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Thread: Towing insurance

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    Member Kodiakfly's Avatar
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    Default Towing insurance

    Sorry if this has been discussed; I searched and only found discussion on boat/hull insurance.

    Curious about towing insurance, and availability of towing assets around Kodiak. I've got (and used when I blew a motor) towing insurance here on the Great Lakes and it pays for itself. I'm planning on getting coverage in a few months when I get back to Kodiak...but is there even a towing service for insore Kodiak waters? It's been years that I've lived there, and wasn't a boat owner then so I never really noticed.

    There's got to be something there, right?

    And for those of you with towing insurance, who do you have? I have BoatUS Unlimited now and they've been great.

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    OK, let's try this...how many of you guys carry towing insurance anywhere in AK? Not just Kodiak, but PWS, SE? I consider it a pretty standard requirement where I live, and for as much time as I spend on the water, and most guys here carry it.

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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    Didnt know they made such a thing. My ins usually covers up to a certain amount for stuff Im towing hauling. I guess if you have a more expensive rig this may come in handy.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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    Are you possibly thinking of Sea Tow (www.seatow.com)? They are not in Alaska... PWS, SE, Kodiak, or anywhere else.

    My boat insurance policy does have a provision for towing services, something like $2,000 if I remember correctly. There must be fine print concerning if/when/how insurance will pay for towing, but if I ever need it, I probably *really* need it, and will worry about collecting from the insurance company after the fact.

    I think that in Alaska, with so many thousands of miles of navigable water, most of which are far from any harbors or services, that folks on the water look out for one another. There have been other threads on this forum about the circumstances under which people would attempt to tow another boater, and how far: Back to port? To a safe anchorage? Not at all?
    "Money may not buy you happiness, but it will buy you a big enough boat that you can get close enough for a look."

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    Yeah, on the water towing; Sea Tow or whoever the company may be. Here in the Great Lakes, it's Tow Boat US, and a tow is dang expensive so you can buy towing insurance for like $50 a year. I blew a motor in 09 and the two back to the dock was $700! My towing insurance made it $0. Towing insurance is standard equipment for anyone here who's on the water more than just weekends. But most policies through State Farm, Allstate, etc are very limited and loaded with fine print...only tow to nearest safe harbor, only good for one two per calendar year, etc. The insurance I have now through BoatsUS is truely unlimited...tow to anywhere I want to go, as often as I need it, no matter when, where, why. They have saltwater packages, but they're like three times as much. I'm happy to pay it, but if there's no one there to tow me, I'm not going to get it.

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    It is called US Coast Guard ! Sea tow was here in Homer but could not make it! The fishermen around here look out for each other no matter what!!!!!! I would never let anyone be in a bad situation if I could help in any way. If you don't feel that way, look deep inside. I have towed boats back in, even with clients on board. Had one client get mad because he might not make his fight, and all I had to say was how would you feel if they sank and died.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    It is called US Coast Guard ! Sea tow was here in Homer but could not make it! The fishermen around here look out for each other no matter what!!!!!! I would never let anyone be in a bad situation if I could help in any way. If you don't feel that way, look deep inside. I have towed boats back in, even with clients on board. Had one client get mad because he might not make his fight, and all I had to say was how would you feel if they sank and died.
    You summed it up well. I believe that my policy covers a couple of grand for towing, but there is not a "tow company" based out of Whittier to my knowledge. There are commercial operators that will tow, however. Your fellow fisherman should help you out. Karma can be a martha focker, so keep that in mind...welcome to Alaska.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    Karma can be a martha focker, so keep that in mind...welcome to Alaska.
    Exactly how I feel too. There is no way I could leave anyone out there on their own. Reminds me of my very first trip out in PWS. My Hewes Sportjet blew a belt and I was dead in the water north end of Culross. Radio'd for help with no answer. Saw a boat passing by no answer. 2 flares and still nothing. Ended up calling out on the radio for the coasties as we were in rough seas. Eye of the Storm stopped and pulled us out farther to get away from shore but would not tow us back due to clients on board. Then the ITSWOOT (barge) called and said he was in Culross and would tow us back. Great.... So we thought. An hour later he showed up and towed us back. At 3 or 5 knots..... LOL 5 hours later we made it back to Whittier. All they wanted was a couple beers for the road. I was very lucky they were there that day and learned a very big lesson. I am so over prepared nowadays. But I vowed to never leave anyone adrift. A day of fishing lost isn't worth anothers life.
    But to the original question, I have USAA (Progressive) and I believe I have $2500 worth of towing.
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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    Ah I sea! My boat premium also covers on the water towing up to a certain amount I believe. But like others have said if you see another in need I always ask if I can help in anyway. Ive only encountered one or two that seemed to need a little help and both declined help but if Im floating down the creek and my motor is gone I sure do hope someone would stop.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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    Although the world is changing a bit, I believe most Alaskan boaters will give you a hand if you are in need. Years ago I threw a piston many miles away from port and had to cross a open body of water with my trolling motor. A charter operator saw me making my way across and despite my initial refusal, he insited I take a tow back to town. It cut 3 or 4 hours out of his day and when I tried to pay him for fuel, he refused and told me some day I can repay him by lending a hand to another in need. I was realitive young and that left an impression on me. I've helped several boaters out since then and will continue to do so whenever I can. It's just the right thing to do out there. Haven't heard of any formal tow services in Alaskan waters, the area is so large and recreational boaters are widely dispersed, seems it would be tough to make a living at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullboat View Post
    Although the world is changing a bit, I believe most Alaskan boaters will give you a hand if you are in need..
    This is pretty much the Standard around Kodiak....Most guys will help you out, can't imagine you drifting for long

