SeaTow up.....

.....for renewal this month out of Panama City.

I have had SeaTow for 3 years, but thankfully I have never needed them.

There is TowBoatUS too out of Panama City.

Who do you have, have you ever used them, were you satisfied with the service?

Anything good or bad about either?


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Replies

  • mahiwahimahiwahi Posts: 180 Officer
    I went with Progressive as insurance and it was way cheaper for me to do their On-Water Towing coverage. Although I have read some say progressive has been pretty expensive they gave me a pretty budget deal. I have never had to use this and hopefully never will.

    My coverage for that option:
    EMERGENCY WATERCRAFT TOWING & LABOR - $2,500 EACH INCIDENT cost of option: $100.00yr
  • KayakMacGyverKayakMacGyver Posts: 1,001 Officer
    Let me tell you about my Tow Boat U.S. experience out of Panama City.....

    First, as you may already know, these services are different in every port you go out of. In some places, one operation is far superior over the other. It just depends on the franchisee in the area.

    Last year in May I broke down 15 miles offshore. No biggie, says I, that's why I've been paying for a TowBoat U.S. membership for the last 5 years (and never once had to use.) Hailed them on the VHF...nothing. Called and called and called ...nothing. For 2 1/2 hrs. I got no response from Towboat. Didn't have cell phone coverage at this point either. Hmm I said, wonder if it's my VHF? So I put out a radio check. Immediately got an answer, "loud and clear." I also got a response from someone else on the radio who said Tow Boat doesn't answer the radio..."that's odd, I thought, how else am I supposed to reach them?"Tried Tow Boat a couple more times and still nothing. Then I tried Sea Tow, IMMEDIATELY got a response. Ok...definite problem here. I was fortunate that day, as I was buddy boating with my neighbor. He was about 4 miles away and started to head in my direction. I hooked up to him and he slowly started to pull me in. When we finally got within cell phone range I put in a call to Tow Boat. We are now at the 3 1/2 hour mark. I would say that my biggest fault in this entire ordeal was not starting the tow sooner. But hey, we were out there to fish, and that's what I wanted to do. The last thing I wanted was to inconvenience someone else.

    When I finally got in touch Tow Boat, I was informed by the local dispatcher that it would be 3 hours before anyone could get to me. I was FUMING! I told them how long I had been calling on the VHF, how long I had already been broken down, and the response I got was "Sorry, it's going to be 3 hours before we can get to you." When I asked them why they had not answered the radio, they informed me that they were busy making tows and couldn't hear me. Having known a Tow Boat franchisee personally for many years, I know they are supposed to man the radio at all times for possible distress calls. Their answer was total BS to me and I was so pizzed off at the way they handled my situation I told them to F off and had my neighbor tow me in.

    When I finally got home I started making calls to their corporate office and spoke directly to their head of sales/operations. The ONLY thing Tow Boat U.S. did right in this situation was refund my money. After explaining the entire ordeal to the sales manager, it only took one request for him to make that happen.

    The next phone call I made was to Sea Tow.

    So, that's my experience with Tow Boat U.S. out of Panama City. If you go out of Carrabelle, I can highly recommend them. Otherwise, BEWARE!! The entire reason for the insurance is to have the confidence that they'll be there when you break down...I definitely don't have that confidence in Tow Boat around here.
    They Can't Us "You Should Have Been There Yesterday"...........Because We Were!
  • hewes18hewes18 Posts: 757 Officer
    Tow Boat will have my family's business for a lifetime. I've been burned, not once but TWICE by Sea Tow.

    Before I bought my flats boat we had a small 14' skiff with an old 'rude 25. We were in the Intercoastal traveling south from Jensen causeway. The motor died out unexpectedly and left us stuck. We were fishing close to shore so no other boaters were able to see us in trouble and offer some help. We were inshore, and we never put a VHF onboard. So we used the cell, called home and had a family member contact Sea Tow. Sea Tow then called us directly, we gave them our location and waited. When we talked to them they told us they were on one call and when they brought them back they were enroute to us.

    Nearly 6 hours later, the banana comes approaching us. Hooks up to us, pulls us back to Stuart Causeway. (not 3 miles from our location). Get back to the dock and they hand us the bill. It was $690. Apparently when you call they start the clock, while they were pulling another vessel in from 10+ miles out off SLI. So we were charged the trip for them being offshore on another job to get to us (again, ~3 miles from our launch site). The captain offered us a membership and the bill would be a flat $750. Knowing there was no way around fighting the charges, we accepted and he signed us up for a year's membership. Charged our CC right at the ramp via calling their office, they left and be loaded up and went home.

