Q: What does the service level on my Membership Card mean?
This amount represents the amount that BoatUS will pay for provided services. It is NOT a deductible. You are responsible for charges in excess of your chosen service level.
Q: What is the BoatU.S. Towing Program?
It is a promise by the Association to provide excellent Member satisfaction, assistance and boat towing services (which entails 24-Hour Dispatch, On-the-Water Towing, battery jumps, fuel deliveries, and soft ungroundings) without charge up to a Member's specified service level. We are a dues paying Membership Association and not a retail mailing list.
Q: What is TowBoatU.S.?
TowBoatUS is the nation's largest network of towing companies organized by BoatUS to provide you with fast, professional assistance while you're on the water. These companies have to meet specific criteria to qualify as TowBoatUS approved companies. Over 300 ports are located nationwide with over 600 vessels ready to help you!
Q: Is my BoatU.S. Towing Service valid wherever I boat?
Yes. BoatUS Towing Service follows you and your boat. No matter where your homeport is or where you keep your boat, if you're within a TowBoatUS service area, BoatUS will provide for towing service up to your selected service level. Even if you are boating in an area that does not support a TowBoatUS Service Provider, BoatUS will reimburse your commercial towing service up to your service level.
Q: What's so special about BoatUS Towing Dispatch?
The 24-hour National Dispatch Center is open and staffed all day, every day, 365 days a year with BoatUS employees to answer questions and dispatch towers. The Center can be reached by cell phone or through the Coast Guard by VHF. BoatUS has the largest recreational boat and trailer dispatch center nationwide.
Q: Can I use some other towing company to tow my boat?
Yes, when outside the country and within the U.S. if dispatched by BoatUS through the 24-Hour Dispatch Center. BoatUS has a fleet of over 600 tow boats contracted and ready to go. When you call the National Dispatch Center, you will receive assistance from the closest available approved company. If there isn't one in your area, the dispatcher will help you locate other assistance. There are little to no major boating areas without TowBoatUS.
Q: If I'm broken down at my dock, does my BoatUS Towing Service still work for me?
The Towing Service is for tows due to breakdowns at sea or at a restricted use dock. However, If you have GOLD service level coverage, this includes tows from your home dock, rental dock, or a non-restricted use slip, for the purpose of having repairs made. Of course, pre-existing conditions are not provided for at all.
Q: When the Guide doesn't list any TowBoatUS or other approved companies in my area, whom should I use?
When you contact the National Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869, the dispatcher can check to see if any approved towing companies have been added to your area since The Guide was published. If there are still no towers in your area, the dispatcher will use other resources to locate the assistance you need in local marinas and commercial towing services. Outside the country tows are reimbursed by BoatUS.
Q: What is the difference between Towing and Salvage?
BoatUS establishes Towing-Ungrounding as "any operation not involving immediate peril to the boat or to a legally protected marine environment and requiring only one towing vessel with lines attached to the grounded boat to refloat it or to the disabled boat to tow it." Salvage includes "any operation involving immediate peril to the boat, the marine environment or the use of special salvage equipment (pumps, airbags, dredging equipment, cranes, etc.)"
Q: Does the BoatUS Towing Service provide for recovery and towing of my boat should it sink?
The BoatUS Towing Service provides assistance should your boat suffer from a dead battery, an engine breakdown, runs out of gas, or requires a "soft" ungrounding while on the water. It is not designed for salvage operations such as a sinking or stranding. Salvage operations, including towing from the salvage site, would be paid for by a yacht or boat insurance policy, such as BoatUS Marine Insurance.
Q: Does the BoatUS Towing Service apply if I am a guest on a friend's boat?
Every BoatUS towing level provides Towing Service for any boat which the Member owns, borrows, or charters. In these cases, the Member is considered the Captain and responsible for the care and control of the boat. If the Member is a guest on a boat and the owner is also present, regardless of who is at the helm, the owner would be responsible for having the appropriate towing service, not the guest member on board.
Q: I use my boat for charter fishing and diving (or I deliver boats for a dealer). Can I use my BoatUS Towing Service for that boat?
The BoatUS Towing Service applies only to a "recreational boat owned, borrowed or chartered" by the Member. Once a boat is used for hire, for commercial purposes, or the Member is a paid captain, the boat or Member is considered commercial. In these cases, the appropriate commercial towing insurance should be purchased as a rider to their policy. BoatUS now provides commercial memberships.
Q: Is it true that towing companies bill from the time they leave their dock to the time they return?
Yes. Towing companies begin charging for their service from the moment they get underway. Even after you are already safe and sound in your own slip, the clock doesn't stop until the tow boat has returned to its home dock. Remember to take that into consideration when selecting your towing service level. TowBoatU.S. is the only fleet to be universally paid for their time. So they are dedicated to get up in the middle of the night to service you!