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FAQ and Compare
Why do I need marine towing and assistance coverage for my boat?

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 quit!


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 them?
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 free, right?
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 much, right?
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 covered.


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.    

  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 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 member.
What you get with a MARINE  ASSIST assistance plan;
-Priority service
-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?

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.