    Fast forward 6-7 months later I bought my flats boat and blew the hub on the prop out, right around the same location we broke down at with the previous smaller boat. Hailed Sea Tow, they were there in about an hour and then told us there was NO record of our membership. Being I had a friend up around Fort Pierce, I called him and he said he would make the run down to bring us back. Sea Tow charged us $200 to move us no more than 1/4 mile so we can anchor up safely out of the channel (since we were underway in the channel and got stranded there).

    That was the last experience I will ever have with those scumbags. Damned PIRATES are what they are.
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  • BeckBeck Posts: 2,332 Captain
    Let me tell you about my Tow Boat U.S. experience out of Panama City.....

    First, as you may already know, these services are different in every port you go out of. In some places, one operation is far superior over the other. It just depends on the franchisee in the area.

    Last year in May I broke down 15 miles offshore. No biggie, says I, that's why I've been paying for a TowBoat U.S. membership for the last 5 years (and never once had to use.) Hailed them on the VHF...nothing. Called and called and called ...nothing. For 2 1/2 hrs. I got no response from Towboat. Didn't have cell phone coverage at this point either. Hmm I said, wonder if it's my VHF? So I put out a radio check. Immediately got an answer, "loud and clear." I also got a response from someone else on the radio who said Tow Boat doesn't answer the radio..."that's odd, I thought, how else am I supposed to reach them?"Tried Tow Boat a couple more times and still nothing. Then I tried Sea Tow, IMMEDIATELY got a response. Ok...definite problem here. I was fortunate that day, as I was buddy boating with my neighbor. He was about 4 miles away and started to head in my direction. I hooked up to him and he slowly started to pull me in. When we finally got within cell phone range I put in a call to Tow Boat. We are now at the 3 1/2 hour mark. I would say that my biggest fault in this entire ordeal was not starting the tow sooner. But hey, we were out there to fish, and that's what I wanted to do. The last thing I wanted was to inconvenience someone else.

    When I finally got in touch Tow Boat, I was informed by the local dispatcher that it would be 3 hours before anyone could get to me. I was FUMING! I told them how long I had been calling on the VHF, how long I had already been broken down, and the response I got was "Sorry, it's going to be 3 hours before we can get to you." When I asked them why they had not answered the radio, they informed me that they were busy making tows and couldn't hear me. Having known a Tow Boat franchisee personally for many years, I know they are supposed to man the radio at all times for possible distress calls. Their answer was total BS to me and I was so pizzed off at the way they handled my situation I told them to F off and had my neighbor tow me in.

    When I finally got home I started making calls to their corporate office and spoke directly to their head of sales/operations. The ONLY thing Tow Boat U.S. did right in this situation was refund my money. After explaining the entire ordeal to the sales manager, it only took one request for him to make that happen.

    The next phone call I made was to Sea Tow.

    So, that's my experience with Tow Boat U.S. out of Panama City. If you go out of Carrabelle, I can highly recommend them. Otherwise, BEWARE!! The entire reason for the insurance is to have the confidence that they'll be there when you break down...I definitely don't have that confidence in Tow Boat around here.

    Not good when your tow service won't answer the radio......


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  • quartertymequartertyme Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    I have been a sea tow member since inception and I think it's the "franchisee" that is the problem, just like any business....my experience has always been positive...last year my boat broke in Choctawhatchee Bay near Santa Rosa Beach...I called and they dispatched immediately, it took about 45 mins to an hour because the headquarters is in Ft. Walton Beach but they were there and hauled me in at NO CHARGE......A no brainer for $149.00 a year......plus you can get towing insurance if you get a blown tire on the trailer...wouldn't be without it.
  • BeckBeck Posts: 2,332 Captain
    I have been a sea tow member since inception and I think it's the "franchisee" that is the problem, just like any business....my experience has always been positive...last year my boat broke in Choctawhatchee Bay near Santa Rosa Beach...I called and they dispatched immediately, it took about 45 mins to an hour because the headquarters is in Ft. Walton Beach but they were there and hauled me in at NO CHARGE......A no brainer for $149.00 a year......plus you can get towing insurance if you get a blown tire on the trailer...wouldn't be without it.

    That's good info.....that area of the bay is by the house. I have wondered if they would come that far.

    I decided to renew with Sea Tow. I paid my renewal last week. I got the trailer care too......I figured it might be worth it trail erring back and forth to Georgia.


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  • KayakMacGyverKayakMacGyver Posts: 1,001 Officer
    Had use sea tow last weekend. I was out by the Chickasaw when started having fuel delivery issues. This was on Friday (6-1). If you were out there or anywhere near the pass, you know how bad it was. Well, I called for my tow, instantly got a response, and dispatch had someone there in 30 minutes. True 6-8 footers in the pass as it was a ripping outgoing tide coupled with the already rough 3-5's.

