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
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 theirs?
A. The typical marine
insurance policy has less than $500 worth of assistance coverage that REIMBURSES a policy holder for
these services when needed, and usually only pay to tow a person to the nearest port of assistance, not
their place of origin. 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 it.
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 GOLD 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
A. Yes and
no. MARINE ASSIST is the ONLY locally owned
and operated marine towing and salvage company on Lake Cumberland, and we are fully approved by the US
Army Corps of Engineers to operate in this capacity. We are the originator of professional boat towing
service on Lake Cumberland, not an imitator. So MARINE ASSIST will respond to anyone's
call for assistance, but we will not direct bill either of the other two other national towing companies
or any insurance 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 Assist to provide covered services in our plan while on Lake Cumberland,
you would need a MARINE ASSIST membership.
Another question for you. Why not support the company
that actually offers the service HERE LOCALLY, and has been for over a decade?
Q. Look, if I break down, I'll just call the Coast Guard or the Water Patrol to tow me in for
A. Wrong. There is no
Coast Guard presence on Lake Cumberland. Even if there were, 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.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and
Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) are THE law enforcement entity on Lake Cumberland.
They will not tow a stranded vessel for the same reasons as the Coast Guard; 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
KDFWR and most local 911 call centers for these lakes are routed to MARINE ASSIST.
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
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 crew.
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.
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 last year here (2019) was ~ $500.00.
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
-Call any marina on Lake Cumberland to dispatch us
-Covered service as many times as needed per year
-Multiple plans to choose from to fit your needs
-Peace of mind
Compared to the other national companies.
Towing vessel stationed on Lake Cumberland?
MARINE ASSIST….YES, 4
Sea Tow……….. NO
Your Insurance Company........NO
Cost of yearly unlimited plan?
MARINE ASSIST….. $95.00 per year,
wherever we have an affiliate service provider, salt and freshwater.
Sea Tow………..$179.00 per year
Tow BoatUS……$ 175.00 per year
THE BOTTOM LINE...........
For $95 per year, MARINE ASSIST will tow you in or provide assistance an unlimited
number of times per year for a covered service. When you need us, call us, show your valid membership
card and you're done! Simple as that.