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Old 08-09-2016, 05:17 PM   #1
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Towing lien

Bought a 1987 42' Jefferson last fall in Detroit Michigan. It was winterized and shrink wrapped out of the water till the end of May. We had it checked out and all systems were good. We motored in by water to Southport NC and put it into St James Plantation Marina. We were on the water for seven weeks and all went well. 1 week after docking at the marina the boat took on water. The 3208t csterpillar engines and generator are now pickled in oil. The water rose half way up engines. We have Boat US towing and we understood the towing would be covered. They never put the claim through and are now threatening to put a lien on the boat. They have not billed us as yet. The boat yard is telling us they will not keep our boat for us either. We have no insurance for damage or loss. We will at this point sell it for anything we can get but we are worried about fishy stuff going on w liens. Paying a bill is not an issue. We can afford it. Just seems really odd. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:24 PM   #2
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So the towing company never filed a claim with TowBoatUS? Do they say why?
Who has not billed you? The tow company? Have you called them or TBUS?
Are you not fixing the boat? WHy would the yard not just charge you storage?
Are you just selling it and calling it a total loss with no insurance coverage?
Who have you called and what was their reply?

I am sure there are lots of people that can help here, but I am having trouble figuring out exactly what this issues are here. You need to fill in some of the gaps... or maybe I am a doofus. ;-)
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:49 PM   #3
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Was there a reason Towboatus wasn't called to do the tow? They look to be about 5 miles from the marina.

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Old 08-09-2016, 06:51 PM   #4
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PM sent Neil..
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:05 PM   #5
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lots more to the story......
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:31 PM   #6
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I can't figure from what was posted, where the towing was done. The boat took on water at the marina so where's the towing? Sounds to me that there might be a salvage claim, not a tow.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:56 PM   #7
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Water half way up a 3208 will do little damage. Maybe a starter and alternator. Gennie could be hurt pretty bad though.

So what did TB do? Come to the dock and pump it out? Tow it to the yard? Once paid for their work, there should be no lien. And if they submit an outrageous bill, that can be negotiated.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:29 PM   #8
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You have towing. That is different than salvage. (which it sounds like Boatus did for you). Towing is covered. Salvage is an insurance item. Have you called boatus to get the details?

Towing gets your boat back to the dock. Salvage happens when your boat sinks or grounds and needs 'extra' help to get towed back to the dock. Sounds like you owe boatus some $$
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:32 AM   #9
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So far, I'm not grasping any of this. Boat was fine. Boat got to marina. Boat started taking on water at marina. You don't state if you were there or gone or how rapidly or what was done about the water. Boat was towed from somewhere to somewhere, but I have no idea where. It was towed by someone but I have no idea who and whether they were through a tow membership or directly engaged, nor do I know whether they told you salvage wasn't covered. Shipyard won't keep the boat for you, I'm guessing means store it for free or what? You have no insurance on the boat, I understand. This would certainly be a logical consequence of no insurance. Your title is "Towing Lien" but you don't say whether anyone has put a lien on the boat nor do you indicate an amount. What is fishy about a lien? One provides a service, doesn't get paid, they put a lien. Not fishy. You say paying is not an issue, but then what is the issue? You say "just seems really odd," but what is it you are saying seems odd?

I would be more than willing to provide answers or opinions. Perhaps you left a lot out trying to be brief. I would suggest trying again, with all details, with the sequence of events, and with amounts and circumstances. The whole story.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:48 AM   #10
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We are gold members w Boat Us. Apparently George Bruton from BoatUs did not file the towing insurance claim. Boat Us Corp is checking into it. All should be covered and we should receive an invoice for balance. It was not a salvage problem. The water was pumped out and we had it towed by Bost Us from St James Marina to Southport Marina, about 5 miles, and immediately taken out of the water, and a diesel mechanic pumped oil into the engines and generator. I will post pics as soon as I can.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:18 AM   #11
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That sure would be a salvage in my neck of the woods.


For either tow company.


Yet I have towed members in good standing after a quick pumpout that was billed separately, just allowing the tow to fall into towing insurance.


That said, that wasn't common for a situation like this....usually the whole thing falls to hull insurance or cash.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:41 AM   #12
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So then dont get the towing company to do the pump out of the boat, otherwise they will claim salvage.

Pump it out yourself or hire someone to pump out with no salvage, Then call for towing.

Our marina is a working watermen's type place on Chesapeake bay, the owner has several big pumps and wont make salvage claims on boats who have slips at his place.
I would say half the people here with boats can hardly afford to own them at Marina Cove Boat Basin.



