Sea Tow Membership Agreement
Benefits and regulations in this Membership Agreement supersede all prior versions.
Sea Tow is organized into three tiers with each having a different function.
Sea Tow Services International Inc.: The corporate headquarters, located in Southold, N.Y., is responsible for the administration of the Sea Tow worldwide membership program and the development of the network of franchisees who assist its members.
Sea Tow Franchisee: Each Sea Tow franchisee is the independent owner of a large geographic area of responsibility (AOR). . Depending upon the membership demands, each franchisee may employ multiple captains and vessels and operate out of multiple ports within that AOR. When a Sea Tow member joins our program, that member is generally assigned to a specific franchisee's AOR.
Sea Tow Captains: All Sea Tow Captains are highly trained professionals with years of boating experience. All Sea Tow captains meet the high standards of the United States Coast Guard and are licensed Merchant Marine Officers. In the event that the covered vessel becomes disabled and needs assistance towing in an AOR, a Sea Tow Captain will respond to assist you on the water.
- Membership Program
Sea Tow Gold Card: This card provides membership benefits for any recreational vessel that has an engine and is registered to or owned by the member (covered vessels). Any person operating a covered vessel is entitled to receive membership benefits for that vessel. The Gold Card member may also use his/her privileges on any vessel he/she charters, rents, leases or borrows. One of the member's vessels must be identified as the primary vessel.
Sea Tow Lake Card: This card provides Gold Card membership benefits on the specific inland body of water where the member's home port for their primary vessel is located. The Lake Card is designed for those members who boat solely on a single specific inland body of water 100 percent of the time. For a listing of Sea Tow locations that offer the Lake Card option, as well as the specific inland body of water each of those participating locations serve, please refer to seatow.com.
Sea Tow Corporate Card: This card is designed for members who have their recreational vessel registered under a corporate name. The Corporate Card covers the primary vessel only. Any person operation the primary vessel is entitled to receive membership benefits for that vessel.
Sea Tow Commercial Card: This card provides service for commercial vessels. The Commercial Card covers the primary vessel only. Any person operating the primary vessel is entitled to receive all membership benefits for that vessel at $100 per hour.
Sea Tow Professional Mariner Card: If you make your living on the water, this card is for you. The Professional Mariner Card is a service package for individuals who regularly use multiple vessels in the performance of their maritime duties such as: yacht delivery captains, on-water instructors, etc. Any vessel the member is operating and is the master of, is entitled to receive membership benefits for that vessel, except for Dock-to-Dock Tows.
- Areas of Service
Home Area Tows: All members are entitled to 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.
Multiple Area Towing: All members out of their home area will be towed by Sea Tow to the dock or facility that will best facilitate the repair or transportation of their boat, or to their home port if it is in the adjacent Sea Tow area.
Universal Towing Coverage: In areas where Sea Tow is not yet operating, Sea Tow will assist in arranging, and will reimburse for, assistance towing up to $225 per hour, not to exceed $5000 PER INCIDENT, to the dock or facility that will best facilitate the boat's repair or transportation, with no annual aggregate limit. You must use a USCG licensed professional tower, pay the bill and submit a copy of the invoice to Sea Tow Services International for reimbursement at Post Office Box 1178 Southold, New York 11971. Reimbursement requests must be postmarked within 60 days of service received. Tows and hourly rates in excess of $225 per hour will not be paid without prior authorization.
- Service Contract Privileges
Towing Services: Sea Tow will provide one vessel for assistance towing, or other
covered service, to your covered vessel if it becomes disabled while away from your 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 on scene service at no additional charge to the member except for fuel, parts or non-covered services used (e.g. diver, salvage, special unusual requests). If the problem can not be resolved on scene, Sea Tow will tow the covered vessel.
Ungroundings: Sea Tow will provide free ungrounding assistance to covered vessels when all five of the following conditions apply, namely that the vessel: is in a stable, safe condition, is not in dangerous surf or inside a dangerous surf line, is surrounded by water on all sides, has some movement (i.e. rocking), and can be refloated upon initial arrival or at the next high tide in 15 minutes or less by one Sea Tow boat. Ungroundings that do not meet the foregoing criteria are considered salvage services and are invoiced to the member as such.
Dock-to-Dock Tows: If the primary vessel is disabled at a safe port in your home area, Sea Tow will tow you to your home port at no charge. If the primary vessel is disabled at your home port, Sea Tow will arrange a tow within your home area, at no charge. In all cases the tow will be scheduled during off-peak hours and the member must be aboard the vessel. Dock-to-Dock Tows are not normally covered within the first 30 days after membership activation. Hauling vessels out for the season and due to impending bad weather are not covered.