    tho, the first part of this quote is, "scary true," also,...
    you might be surprised the insurance complications that are binding up some of the commercial guys these days
    so before anyone gets too annoyed at a Major Professional Operation, passing them by, in nice weather, or if there is someone else coming,...

    consider what they might be bound up by,...the liability thing, that we are all embracing as a litigation nation,....(a curse in my opinion)

    Over a long career tho, I have never passed anyone up, and no insurance liability would keep me from stopping to help a Drifter
    and most guys I know would do the same
    I've been helped a few times, towed twice, only charged for it once, tho I offered to pay before he named a price

    I once had a guy running my boat for me that had troubles, just a few miles from Kodiak harbor,...
    and he probably ran into the, "one guy in Kodiak who would charge him Heavy for a tow"
    for a minor tow,...was an incredible thing to consider, just a few years back,...we were all Astounded
    and that guy did have some pretty bad luck later,...like Graveyard Luck (no joke)
    It was several thousand, for about a 40 minute tow,...

    So, anyway, to answer your question,...I'm pretty sure there is no Professional Towing service here,...
    the companies you mention, don't operate here, maybe for Insurance Reasons (?)

    and we are all pretty much relying on each other,...it should be no charge,...It's, "on you," to buy a few cold ones,...or force some cash on the guy who helped you
    has been that way a long time around Kodiak...
    cause we've all been there

    Just don't be upset, if the Big Boys cruise on by,...on a good weather day, and just a few miles outside town, they are under more Liability Hindrance than you could imagine in your worst Legal Nightmare
    if there's another small guy option, I wouldn't even call them

    AND, I must add, for those who imagine that the Coast Guard is a towing service,...you might be surprised,..they don't do much of that here,...
    they'll put out a Pan-Pan, on the VHF, to get someone nearby to help you,....and they'll let you drift for quite a while,
    you'll get more attention once that is out there, as it releases liability in some cases, if the CG is asking everyone to help you
    but, until you tell them your life is in danger or something, they won't be sending any Cutters your way
    I don't think they even have the small boat towing rigs that you might see down in the Great Lakes area

    Good Question from the OP, hope it doesn't seem I'm jumping on you,...it brought up a few memories for me
    Should be no problem for you
    and I really Appreciate your Take Responsibility, Angle of Approach
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    AND, I must add, for those who imagine that the Coast Guard is a towing service,...you might be surprised,..they don't do much of that here,...
    they'll put out a Pan-Pan, on the VHF, to get someone nearby to help you,....and they'll let you drift for quite a while,
    you'll get more attention once that is out there, as it releases liability in some cases, if the CG is asking everyone to help you
    but, until you tell them your life is in danger or something, they won't be sending any Cutters your way
    I don't think they even have the small boat towing rigs that you might see down in the Great Lakes area
    Exactly. They (should say "we" as I'm in the CG, but I'm on the aviation side of the house) aren't a towing service, and they'll let you know that over the radio. When I blew my motor, I was half mile off the CG station, with a boat in the water already underway, and they WOULD NOT tow me unless I was on fire or sinking. So I've learned and planned to be self-sufficient on the water and not count on the CG or even the kindness of other people. And you're right, there is no SAR surface asset out of Kodiak, other than a 300'+ cutter, so a CG tow isn't going to happen. I don't have the monster 40' tugs most of the guys on here have. I'm strictly a fly caster, so me and my 20' bay will only ever be in the nearshore waters of Kodiak, and no overnight trips. But I hate to be in between Woody and Long and have a battery issue or whatever and have to launch my own pan-pan to get a tow back to Dog Bay and ruin someone else's day. But if that's how it's done, that's how it's done and I'll forego the towing insurance.

    Thanks for the advice...hopefully I never meet any of you on the water!