    I tipped the captain a little bit for his quick response and professionalism....

    They already had my business, but just earned it for as long as I live in Panama City.
    They Can't Us "You Should Have Been There Yesterday"...........Because We Were!
  • BeckBeck Posts: 2,332 Captain
    Had use sea tow last weekend. I was out by the Chickasaw when started having fuel delivery issues. This was on Friday (6-1). If you were out there or anywhere near the pass, you know how bad it was. Well, I called for my tow, instantly got a response, and dispatch had someone there in 30 minutes. True 6-8 footers in the pass as it was a ripping outgoing tide coupled with the already rough 3-5's.

    I tipped the captain a little bit for his quick response and professionalism....

    They already had my business, but just earned it for as long as I live in Panama City.

    You get the the bugs out of the new boat?

    I have been thru the pass a couple times when it is like that......makes my **** pucker in my skiff! Have to get on the back of one of those wave and surf it in. I bet it was interesting towing thru it too.


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  • KayakMacGyverKayakMacGyver Posts: 1,001 Officer
    Pretty much have all the kinks worked out. I took on a repair that is a big PITA, but the boat needed it before it got really out of control. Exhaust manifolds and Risers. They've never been changed and the boat is going on 14 years old. Lots of horror stories out there from shamrock, and other boat, owners about hydrolocking due to bad risers or manifolds.

    After pulling the risers, I'm glad I decided to do it.

    Oh, and being towed through the pass was definitely an experience. About mid way through one of the strands on his tow rope snapped....THAT got me puckered. I just kept thinking about how fast I'd be into those rocks if he lost me.

    The fuel issue wasnt serious, and I might have able to fix it on the water had it none been so darn rough
    They Can't Us "You Should Have Been There Yesterday"...........Because We Were!
  • Old DogOld Dog Posts: 540 Officer
    I have had sea tow for over 10 years. Only needed it once. Last year I was on ICW near Wetapo Creek and couldn't get the engine started. Called ST and they were there within half an hour and towed me nearly 20 miles to Cooks Bayou. I will stay with ST.
    OD
  • BeckBeck Posts: 2,332 Captain
    Seems like staying with Sea Tow was the right move.


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  • ruebenrueben Posts: 5 Greenhorn
    If I remember correctly, one's policy covers the boat, no matter who is on it. The other covers the person, no matter what boat he is on. Does anyone here know which is which?
    Never leave fish to find fish. –Moses, 1200BC
  • JimmytalkJimmytalk Posts: 587 Officer
    Ok. Not to derail...but is there some towboat usa conspiracy on these boards? This is the third thread in as many days about switching from seatow to the other.

    Very strange.

    And to answer...i have seatow, used them once, they were great other than grease on my deck from their captains boots.

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  • BeckBeck Posts: 2,332 Captain
    Jimmytalk wrote: »
    Ok. Not to derail...but is there some towboat usa conspiracy on these boards? This is the third thread in as many days about switching from seatow to the other.

    Very strange.

    And to answer...i have seatow, used them once, they were great other than grease on my deck from their captains boots.

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2

    No conspiracy here! I have had Sea Tow for 3 years and just renewed for a forth. I just wanted o see if here were some other opinions before I did. I paid my renewal last week.

    I did read some threads on THT that were oddly biased toward BoatUs though.
  • Panhandler80Panhandler80 Posts: 7,984 Moderator
    BoatUS vs Sea Tow... like somebody said, every place is different.

    I've only needed a tow once. All I can say is don't break down in the ditch right on the Bay Co / Gulf Co line. You may or may not sit there for 6 hours while Sea Tow argues about who is supposed to come get you.

    Oh, and then when it is determined that Gulf Co will come get you... have fun convincing him to bring you more than 5 gallons of gas. Speaking of which, one more tip...

    Don't let your buddy assure you that he has "plenty of gas" in the boat before heading over to St. Joe on a Sunday morning. Had to idle the ditch all the way to east bay. Got to bed around 5:00 am that morning and went to work a very unhappy camper.
    "Whatcha doin' in my waters?"
  • KayakMacGyverKayakMacGyver Posts: 1,001 Officer
    Jimmytalk wrote: »
    Ok. Not to derail...but is there some towboat usa conspiracy on these boards? This is the third thread in as many days about switching from seatow to the other.

    Very strange.

    And to answer...i have seatow, used them once, they were great other than grease on my deck from their captains boots.

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2



    If I lived in Carrabelle (Franklin Co) I'm buying TowBoat US. That's where I used to work/fish and can attest to the service. I live in Bay Co. now and wouldn't buy TowBoat if they gave me a 50% off coupon. It all boils down to location.
    They Can't Us "You Should Have Been There Yesterday"...........Because We Were!
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