat does not have a line suitable.

We have towed several boats but most recently came upon a 20' runabout with four guys waving like crazy. We circled back and asked what was wrong. Their outboard would not start. None of them had a working cell phone - REALLY? They did not have a VHF radio aboard. We asked if we could call a towing service for them, and they said no, they were not members. In the end, they said Thank you and said they would wait for someone else who would tow them into local beach party spot for the night.

You did exactly the right thing.
When the other boater is too cheap to buy assistance it is not your responsibility to carry the liability.
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Old 06-27-2016, 08:29 PM   #36
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Blue line with center eye tied into it and tied onto to both side chocks is for clip-on tow line to our Crestliner runabout. I also have a short length of 1" line aboard to place into same position if needed and plenty of 3/4" rope to be used as an elongated tow line, if required. I don't mind towing our own boats... but very reticent to tow anyone else's due to liability factors. Happy to stick around for assistance or to call for a professional tow boat.

Happy Tow Daze! - Art
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:29 PM   #37
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My CHB came with what I assume to be a line for the spare Danforth as it is shackled on each end. Its about 5/8ths line so could be used for a towline, its pretty long too. If you ever have to tow someone let out all the line you can. Its less easily parted. If sloppy a pc of chain near the tow or even in the middle will help as well to keep the strain down.
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:52 AM   #38
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"I always ask them to provide the tow line.
If I want to drop the tow, I can without losing my rope."

Damn good advice as some folks think if you tow then out of danger you are obliged to be a taxi service.

I have towed boats to a safe anchorage , after that its still their problem.
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Old 08-11-2016, 01:28 PM   #39
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I towed a couple guys back to the launch ramp this past monday. We used their anchor line, which was not ideal but I took it slow and easy. I was returning back to Solomon's from Crisfield (both in MD) in what turned out to be a bumpy afternoon. In the mouth of the Patuxent were 2 men in a 12'-14' aluminum boat with the outboard tilted up and one guy inspecting it and the other started waving a paddle as I approached. Winds were 10-15 knots and blowing them directly out of the mouth of the river. Their anchor was a collapsible grapnel with no chain and insufficient rode to even reach the bottom. If they got lucky it would have caught a couple miles downwind off a point (little cove point) but most likely they would have ended up on the eastern shore without assistance. I'm not sure if they realized the danger they were in, the bay had about a short period chop of 1.5'-2' out in the channel. They had a working phone and I could have stood by and advised them to call for an assistance tow but I just didn't want to.

I respect the assistance towing industry and don't go out of my way to take their business away but I am still in the habit of boating the way I grew up with. I appreciate the significant overhead of standing at the ready to assist and the cost for everyone goes down the more they are utilized but it just isn't how things were done when/where I was brought up. Boaters used to help each other out all of the time, the proliferation of assistance towing is possibly a bit of chicken vs. the egg but the services weren't around in the areas I started boating in back in the 80's (I'm young relative to this board). There was no one else to do it, so you did it yourself and if it was beyond your capabilities the Coast Guard stepped in to protect life and limb and the vessel was salvaged later. I recognize there is a huge difference in towing a 19' runabout and a 45' trawler. I worked through school in the charter fishing industry and we towed each other so I have some experience towing larger boats. I also race sailboats like others on the board do (or used to) and frequently the smaller one designs don't have auxiliaries so the larger boats will grab a sport boat in tow and pull them back to the club if racing is cancelled due to lack of wind, they are generally rewarded with a round of luke-cold beer. It has been years (~25) but the last time I was towed I didn't have to ask, we had the doghouse up on our I/O and a sailor swung buy and offered to help.

Part of the enjoyment of boating is the learning and testing yourself with new experiences and challenges. Knowing and practicing boat handling to include helping others is part of seamanship in my mind. I have ungrounded 40' sailboats with an runabout by pulling on a halyard and a breast line simultaneously and a couple of weeks ago pulled a cruising partner's 26' walkaround out of 1' of water he ran into at ~20 knots (his wife wasn't thrilled about his oversight). I get similar satisfaction from backing a single screw into a slip in a crosswind or nailing a leeward rounding while a competitor shrimps their kite.

So on Monday my wife would have preferred to be back at the dock an hour earlier but hopefully my sense of naval propriety will be absorbed by my 4 and 6 year old girls and eventually my 11 month old son.


Note: I boat in the land of soft bottoms and would never tow a boat out of shallow water until I was certain it wasn't taking on water. Our forgiving bottom rarely rips off keel sumps but does mangle unprotected running gear.
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Old 08-26-2016, 09:46 AM   #40
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I am one to help. A lot I have read is for liability on the water to CYA. You would want someone to throw you a line to prevent you to be of any blame? I would be prepared to tow or be towed myself. I'm that kind of kind helpful guy. I believe in karma. I would be one to help and probably get sued by some money digging person who knows the law better then me and will find any fault in me assisting. I have towed a few boats on my local lake with my lil boat.

I would treat each situation as it is just like my job no two calls are alike and just have to approach it with knowledge and what you know your limitations are.

As I understand you can or should assist if it does not put your vessel or crew in jeopardy. I know I would do what I can.
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