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    We have been towed once in PWS by the Coast Guard Aux from Pigot point to the harbor. Initially I refused the service and they sat nearby for 30 mins keeping an eye on me while I worked on my rig. Eventually they convinced me to take a line and towed me at 4-5 knots all the way to the harbor. In hindsight it was a wise move.
    Since they operate on the taxpayers dime, they wouldn't accept a monetary reward for their assistance. I'm glad they are out there patrolling and helping.
    I have helped many others on the waters over the years. Doesn't matter if your helping someone or recieving the help, it makes you feel good at the end of the day!
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    I've seen SeaTow work well on the East Coast, but when I talked to some of their folks they said there simply weren't enough boats in Alaska, and most West Coast ports for that matter, for it to pencil out economically. Need a whole fleet of boats in a pretty concentrated area.

    Just for frame of reference, we'd run 60-90 miles offshore to chase bluefin tuna and a few billfish. In a 20' outboard! And we were in a parking lot of boats most of the time when we got where we were going. And you'd even see some 16-footers out there I wouldn't use on an average Alaska lake. Looks to me like SeaTow was kinda the white hat struggling against Darwin out there. Lot more sense in the average boater in Alaska, both in where they go and how they get there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    We have been towed once in PWS by the Coast Guard Aux from Pigot point to the harbor. Initially I refused the service and they sat nearby for 30 mins keeping an eye on me while I worked on my rig. Eventually they convinced me to take a line and towed me at 4-5 knots all the way to the harbor. In hindsight it was a wise move.
    Yeah, the AUX guys and gals are saints. They're not bound by alot of the policy and nonsense the AD military component is. Always wave to the AUX boats or planes when you see them...they're out there on their own time and effort. CG pays for gas, but they're still out there on their own time and putting themselves out there to be of service.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I've seen SeaTow work well on the East Coast, but when I talked to some of their folks they said there simply weren't enough boats in Alaska, and most West Coast ports for that matter, for it to pencil out economically. Need a whole fleet of boats in a pretty concentrated area.

    Just for frame of reference, we'd run 60-90 miles offshore to chase bluefin tuna and a few billfish. In a 20' outboard! And we were in a parking lot of boats most of the time when we got where we were going. And you'd even see some 16-footers out there I wouldn't use on an average Alaska lake. Looks to me like SeaTow was kinda the white hat struggling against Darwin out there. Lot more sense in the average boater in Alaska, both in where they go and how they get there.
    Yeah, my last tour in Kodiak we'd go offshore in our little Zodiacs and a 35 hp. We'd go in a flotilla, but dang if I don't look back now and think how nuts we were. Now in my 20'/225 hp I'm overly cautious and careful. Age maybe, I dunno. Or maybe I just don't want to spend $250 in gas each day! LOL

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    I had USAA [Markel] until recently. They had a separatetow insurance and it covered $2,000.
    After the auto-pay feature dropped off my account fora third time since October 2010 I had enough BS and moved to State Farm locally.
    I asked State Farm if they offer specific tow coverage since it was initiallyasked for as I provided mirror coverage as the previous policy. He said hethought it was inclusive and made a phone call to somebody for guidance. Hesaid they cover towing, fuel, etc... I sure hope I don't ever need it. I wasreally surprised at how nonchalant he was offering such comprehensive coverage.


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    Quote Originally Posted by AKluvr95 View Post
    I had USAA [Markel] Hesaid they cover towing, fuel, etc... I sure hope I don't ever need it. I wasreally surprised at how nonchalant he was offering such comprehensive coverage.
    And that's where the fine print comes in...most towing policies will have stipulations like "nearest safe harbor" which means if you launch from Point A, and drive past Points B, C and D to go fishing, break down and Point E is actually closer by water, they'll tow you there and now it's up to you to figure out how to get back to Point A to get your truck. They'll also stipulate a finite number of times per year (God help you, if you need towed more than once in a season, but I'd hate to burn my one shot just because of a dead battery or something.) and stuff like that, where yeah, you'll get a tow, but you'd have been better off calling a buddy to come get you, or paddling to shore. My State Farm policy is like that, as well as limited to the Great Lakes and only up to $500, which is why I went with the additional BoatUS unlimited policy.

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    This is an interesting thread, that I thought I'd add another consideration to

    Maybe, if you had insurance for "Being Towed," it could be something you could tell the guy towing you about, ahead of time ??

    See if you guys can get this perspective, for reasons why:

    As a Commercial Fishing Owner Operator, it's a nice day, and my trip is almost over, only 8 miles to go,...
    I may have as much as $50,000 worth of product on board, but a lot of that is already spent on expenses,...I'm not rich, but making a living,....bringing these fish in, On Time, to the Processor, is Critical to my years survival as a family man and provider.
    I have had to pay, as much as $26,000 a year in Insurance, depending on where I am fishing,...(that's no exaggeration )
    I Cannot Have Anything Go Wrong to ratchet that cost up, whatsoever

    Oh, Hey,...and there's a sport boat, looks like they're adrift,
    and guys waving their arms at me as I approach,...they need help, probably a tow in to town,...it'll only take a few minutes, and not slow me down much anyway,,...and Man, have I ever felt that feeling,...gotta help right,..?

