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Old 08-08-2017, 01:52 PM   #1
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How does Boat/US Towing insurance work ?

For example, if my 65 footer ran into trouble to the point of needing towing, halfway from Charleston, SC to Hilton Head Island, SC.....would Boat/US cover the towing all the way to the destination marina on Hilton Head...or only tow it to the nearest marina....which would be in Beaufort where I'd get to pay painful transient dockage rates while the problem was being sorted out.

And what if the problem required haul out ? Would they tow it to the nearest facility that could haul a 90,000 lb yacht ? (which would be on Hilton Head....unless they backtracked to where we came from south of Charleston...which would seriously suck to have to eventually "start over" the trip at a later date ! )
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:43 PM   #2
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They may not cover your vessel at 65 feet, that is often the cuttoff for both towing companies.

They usuall will tow you to your home marina, even if in an adjacent franchise area or what ever your level of service is, 25/50 miles for port radius. But if not towing you home, they can with discretion tow you to the nearest suitable repair facility....again both companies.

I see that offshore Charleston to Hilton Head is about 60 miles or so. If you broke down exactly halfway, you might get the choice, or my guess would be the north end of Hilton Head to Scull Creek. It is quitevavways up Poet Royal till you get to a marina so some HH marinas might actually be closer.

But there is quite a bit of interpretation, sometimes it helps, sometimes not.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
They may not cover your vessel at 65 feet, that is often the cuttoff for both towing companies.
I was concerned about that as well but the gal on the phone said 65 feet is same price per year as 25 feet.... 150 bucks. Which seems odd to me but no where on their website do they mention a yacht size limit.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:18 PM   #4
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A friend of mine was towed twice from near Georgetown, SC to the Charleston area by TowBoatUS.


For the most accurate answer, contact them by email so you get their answer in writing.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WesK View Post


For the most accurate answer, contact them by email so you get their answer in writing.
Good idea
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:37 PM   #6
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It all depends on the level of towing insurance you get from Boat US.
one level is only to the nearest repair, next level back to your home port and i believe the highest level will tow you from a dock to another dock.
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:21 PM   #7
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From the Sea Tow website.... "Boats Over 65 Feet: Service is not available in all areas. If more than one Sea Tow vessel is required the member may be charged for such equipment and services"

I will bet that in some areas Boat US is going to say the same, they just dont have big towboatsvall over.

As far as getting it in writing, I wish you luck... every instance I was privy to (both companies) they will refer you to the standard membership agreement, and may promise you more, but never in writing.

I have been in conflicts betwen companies, and when the parent organization of either was contacted, they disputed what the local franchise was putting on the street....so even an email may or may not be binding.

I am pretty current, was towed in Wilmington, NC by 2 Sea Tow franchises in April, I in NJ in May and just towed 2 jets skis for one franchise this afternoon....so I do have some working knowledge of them.
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:45 PM   #8
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From the Sea Tow website.... "Boats Over 65 Feet: Service is not available in all areas. If more than one Sea Tow vessel is required the member may be charged for such equipment and services"
Interesting. Well, unless they count the swim platform I am not "over" 65 feet but dead on it. (there is no bow pulpit....the anchor goes thru the bow, like on a ship) And of course at the waterline well under 65 feet.


Still, wouldn't surprise me in the least if they "had" to count the swim platform in the calculations....gawd....
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:11 PM   #9
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Not necessarily, the franchises do have a bit of lattitude, but once you are out of their area, a real jerk owner can dang near be a pirate...and I personally know of at least one.

The good news is, and you may want to confirm this with Boat US Alexandria, that if you get coverage, but a local franchise does not have a big enough boat to tow you long distances, then will their cash coverage cover you if you call.....

The real issue isnt just tbe tow with bigger boats, it is tbe manuevering you into a dock that most small vessels cant do alone. So if you get towed, just maje sure if they call a second boat to help with docking, the cost is agreed upon up front.
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:30 PM   #10
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I remembered today that I did actually contact TowBoatUS by email a couple years ago with a question and they did send me a reply by email detailing what was covered and what they would do in a given situation.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:34 PM   #11
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Even if you get information by email, don't take it to the bank. As psneeld said, these are separate entities, owned by separate individuals or companies. You may be dealing with many different ones and they'll all interpret anything not clearly spelled out in the agreement differently. Then everyone you reach in a corporate office may also. The sales people are very different than the claims people.

They both provide excellent services, but rules interpretations are subject to differences when not covered by the agreement. They are also often impacted by the capability of the tow boat and captain. That impacts how far offshore and in what conditions, what size boat they can tow and where, and to where they will tow, how far out of their home area.

We have every coverage from both of them but know very clearly on a larger boat there will be extra charges. We've wondered but never tested whether if it required two boats we could get one boat from Towboat US and the other from Seatow and if they'd both pay.

I know one owner who wanted to be towed to their home port but the tow service wasn't going to. However, in talking to the representative they found out the original tow contractor would tow them to a marina which was then in another contractor's area and closer home. Then they got a second tow based on their plan agreement from that marina to their home port. It made sense and was totally by the rules. Nothing against two tows in a day and both tow operators then were reasonably compensated for what they did.

Some things are just going to have to be worked out at the time and you need to be aware there may be some things they won't do and may be extra charges. Just have it clearly spelled out before they start. Most importantly know the difference between a tow and salvage. That's where the big costs come into play.
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