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Apr 22 2013

BoatUS editors in April 2012

OutdriveAs with all paint projects, the key is preparation. For recoating paint in good condition, you only need to wet-sand the old paint with 120-grit wet-or-dry paper to provide tooth for the new topcoat. If there is a chance that the outdrive has ever been waxed, wipe the entire surface with a dewaxing solvent before you do any sanding.

Read more: Repainting your outdrive
Mar 02 2013

I recently had a conversation with a member regarding towing, and the question was what's the difference between a simple tow and a salvage operation,  we turned to the experts at Boat US for an answer.

They provided the following information

On the water breakdowns, running aground or other mishaps can ruin a day of boating or fishing fun.  But when the towboat arrives on the scene, do you know if the service is a "tow" or "salvage" job? If you are ever in doubt, the safest bet is to ask the towboat crew.  That's becaues there could be a big difference in the cost of each service, and it also determines who pays the bill,  says Boat Owners Association of the United States  (Boatus)

While there is sometimes a fine line between the towing and salvage, there are a few clear indicators that point to each.  "Salvage requires the existance of Peril"  to the distressed vessel or persons abroad or peril to the rescue boat or crew, or the marine enviornment,  said Vice President of BoatUS towing services Adam Wheeler.

Historically and legally, salvage is any voluntary and succesfull rescue of a boat, it's cargo, and or passengers from peril at sea.  Today the definition includes the successful avoidance of damage to a legally protected marine enviornment.

Vessels hard aground, on rocks taking on water or sunk are salvage, as are collisions, fires, breakaways or other types of immediate danger.  Salvage also comes into play when specialized equipment such as pumps, air bags, or divers are called for, even if the boat is at dock.

All TowBoatUS and vessel assist companies are committed to informing the owner of a boat, before beginning any work if the procedure will be declared salvage.  If the owner is not on board or the conditions are so perilous and the resuce of the boat requires immediate action, they will be notified as soon as possible after saving the boat.

"On the other hand, when there is very little or no peril or damage to the vessel, you have a towing situation" said Wheeler.  " A typical example is when you run out of gas or have a dead battery, and have subsequently dropped anchor to await assistance. Waters are calm, you're no threat to navigation, your crew and boat are fine and there's no peril to those on the response boat."  Of the 65,000 requests for assistance made last year by boaters to BoatUS 24 hour dispatch centers, 98% were for routine towing services.

When it comes to soft ungroundings, BoatUS members enjoy a special agreement with the TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist on the water towing fleets, which ensures that if there is little peril and no damage to the BoatUS members disabled boat and only one Towboat is needed to remove the softly grounded vessel from a shoal, its a simple towing job.  Other commercial towing companies may or may not honor this agreement.

The Costs

Nationwide, towing and soft undgrounding costs average around $600 and $800 respectively.  These are either paid by an annual towing service plan or out of pocket by the boater.

Salvage cases are usually covered by insurance, or out of pocket if self insured and are much more expensive than a tow.  Salvage continues to be the way to award a rescuer who maintains a 24 hour state of readiness  to risk life, limb and vessel for others, and often results in a charge based on the length of the vessel saved or a request for a percentage of the boat's post casualty value.  While it's a reward for extraordinary service, the dollar amount rewarded factors in the degree of peril as well as the risk to the salvor and their crew.

"There are significant expenses in operating and maintaining a professional towing operation," says Wheeler "such as Captain's and staff salaries, insurance, equipment maintenance and increasing fuel costs, not to mention capital expenses such as towboats and other specialized recovery equipment and all has to be ready to go at a moments notice" he added.

Time and circumstance permitting, Wheeler suggests that if it is a salvage job, boaters should try and call their insurance company so they may attempt to negotiate with the salvor before the operation gets underway. If circumstances don't allow this, ask the salvor for a fixed price and try to get it in writing.

Wheeler also says that boaters should review their boat's insurance policy to ensure it fully covers salvage. Some policies have high limits, high deductibles, or may not include enviornmental damage, all of which would have to be paid out of pocket.

BoatUS also suggests having a copy of the BoatUS open form yacht salvage contract aboard at all times, which assures that any salvage claim will go to local binding arbitration if negotiations between your insurance company and salvor fails. Designed to be more understandable, relevant to US laws and potentially money saving for all parties, the open form contract is available free of charge at  or by calling 1 (800) 937-1937

If your not a member of BoatUS as a NY Boating Club member your membership is half off a normal membership, go to our membership page for more details, 

Oct 24 2012

OK, I absoultely do not consider my self an expert, but I do consider the people of Boat Us to be experts, so when I came across this article I thought I would share it with you especially as I get ready to put my boat away for the winter, and am presented with having to put about $400.00 of gas in the tanks to fill her up. I have to admit that I have been confused in the past about Ethanol, but I think this is the last article I need to read about storing my boat with full tanks.  This is a press release from Boat US that I received on October 23.

Nearly full tank or nearly empty tank? That is the big question facing boaters now in the midst of preparing their boats for the long winter hibernation.  The concern is ethanol, an octane enhancing gasoline additive that has some unfortunate, harmful side effects on marine engines.  Boat Owners Association of the United States (Boat US) has some tips learned from fuel industry insiders on how to store a boat with E-10 gasoline (containing 10% ethanol) over the winter.

Read more: Ethanol and winter storage of your boat

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