Expert Advice

The Perils of Towing

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Bill Springer discussed the difference between towing and salvage in the July 2003 SAIL. For more information log on to the following sites.

Seatow

Membership provides:24-hour/7 day-a-week dispatch, Unlimited service area towing, Soft ungrounding assistance, Fuel drops, Jump starts, Prop disentanglements, Reimbursed world-wide/out of service area coverage, Optional trailer assistance.
Sea Tow International 800-4SEATOW (73-2869)

TowboatU.S.

Founded in 1983, this Long Island-based towing company recently expanded into seven new regions and now boasts 450 U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains, 100 franchised or certified locations, 120,000 members and over 40,000 marine assistance cases logged last year. Sea Tow offers three membership plans, Gold ($119), Corporate ($119) and Skipper ($140), a trailer assistance option (for an additional $10), and an easy to use on-line application.

TowBoatU.S. 800-888-4869

Vessel Assist

With over 400 boats at 225 ports, this network of contracted towing companies organized by BoatU.S., the 535,000 member Boat Owners Association of the United States, is one of the nation's largest. TowBoatU.S. offers a 24-hour national dispatch center and four levels of service coverage, starting at $15. Unlimited towing within a 25-mile service area costs $99 plus $14 for a BoatU.S. membership.

Vessel Assist 800-367-8222

Safesea

As "the Boat Owner's Auto Club," Vessel Assist Association of America (VAAA) has been providing a network of towing responders to members for twenty years. Today they maintain over 400 boats in 12 service areas across the country and offer nine service plans, ranging from $19 to $180. A standard unlimited tow membership with the VAAA costs $85 plus a mandatory $10 association fee and can be obtained on-line.

Safe/Sea 401-295-8711

Originally listed as a national tow company, Safe/Sea only services the Rhode Island coast, up to 25 miles south of Block Island. It does, however, offer the same benefits as the above listed nationally franchised companies. With over 4,000 members and a fleet of six boats, an unlimited free towing membership with Safe/Sea costs $95. In addition, Safe/Sea is the exclusive TowBoatU.S. provider for the Rhode Island area.

—Dave Baldwin

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