Organization - Membership Programs - Areas of Service - Contract Privileges - Definitions -


Sea Tow is organized into three tiers with each having a different function.

Sea Tow International: The corporate office, located in New York, is responsible for the administration of the Sea Tow world wide membership program and the administration of the Network of professional towers who will assist the members.

Sea Tow Licensee: Each Sea Tow Licensee is charged with regional operation of a large geographic area of responsibility (AOR). The Licensee determines the number of vessels and the level of staffing necessary to properly cover the members in his AOR. Depending on the membership demands each Licensee may have anywhere from 2-20 Captains and vessels operating out of multiple ports within that AOR. Each Sea Tow member when they join is assigned to a specific Licensee's AOR. The Licensees/franchisees AOR thus becomes the member's home area.

Sea Tow Captains: All Sea Tow Captains are highly trained professionals with years of boating experience. Sea Tow captains are all United States Coast Guard Licensed Merchant Marine Officers. Our captains, not only meet the high standards of the Coast Guard, they also meet the professional standards set by Sea Tow International. In the event the covered vessel becomes disabled and needs assistance towing , our Sea Tow captain will be the person that responds to you on the water.

Membership Programs

Sea Tow Gold Card: This is the world famous card that 98% of our members select. It is " Your Road Service at Sea " providing on the water assistance to recreational boats, 65-foot or under, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With the Sea Tow Gold Card any person operating the primary vessel is entitled to receive all membership benefits for that vessel, providing it is not commercially registered or being used in a commercial manner.

Sea Tow Skippers Card: This card provides service to the recreational boater that regularly uses or owns multiple vessels. In addition to Gold Card privileges the Skippers Card allows the Sea Tow member listed to use his/her privileges on any vessel he/she is operating in addition to the primary vessel, providing it is not commercially registered or being used in a commercial manner.

Areas of Service

Home Area Tows: All members have unlimited assistance towing services on the covered vessel and may be towed by Sea Tow to the dock of their choice within their selected home area at no charge. No time limits, distance limits or dollar limits apply within your home area.

Other Sea Tow Area Tows: All members out of their home area will be towed by Sea Tow to the dock or area that will most facilitate their boats repair or transportation.

Universal Towing Coverage: In remote areas, where there is no Sea Tow provider, Sea Tow will arrange and pay for your assistance towing the up to $2,500 per incident, with no annual aggregate limits. You must use a Coast Guard licensed professional tower, pay the bill and submit a copy of the invoice to Sea Tow International for reimbursement. Unauthorized tows will not be paid.

Service Contract Privileges

Towing Services: Sea Tow will provide assistance towing service to your covered vessel if it becomes disabled while away from home port.

Alternatives To Towing: When conditions permit, the Sea Tow captain as an alternative to towing the covered vessel, may elect to provide a jump-start, fuel transfer, disentanglement (NO DIVER) or other service on scene at no additional charge to the member except for fuel, parts or non-covered services used (i.e. diver, salvage, special unusual requests). If the problem can not be resolved on scene, Sea Tow will tow the covered vessel.

Ungrounding: Sea Tow will provide ungrounding assistance to covered vessels that are soft aground. (See also the definition for hard aground.)


The following terms are defined in order to help members understand the privileges that a Sea Tow membership offers.

AOR: Area of responsibility, the geographic area assigned each Sea Tow Licensee.

Assistance Towing: Non-emergency assistance provided to a disabled vessel. (Definition from the Federal Register 1988)

Covered Vessel: Any vessel covered by a Sea Tow membership card, providing the vessel is 65-feet in length or under.

Dock-to-Dock Tow: A tow from one safe port or marina to another safe port or marina.

Disabled Vessel: A vessel which while being operated, has been rendered incapable of proceeding under its own power and is in need of assistance. (Definition from the USCG SAR Policy)

Disentanglement: Removal of a line, rope or other foreign objects from the underwater running gear of a disabled vessel.

Fuel Transfer: Delivery of gasoline or diesel fuel to a disabled vessel.

Hard Aground: A vessel grounded on rocks, ledge, shoal or otherwise in a perilous marine situation. Assistance to a vessel hard aground constitutes a salvage operation and will usually be covered under a vessels hull insurance or liability policy.

Home Area: The large geographic area of responsibility (AOR) that a Sea Tow Licensee covers which includes your home port.

Home Port: A member's specified marina, yacht club, pier, launching ramp or mooring.

Jump-start: Starting a disabled vessels engine by attaching an outside power source to the starting circuit by means of cables.

Primary Vessel: The named or otherwise identified, specific vessel that membership privileges apply to.

Safe Port: Is one that can accommodate the safe mooring of your vessel and has available a means of communication. (Definition from the USCG SAR Policy).

Salvage Operations: Any act or activity undertaken to assist a vessel or any other property in danger in navigable waters or in any other waters whatsoever. (Definition from the IMO International Salvage Conference 1989).

Soft Aground: For the purposes of the Sea Tow membership program a vessel is considered soft aground when the vessel's hull is touching the bottom and the vessel is not in peril, not beached, has water surrounding on all sides, has some movement, is not in contact with rocks, coral, reefs, or any other obstruction that may damage the vessel, is in calm water, free from wakes, surf, and waves greater than 1' and the vessel can be removed from aground with one towboat in less than 15 minutes.

     Limitations And Reservations

Mayday Situations: As professional mariners, Sea Tow and Sea Tow captains reserves the right to delay response to members in order to provide assistance to vessels in grave or eminent danger.

Severe Weather: Sea Tow reserves the right to decline or delay service due to severe or dangerous weather conditions. The Coast Guard may be notified in such cases by Sea Tow and requested to respond.

Jump-starts: On the water jump-starts are at the discretion of the Sea Tow captain and only if it can be performed safely.

Non-Assistance Towing Items: Items such as: fuel, parts, de-watering pumps, SCUBA divers, haul outs etc., are not covered in the membership program.

Heavy Traffic: Sea Tow members always receive priority service. However, on days of heavy boating traffic, calls will be handled on a first member called - first member assisted basis.

Salvage Operations: Salvage Operations are not member privileges covered by the membership. Vessels wrecked, beached, on fire, taking on water or sinking are not covered by the membership.

Disentanglement: Disentanglement is at the discretion of the Sea Tow captain and will be completed to their best ability. In some cases a tow may be safer. If a diver is used there will be a charge for his time.

Pre-Existing Problems: A membership applicant warrants that the covered vessel will be reasonably maintained and free of any condition that renders the covered vessel inoperable or unsafe when they join. Vessels with pre-existing problems, therefore, are not covered under this program.

Insurance: Towing charges as part of an insurance claim such as: a salvage operation, wreck removal or the towing portion of the damage claims covered by a hull insurance policy are not covered membership privileges. Any insurance recovery for towing charges provided by Sea Tow is payable to Sea Tow.

Refunds: Refunds will only be provided within thirty days of membership activation provided no membership services have been rendered within that time.

Other Towing Services: Towing invoices from non-Sea Tow providers are not covered when there is a Sea Tow provider in the area. A non-licensed Good Samaritan, marina, or other may not charge for services as it is in violation of Federal Law. Sea Tow will not offer reimbursement for this type of service, as it should be given free of charge.

Sea Tow encourages safe boating. Towing services for vessels after operator has been arrested for intoxicated operation is not covered under the membership program. "DON'T DRINK AND BOAT!"

Sea Tow reserves the right to withdraw any membership for abuse. This includes misrepresentation of vessels condition, fraud, intoxicated operation or lack of upkeep and care of the vessel. For liability reasons Sea Tow reserves the right to refuse to tow an unmanned vessel.



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