I have to arrange for a 68 foot yacht to be towed about 100 miles from one port to another in coastal Maine.
Have talked to a local SeaTow guy, who said he has a 50ft. Ocean sportfish boat with twin 6V-71’s that could do the tow, and he quoted a price. I asked him if the vessel was documented for towing, and he said no it wasn’t, that he is insured for towing with it, and that he didn’t need to have it documented for towing. I told him my understanding is that if a vessel being used to tow another is over 26 ft. in length it needs to be documented for towing. And as such it would need to be operated by a Master with MOTV.
Technically, the vessel should be documented for the “coastwise trade” (not pleasure or fishing), but as far as I know, there is no such thing as a towing endorsement on a vessel’s USCG documentation.
Technically, a MOT (probably with an ocean or coastwise route) would be required. I expect that the typical “SeaTow guy” probably has an inland license with an assistance towing endorsement.
Generally, when a fisherman or a pleasure boat tows a pleasure boat like this, most people just look the other way and hope for the best.
Maybe you could cast the lines off and drift out into the harbor, before calling the SeaTow guy on the radio for “assistance,” and it might then be an arguably legal instance of “assistance towing.” You’d probably get by with that as long as nothing goes wrong, but it would not stand up to any scrutiny.
If you, or the vessels insurance company, require everything to be by the book, call a tug company — but be prepared to pay tug rates.
Is the vessel normally able to move under it’s own power and currently disabled? If so, an assistance towing company such as Sea Tow should be able to the job legally. Per 46 CFR 10.107 “Assistance towing means towing a disabled vessel for consideration.” and “Disabled vessel means a vessel that needs assistance, whether docked, moored, anchored, aground, adrift, or underway, but does not mean a barge or any other vessel not regularly operated under its own power.” I read that as, so long as it is disabled (I.E. normally operates under its own power but currently cannot), even if it is at a dock it falls under the Assistance Towing category. Then the only requirement per USCG would be that person operating the assistance towing vessel must be properly licensed for the route.
[QUOTE=Traitor Yankee;84569]Call Mitchell towing and salvage in new Bedford mass, he specializes in towing yachts, tall ships, and other delicate things. Pm me for the number.[/QUOTE]
Thanks for that, I know Charlie and love the JAGUAR, real nice Gladding Hearn boat that could do the job … deadheading here and back could be real expensive, though.
[QUOTE=dredgeboater;84587]Is the vessel normally able to move under it’s own power and currently disabled? If so, an assistance towing company such as Sea Tow should be able to the job legally. Per 46 CFR 10.107 “Assistance towing means towing a disabled vessel for consideration.” and “Disabled vessel means a vessel that needs assistance, whether docked, moored, anchored, aground, adrift, or underway, but does not mean a barge or any other vessel not regularly operated under its own power.” I read that as, so long as it is disabled (I.E. normally operates under its own power but currently cannot), even if it is at a dock it falls under the Assistance Towing category. Then the only requirement per USCG would be that person operating the assistance towing vessel must be properly licensed for the route.[/QUOTE]
Yes, sir, thanks for that, I have just finished reading up on the CFR’s and from the Towmasters blog, and came to the same conclusion you have. It will be assistance towing because it is for a yacht that normally moves under it’s own power and cannot currently. I was erroneous in my thinking of what I understood the standards and rules and regs to be for towing.
You need an appropriate license to operate an Assistance Towing Vessel of ANY size (less than 200GRT license must have assistance towing endorsement). For a towing vessel you do not need any license under 26ft and MOTV over 26ft.
Go with the SeaTow guy. You don’t need a tug company for this. Just silly.
and this “The “Commercial Assistance Endorsement” is good for vessels up to 26 ft. If the tow vessel is greater than 26 ft the operator must have an actual Towing License not just the assistance endorsement.” is incorrect. Two different animals. If you were hiring seatow to tow a barge it would be a different story.
I’ve worked in commercial assistance towing (for a decade) and as an MOTV (currently).
It all depends on the owners and insurance company. If it were my boat, I’d just hire someone like Jim or a fisherman with local knowledge and a good boat and get it done. If the owners or the insurance company want everything by the book and they are willing to pay for it, then that’s a different story. If you are a hired consultant, don’t stick you neck out too far (and what about your liability insurance?)
Personally, I would have a lot of reservations about the typical “SeaTow guy” (regardless of the licensing and insurance issues), and reservations about being towed by an old sportfisherman powered by 6-71’s for a rough weather voyage in November. If I wanted a properly licensed guy, I’d check to make sure that the SeaTow guy is properly licensed for the route, that he has experience with November weather, and that he has local knowledge along that rock strewn route.
I haven’t looked at the chart and my memory of that area is a little rusty, but the sensible route for November is: from Northeast Harbor out through the Western Way, west across Bass Harbor Bar, through Eggemoggin Reach and across Penobscot Bay to Rockland (that’s about 50 miles); then from Rockland down the Muscle Ridge Channel, and if necessary wait at Port Clyde for weather (that’s about 25 miles); then either an outside route past Burnt Island, Seguin Island, and Halfway Rock, to Portland (50 miles), or an inside route across Muscongus Bay and via Boothbay Harbor (60 miles).
It might make sense to find one small boat with local knowledge to tow you inside to Rockland, and another bigger boat to tow you outside from Rockland to Portland.
There is a fleet of about a dozen small trawlers at Port Clyde who aren’t doing much because of fishing restrictions. There is no shortage of MMA graduates with a 3rd mate/MOT license (if you think you need that) in any Maine harbor.