Helping Other Boaters, What You Should Know

With the busy holiday weekend coming up the waterways will be packed. Chances are someone is going to come across someone on the water needing help. With so many boats on the water, there will be a fair share that have motor trouble and look to a fellow boater for some help. Here is a very good article we received from Boat US. Take a moment to read before you hit the water.

Good Samaritans Tossing A Towline: For Free or for Money?
Tips on How to Help a Boater in Need of a Tow

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 5, 2014 – Tossing a towline to a disabled boat and bringing it back safely to the launch ramp is a time honored act of kindness that recreational boaters have always done for each other. But what happens if the Good Samaritan tossing the line decides to charge for their services? Is there much of a difference between a Good Sam looking for a little extra gas money and a professional towing service charging for on water towing services?

According to Boat Owners Association of The United States , once money changes hands for a routine tow, a Good Sam is opened up to a world of liability they may not want in their lap. Accepting money also requires a mariner’s credential such as a Captain’s license ? and would require commercial registration of the towing vessel.

While Boat Owners Association of The United States offers the largest on water towing fleet in the US, it understands the law of averages: There are 12 million registered recreational vessels in the nation and some are bound to breakdown. In 2013, the BoatUS 24-hour dispatch centers alone received 70,000 requests for on water assistance, and the boat owners group says there are likely thousands of Good Samaritans each year lending a helping hand to other boaters. Said BoatUS Towing Services Vice President Adam Wheeler, Towing is a job best left for the professionals, but many boaters often find themselves in areas where professional assistance is not available."

While Good Samaritan laws vary from state to state