0600 | Monday, May 2nd, 2022
It’s Monday morning and you’re headed to the office. You weren’t paying attention, hit a pothole and now have a flat tire. Plus, it’s raining, traffic is screaming by, and you just spilled your coffee – Now what?!
If you’re the type to roll up the sleeves, take a bite of this morning’s adventure, and change out your own tire, fantastic. For the rest, you’ll be thankful for having renewed your AAA membership.
The same thing goes for boating and any problems that you may encounter while out on the water. Luckily there are coverage options depending upon where you live. Here in the Norwalk Harbor and waters of the Western Long Island Sound, SeaTow has the biggest fleet. In the southern US waters, BoatU.S./TowboatU.S. may provide a better blanket of coverage.
With an annual tiered membership offering, tow services will provide 24/7 on-water dispatch assistance. Members are given free boat towing in their home waters, unlimited dock-to-dock towing on all boats the member captains, alternatives such as fuel delivery, battery jumping, and in the absolutely worst-case scenario boat salvage and recovery – which by the way is what running a ground is considered.
Each year, the two companies conduct a survey in order to see how the year went, as well as to have a benchmark from which to gauge the upcoming years anticipated usage. This past 2021, SeaTow saw a 34% increase for on-water assistance over the previous summer. And it comes as no surprise that the overall conclusion from their national survey was that new boaters were not yet familiar with hard-to-navigate channels, fuel management, and the ever-so-dangerous shifting sandbars – 142% requiring ungrounding services, 108% (broke down) needing fuel delivered to them, roughly 11% needing a battery jump start, and generally speaking, 22% of all new boaters required tow assistance.
For the more confident boater, it’s also important to note that depending upon your demographic, assistance is typically capped at 40 miles offshore. But in regions such as New Jersey and Florida this is often times extended. If you’re having boat trouble any further out than that, you’ll want to immediately hail the US Coast Guard on VHF 16 who will then broadcast a notice to mariners for vessels in the vicinity to be on the lookout and provide assistance if able – although nothing is ever guaranteed.
I’ll actually include in my list of essential boating items, my SeaTow/BoatU.S. membership cards. I personally have both, not because I enjoy unnecessarily spending money, but rather because I boat in so many locations throughout the year and I like the overlapping coverage. Like the insurance and assurance that it is, you just never know when you may need it.
In closing, these two towboat companies will come to your rescue if you encounter trouble while on the water however, without an actual prepurchased membership, be ready to spend a boat load of money on the spot.