I have my boat on the far right spit about 8 slips from the inner end. It is very well protected and I can park a few feet from the boat. Costs me $150 per month with free electric and water.
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:08 AM   #13
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Unfortunately...if the towing company finds out your vessel needing a tow because of fire or flooding.....they can charge for the tow.
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by captainneil View Post
We are gold members w Boat Us. Apparently George Bruton from BoatUs did not file the towing insurance claim. Boat Us Corp is checking into it. All should be covered and we should receive an invoice for balance. It was not a salvage problem. The water was pumped out and we had it towed by Bost Us from St James Marina to Southport Marina, about 5 miles, and immediately taken out of the water, and a diesel mechanic pumped oil into the engines and generator. I will post pics as soon as I can.
What is all this talk about a lien then? Has one been filed? It doesn't sound like it.

Then about the boatyard, which I assume is Zimmerman, saying they will not keep the boat for you? Unless you're going to have them work on it, why would they?

When did you buy the membership? Note please Towboat US is "membership". It is not insurance.

Did Towboat US pump it out? If so, I refer you to their exclusion paragraph, which is why psneeld explains it as salvage.

This Towing Service Agreement becomes effective 11:59 PM on the day of payment and does not apply to: ..... salvage, including but not restricted to hard groundings, or assistance requiring more than one vessel, pumps, divers, airbags or other special equipment;


How long did this take them and what was their charge?
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:22 AM   #15
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They pumped out the water. It had about 24" in engine room. Then towed it to Southport Marina. About 5 miles. Zimmermans Marine pulled it from the water and put it up on the hard. It is dry now, and a diesel mechanic pumped oil into the engines and generator.
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:30 AM   #16
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They pumped out the water. It had about 24" in engine room. Then towed it to Southport Marina. About 5 miles. Zimmermans Marine pulled it from the water and put it up on the hard. It is dry now, and a diesel mechanic pumped oil into the engines and generator.
Sounds like a mid level inconvenience. Repair the failed fitting, relaunch and start the engines. Soon. Before they deteriorate. Yes rebuild starter and alternator. Point is this was not an end of the world situation.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:08 PM   #17
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Unfortunately...if the towing company finds out your vessel needing a tow because of fire or flooding.....they can charge for the tow.

Why would the tow company care "why" I needed a tow as long as no extra work was required to effect the tow. For example, if I had a leak which I pumped and repaired myself but still required a tow because my starter was soaked, what business is it of theirs and why would this negate any towing coverage I might have? I don't understand.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:29 PM   #18
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That sure would be a salvage in my neck of the woods..
The tow verses salvage approach has always confused me, and I know enough to be dangerous on this subject. Psneeld, it sounds like you have done some towing, so I will press you on this a bit.

I just briefly read the OP's post, but I would think this is not a salvage. op. The OP's boat was not hard aground, so the tow boat showed up, connected lines and helped with some pump out. The tow boat guys in my area routinely do this, and I don't recall hearing about them claiming salvage. Granted, this can take many forms, but just generally speaking.

I can see why the tow company may want some extra $, and I would gladly pay a few more hundred dollars to cover their time, but I still don't see how this would be a salvage op?
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Old 08-17-2016, 02:36 PM   #19
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I didn't make the rules....if your boat takes on water or catches fire to the point of burned wiring preventing a start...usually hull insurance is involved.


If hull insurance is involved, usually tow membership doesn't cover any work done to remedy the situation, including a tow to a repair facility.


Again, I didn't dream any membership up...just passing along the membership rules.


Remember I did say occasionally a tow under membership is done after fire or flooding, why is up to the franchise owner but is not a regular covered item.


Much of the time if the boat just needs an electric pump tossed in while under tow to the marina...sure the tow is covered but there usually is a charge for the pump. And that would not be a salvage....but in order to deny towing, it is deemed salvage or "just plain old marine contracting", or whatever you want to call it....in order to charge for whatever work is done plus the tow.


I know it all sounds a bit fishy, but 90% of the time it is pretty obvious and all but a few understood. I have done hundreds of pumpouts and salvages, plus I am sure well over a thousand tows...only a few overlapped and were confusing to the boatowner.
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Old 08-17-2016, 02:39 PM   #20
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Unfortunately...if the towing company finds out your vessel needing a tow because of fire or flooding.....they can charge for the tow.

Why would the tow company care "why" I needed a tow as long as no extra work was required to effect the tow. For example, if I had a leak which I pumped and repaired myself but still required a tow because my starter was soaked, what business is it of theirs and why would this negate any towing coverage I might have? I don't understand.
A leak that soaked your starter is one thing, coming and pumping you out and towing when the starter AND entire bilge was swamped in salt water is another.

That is one of those personal things....how you describe it and answer the questions of the nature of your breakdown might determine whether it is deemed covered or not.
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