FAQ and Compare
Why do I need marine towing and assistance coverage for my
Q. I have a new boat. Why would I need to worry about needing a
tow or jumpstart?
A. 6 out of 10 assistance calls we receive are for vessels with less than 100 hours running time
on them. Sometimes a boater runs their battery down while anchored. Sometimes a boater gets a bad batch
of fuel. Sometimes there are just “bugs” to work out of a new vessel (or Captain). With today's fuel
injection and more computer controlled boats out there, we are finding the need for towing actually
growing. There is just no way for the average boater to get their engine running again once it stops due
to a sensor or computer failure on the water. Newer boats are just plain dead in the water when they
Q. I have a marine insurance policy, which covers assistance
towing. Why would I need your towing membership coverage as well as or in place of
A. The typical
marine insurance policy has less than $500 worth of assistance coverage that REIMBURSES a policy holder
for these services when needed. The insurance company does not own or operate tow boats, they do not
dispatch towboats and the insurance company does not allow direct billing of these charges by the towboat
company. This means you are on your own to get help and you have to pay on scene
for these charges, then submit the bill and wait to be paid back. Many insurance companies now consider
marine towing claims to be a ratable claim on your policy. By purchasing our membership plan, you keep
yourself from having to file a claim and you have supported the company that ACTUALLY SUPPLIES THE SERVICE and is here whenever you need
Q. If I need
help I usually wait for a “Good Samaritan” to come along and tow me in. Why should I consider having a
paid service plan now?
A. Because it is inexpensive insurance and you receive timely, professional help. Boaters are
generally a friendly bunch. The typical attitude is “I'll help a stranded boater in hopes that when I
need help, someone will do the same for me”. In more recent times, free time has become harder to come
by. People don't necessarily want to take time out of their recreation to spend a couple hours towing in
a stranger. It also costs a lot of money for fuel and there is some risk involved, not to mention wear
and tear on the towing boat. You never know who is on the other end of the towline and what their
abilities are. Our Lake Erie plan costs less than $9 per month! So we ask you, why inconvenience another
boater when the cost of help is so inexpensive?
Q. I belong to one of the other national towing company plans. Do
you respond for either of them?
A. Yes and
no. MARINE ASSIST is the ONLY local marine
towing and salvage company for the Lake Erie southern basin. So MARINE ASSIST will respond to anyone's
call for assistance, but we will not direct bill either of the other two national companies for our
services. You will have to pay us when complete and then contact your towing or insurance company
for possible reimbursement. If you don't want any out of pocket
expense for marine assistance towing while boating in this local area, you would need
a MARINE ASSIST membership. Another question for
you. Why not support the company that actually offers the service HERE
LOCALLY where you are boating?
Q. Look, if I break down, I'll just call the Coast Guard to tow me
in for free, right?
The Coast Guard will not tow a disabled vessel unless (1) they deem you are currently in or might
become in "Distress" - a situation where a SERIOUS threat to life or proerty exists and removing you from
the vessel is problematic; (2) There is no licensed commercial tow provider available to render
assistance before the situation could develop into an actual Distress situation.
Basically, if they are tied up towing in a broken down
boat, they cannot respond to a true emergency. All calls for breakdown assistance to the Coast Guard in
the local area are routed to MARINE
Q. I am broken down
on the lake and I am just out of sight of the marina. How much does it cost to get me to the launch ramp
around the corner from the marina if I don't have a membership? Can't be much,
A. You might be surprised! Consider
these points. Can you give your exact location via GPS coordinates? MARINE ASSIST charges an hourly fee from
the time the boat leaves the dock until the time it returns to its home dock. Considering no wake zones,
time to locate you with only general information, towing at a safe speed, waiting for any traffic at the
launch ramp and then running back to our home dock, as well as a ton of other possible factors, service
time can easily add up to an hour or more... even within sight of a marina. We also charge a minimum fee
for service, regardless of how much time is involved. If you have a membership, it is all
Q. If I am on the water and broken down,
other boaters are required to stop and help because I am in distress, right?
A. Not really. Distress on a vessel is a term
associated with a threat to life. It is the same as hailing MAYDAY on the marine radio, firing a flare or
flying the daytime distress flag on your vessel. If there is a medical emergency, if you had been in an
accident, if there was a fire, if you were sinking, or any other situation that causes
a direct threat to the life of the passengers, then yes, passing boats are required to give aid to
the best of their ability and without endangering their own vessel or
If a boater is just experiencing mechanical difficulties, they are
not in distress, therefore passing boaters are not required to stop, but
many do. It is difficult to EXPECT another boater to stop and tow you in
just because your vessel is broken, out of gas or simply poorly maintained. It takes time, fuel and
causes wear and tear and may involve liability on the assisting boaters part to offer to tow you in. Many
boaters' insurance policies will not even cover them to tow in a broken down boat, due to the increased
liability and fact the average pleasure boat is not equipped to tow another boat properly. These are all
the same reasons government agency boats will not tow in vessels.
Boaters may consider other options as acceptable means of assisting
stranded boaters. They can stop and offer to call for assistance on the broken boat's behalf, take a
passenger to a marina to get assistance, and even offer to stay alongside until help arrives. Boaters
should never feel as though they are required to tow in a broken down boat, especially if they are not
comfortable with the situation or have never done it before
Q. If I am broken down at my dock, does MARINE ASSIST cover me?
A. MARINE ASSIST towing coverage is designed to cover the member's
vessel for breakdowns in open water or at other restricted locations. If you are at your home dock, a
rental dock, or other non-restricted location, you will not be towed free as part of the membership
Members needing "dock to dock" towing, also known as elective
service will be charged a discounted member rate for pre-scheduled service.
Why is MARINE ASSIST boat towing coverage such a
great value? Compare and see.
Marine towing and assistance rates across the
country are typically now running $250.00 to $300.00 per hour. These charges add up from the time the
towboat leaves its home dock or point of origin, until the time it returns to its home dock after the job
is done. This is called “portal to portal”. It is very likely a boater broken down only a few miles from
their point of departure could have a few hundred dollars in towing charges.
The AVERAGE assistance bill in 2010 was $350.00.
MARINE ASSIST offers 2 different plans to cover the expense of marine assistance
towing charges. Each of these plans covers towing, jump starts and fuel deliveries to the
What you get with
a MARINE ASSIST assistance
-Professional, USCG licensed captains
-Properly equipped and insured towing vessels
-24 hour service
-VHF base station monitoring
-Toll free dispatch number
-Multiple towing vessels in our fleet
-Covered service as many times as needed per
-2 plans to choose from to fit your needs
-Peace of mind
Compared to the other national companies.
Towing vessel stationed in Ashtabula or the surrounding
Sea Tow……….. NO
Your Insurance Company........NO
THE BOTTOM LINE...........
For $99 per year, MARINE ASSIST will tow you in or provide assistance an unlimited
number of times per year. When you need us, call us, show your valid membership card and you're done!
Simple as that.