Sooner or later, it happens. No matter how new your engines are or how well you maintain your boat, there will come a time when your boat breaks down, your vessel is dead in the water, and you have no option other than to call for assistance and a tow back to port.
Knowing that on-the-water breakdowns are inevitable, and the Coast Guard no longer provides non-emergency towing, shouldn’t every boat owner join a boat-towing service? Like almost every aspect of boat ownership, there is a cost associated, so it’s wise to do a little research before you sign a membership form.
To answer our questions about the benefits of a tow-service membership, we spoke with Captain Ramsey Chason of Sea Tow Cape Cod and Islands in Massachusetts.
I have boat insurance. Is it worth it to buy a Sea Tow membership?
Boat insurance is intended to protect your investments — your boat, electronics, and gear – in case of an unexpected accident or disaster. It also can protect you from legal costs and lawsuits after an accident. Sea Tow membership is not insurance, it’s assurance. We come to your aid when things go wrong, to provide a tow, deliver fuel, or jump start your battery so you can bet back on your way. It’s our job to help ensure your safety and we take that seriously.
What if my boat insurance has a towing rider?
Insurance companies do not have boats – we do, and Sea Tow Members receive priority service. We provide unlimited towing. There is no limit on the number of tows in a year, the distance, or the time it takes. We guarantee that members get towed to their homeport or facility of their choice. This is a big difference from what you get from an insurance towing rider. Plus, you don’t want a simple tow to increase your insurance rates.
Why should I become a Sea Tow Member before I need help?
Because you can’t schedule a dead battery. Beside the risk of an unexpected financial outlay, it’s not always easy to get tow service on the water. And, when you are on a disabled vessel, the last thing you want to do is wait for hours, especially if you have your family on board. Sea Tow members get prompt service and priority over non-members when it comes to towing.
Also, we understand that if a boat owner is having an issue, they don’t necessarily want to get towed. Every day on the water is so valuable in New England. My crew and I always strive to fix the problem through a troubleshooting process that begins over the phone, with the goal of getting you back to boating as soon as possible.
In event a tow is required, we’ll take our members to their homeport or the repair facility of their choice. Again, we understand that time is limited, so we’ll tow as fast as hull speed will allow, with the focus on getting back quickly and safely.
Do you offer any services beyond towing?
My crew and I are available 24/7/365, on the water and off, as a resource to boaters. For example, we’ll provide a free escort through treacherous areas, such as Woods Hole. We prefer to help our members avoid issues and keep them out of trouble. I’ve also helped members plan trips along the East Coast, using my knowledge from years of yacht deliveries to guide them and plan an itinerary with some local knowledge.
Being a member means having access to a captain with a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge, and that provides a comfort level for boaters that you cannot get with any other service. For example, I have a member who fishes offshore in the canyons, well beyond cell service. He bought a Garmin product that allows for communication via satellite text, and he uses my cell number as the contact. For him, membership is about knowing you have a direct link to someone who is available, 24/7. And if something were to happen and he needed assistance, we have the assets – including a 41-foot ex-Coast Guard vessel – with the speed and range to get offshore and tow in larger sportfishing vessels.
Have your own questions for Captain Ramsey Chasson? Call him at (508) 564-9555 or visit the Sea Tow Cape and Islands website.