Is towing mandatory Is towing mandatory Is towing mandatory Is towing mandatory
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  1. #1

    Default Is towing mandatory

    Tonight at cullen park, these guys get towed in, with dead battery. I just launch with my kids and i, and i noticed they turned around then were flagging me.....we'll guess what battery died. He proceeds to tell me towboat was kinda a dick about it being he said he wouldn't come back if they back out. I told the dude it makes perfect sense. To encourage you to not come back out, so i preceeded towing him in thinking it was legally required. What should i have done? Just curious the general concensus. So, after i get him to dock or close he requested dockside placement and i said no, I'm not risking my boat due to your negligence.

  2. #2


    A boater is not required to tow another boater. However, a boater is required to "render assistance" to another boater in distress. "Render assistance" means to provide whatever assistance one can provide without putting your lives or your boat in peril. "Render assistance" can take on many different meanings depending on the circumstances. It may mean calling a towboat for them, it may mean simply standing by until the proper help arrives.
    Towing a boat can be dangerous and towing can damage either boat or the passengers. I've done it several times over the years but only after carefully considering the situation.

  3. #3


    I see i see... yea if it wasn't obvious I'm relatively new to boating (less then 5 yrs) and thought mandatory you tow another fella in. Sooo that's great to hear. I would've much rather enjoyed 15 more mins of boating with my children then have dealt with that. Thank you for your insight brother

  4. Default

    It's true that your not required to tow, but you should always go to a distress signal and see what is up. Whether to tow or not is a matter of assessing the situation. For me I never refuse a tow if I'm capable of the tow. I won't tow a boat a lot larger than mine. I will call for help if I can't and they want. I will not tow for miles, if their dock or ramp is within a couple miles I'll take them there, if not the closes marina or ramp. If they are Butt heads, then they may get left, but I'll take a lot of crap. One simple rule, be willing to tow, because if you haven't needed a tow yet someday you will. It's a pretty sad feeling to need help and watch boat after boat just cruise by and ignore you.

    An observation I've made is: The prettier and fancier the boat the less likely they are to stop and help you. It's usually fishermen, mom and pop or commercial people. The high life weekenders will let you burn. I actually had a boat on fire once and a boat load of party boaters drove right by me with their"I" phones recording. I gave them the finger and put out the fire on the motor with my extinguisher, then a mom, pop and kids pulled up and towed me in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Fremont, Ohio


    Great advice from those who have already posted. The biggest issue with towing is most boats are not built or equipped to safely tow. I have witnessed cleats being tore out, ropes breaking, and more. Most people not knowing how to tow. Best thing to do is it is a long distance tow is call the professionals. Make sure everyone is safe and wait with them for help. Boat towing insurance is not that costly and it is wise to have.

  6. #6


    it is not the law that you have to tow. but i have never refused to do it. i've been towed a couple of times. one time my oil line came loose that went to my remote oil filter and lost my oil. we were about 3 or 4 miles out of geneva harbor. we fixed the leak but needed oil. we raised the distress flag and watched as boat after boat turned there backs to us and kept going. we called my youngest son back at the campground and catch a ride and get us some oil then go to the launch and get somebody to bring us oil. he did what i asked but he asked 15 guys to drop off the oil before he got someone to drop it off. a man and his wife were going fishing and brought the oil. then they hung around until we were up and running. i was appalled at all the boats that drove by our distress flag. we could have had a real emergency. and i was shocked my son was turned down 14 times just to drop off some oil. they would pass right by us going out to the fishing grounds.

  7. #7


    i now have boatus towing and trailer assist for less than 100.00 per yr. i have been towed once when my outdrive blew. the tow was 600.00 but didnt cost me a dime. i have had my trailer towed once when i lost a wheel ob I-75 in ky. dont know what that cost but didnt cost me anything. busted a tire on my truck. called boatus and they sent someone with a new tire and put it on my truck. that cost me 175.00 for the tire and installing it on my wheel. but it cost boatus 375.00 service call. anybody that goes out without towing is asking for trouble. i wouldnt leave home without towing and trailer assist that only cost less than 100.00 per yr. my towing insurance is paid for 15 yrs with what boatus has paid out.

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