    THEN, the thoughts come on,...they've got a several kids on board,...who are scampering around kind of unsupervised now as Dad and his friends are concerned about the boat, and rigging up for a tow,....
    or maybe they've been drinking all afternoon,...they don't have the safety requirements that we do,...
    so, what is really going on there with good lifejackets, operable radio, sobriety with the ocean in general ????

    I know, that once I throw them some lines, I take them under tow,...they may not realize it, but I KNOW, I am now in charge, and fully liable,
    if one of their kids falls overboard during the tow,..we'll have to release the tow,....turn and rescue the kid, do they have a radio to let me know what's happening,....will they panic, will someone jump overboard to help, do they have a lifering and line,...
    have they ever untangled it,...has anyone ever used one ?????
    what if their bilge pumps are cheap junk,....and something starts to happen, if that boat goes down,...under my tow,...?????

    How many of them have seen, "up close what happens when a towline breaks,"...how hard it whips back,....and can break the jaw, or arm,...or worse, of a guy, or some curious child,....standing directly behind it when it comes tight,...???

    Well, you get the picture,....It's Darn Scary these days,...diving in to something we've always done as courtesy,...good Favor, etc.

    Cause as we all know,...there are people who will sue someone they know is Required to be Heavily Insured,..like the Commercial Guys
    for just about anything

    and then, I must add, all the Angst that comes across apparent in places like the AOD, against Commercial Fisherman from the Sport Contingency
    makes a guy wonder,...Is this a boatload of guys who've been ranting and raving all afternoon, over a few beers, about how I am their worst enemy,....destroying the stocks of their favorite fish,...and all that ??

    So,...as much as I am determined to be a Caring Boat Owner,...how risky is this,....man, I hope it doesn't go bad,....

    Back to my original thought, that Kodiakfly's original question is stirring up in my mind,....wouldn't it be cool, if there was, a policy for

    "I'm needing a tow,....and am covered by My Own insurance, for all contingencies."

    I know, personally, that would be a really cool thing to hear, from the guys waving their arms, or calling for help
    would just seem like "Those guys really are well prepared,....Thanks"
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kodiakfly View Post
    And that's where the fine print comes in...most towing policies will have stipulations like "nearest safe harbor" which means if you launch from Point A, and drive past Points B, C and D to go fishing, break down and Point E is actually closer by water, they'll tow you there and now it's up to you to figure out how to get back to Point A to get your truck. They'll also stipulate a finite number of times per year (God help you, if you need towed more than once in a season, but I'd hate to burn my one shot just because of a dead battery or something.) and stuff like that, where yeah, you'll get a tow, but you'd have been better off calling a buddy to come get you, or paddling to shore. My State Farm policy is like that, as well as limited to the Great Lakes and only up to $500, which is why I went with the additional BoatUS unlimited policy.
    I went with BoatUS unlimited as well. Also includes issues while on the trailer. I haven't had to use them yet, but, every time I call them when I get nervous about what they will cover here in Alaska I am reassured by them that even in areas where we have no phone coverage we can usually get ahold of the CG. Give them the number and they will call it in for us. They will either get someone out to get you or OK what you might be working on nearby.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    This is an interesting thread, that I thought I'd add another consideration to

    Maybe, if you had insurance for "Being Towed," it could be something you could tell the guy towing you about, ahead of time ??...
    Which is part of why I asked...I don't expect anyone to be comfortable towing me. I'd never sue anyone for helping me out, but I have been in that situation. I was fishing Lake St. Clair (big water for those that don't know...not a little inland lake) and an old guy comes up on me paddling his 14' boat with the engine cowling off. Obviously in need of a tow, but he was making way. I can't watch this guy paddle by me and not do anything, so I offer a tow.

    Well that was a debacle in and of itself, as he wanted towed almost 10 miles away, and he wanted me to drag him through the last 500 yards, which was no more than 10" of water. So possibly damaging my boat and motor and ruining my day notwithstanding, he's hollering at me the whole time telling me to slow down (I was just above clutch speed), watch out for rocks, be careful with my wake...the whole deal. That's when I realized if anything happened, I could guarantee this guy would come after me with a lawsuit. My boat is as safe and as prepared as most any boat out there, and while I'm not a commercial guy, I'm pretty good in a boat so I'd hope to A) never need a tow and B) if I did, the captain towing me would feel confident that I'd be able to handle and manage being under tow. ....But I can't count on that.

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