- Limitations and Reservations
Mayday Situation: Sea Tow and Sea Tow captains reserve the right to delay response to members in order to provide assistance to vessels in grave or imminent danger.
Severe Weather: Sea Tow reserves the right to decline or delay service due to severe or dangerous weather conditions. In such cases, the Coast Guard may be notified by Sea Tow and requested to respond.
Jump Start: For safety reasons, Sea Tow will not provide jump starts at home ports. On-water jump starts are at the discretion of the captain and only if they can be performed safely.
Non-towing Assistance Items: Items such as fuel, parts, de-watering pumps, SCUBA divers, haul-outs, etc., are not covered by the membership program.
Heavy Traffic: Sea Tow members always receive priority service. However, on days of heavy boating traffic, member calls will be handled in the order they are received.
Salvage operations: Salvage operations are not covered by the membership. Vessels wrecked, beached, on fire, taking on water, in the surf or surf line, sinking or sunk are not covered by the membership.
Disentanglements: Disentanglements are at the discretion of the captain and will be completed to the best of his/her ability. In some cases a tow may be safer. If a diver is used, there will be a charge for their time.
Pre-existing Problems: A membership applicant guarantees that the covered vessel(s) will be reasonably maintained and in reasonable working order when he/she joins. Therefore, pre-existing problems are not covered under one's membership. This applies to new memberships and any changes in primary vessel information.
Refunds: Refunds, less a processing fee of $15, will only be provided within 30 days of membership activation provided no membership services have been rendered. After 30 days remaining time on membership is transferable.
Insurance: Towing charges as part of an insurance claim such as a salvage operation, wreck removal or the towing portion of a damage claim covered by a hull insurance policy are not covered member privileges. Any payment provided by an insurance company to the member for services rendered by Sea Tow is payable to Sea Tow.
Activation: All memberships activate 24 hours from receipt of payment. Any expired membership will have a reactivation period of 24 hours once payment is received. Membership benefits expire with membership expiration.
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 is not responsible for the actions of providers who have no pre-existing written contractual relationship with Sea Tow.
Changes to Primary Vessel: It is the member's responsibility to immediately contact Sea Tow and inform them of any changes to the primary vessel information, including, but not limited to, home port, ownership, and vessel information. Changes are effective 24 hours after Sea Tow is notified.
Second Sea Tow Boat: If the use of a second towboat is required, the member may be charged for the services rendered by the second towboat.
Proof of Ownership: Evidence of ownership by registration, documentation or bill of sale must be provided at time of service. If such evidence is unavailable, and not provided to Sea Tow within 24 hours, you may be charged for services rendered.
Boats Over 65 Feet: Service is not available in all areas. If a second towboat is required the member may be charged for services rendered by the second towboat.
Lake Card Membership: Multiple Area Towing and Universal Towing Coverage benefits do not apply.
If your vessel is aground in a marine sanctuary or other protected area, you may be responsible for additional charges.
Members are limited to one tow (or alternative to tow) per incident.
Services provided by Sea Tow are not part of an insurance policy and do not provide for any liability or damages arising out of injury to persons, boats or property.
Sea Tow reserves the right to withdraw any membership for abuse of privileges without reimbursement. This includes misrepresentation of vessel condition, excessive towing, fraud, intoxicated operation or lack of upkeep and care of the vessel, or abuse of Sea Tow personnel.
The following terms are defined in order to help members understand the privileges that a Sea Tow membership offers.
Assistance Towing: Non-emergency assistance provided to a disabled vessel (definition from the Federal Register 1988).
Charter/Rent/Lease/Borrow: Use of a chartered, rented, boat club or borrowed vessel by the member with the permission of the vessel's registered owner, where the member is the master of the vessel (has care, custody and control) and the registered owner of the vessel is not on board (i.e. membership privileges do not apply if the member is only a guest on the vessel).
Commercial Vessel: Any vessel, with an engine, that is commercially registered or being used in a commercial manner, including, but not limited to: charter, rental, boat club, fishing, dive, survey, law enforcement, crew boats, water taxis, professional race boats, or other working vessels.
Covered vessel: Any vessel covered by a Sea Tow membership type: Gold Card, Lake Card, Corporate Card, Commercial Card or Professional Mariner card.
Dangerous surf: Breaking waves on shore, on a shoal, or in an inlet (typically due to adverse current) that threaten the safety of either the member's vessel or the Sea Tow vessel.
Disabled Vessel: A vessel which, while being operated, has been rendered incapable of proceeding under its own power and is in need of assistance.
Disentanglement: Removal of a line, rope, or other foreign object from the underwater running gear of a disabled vessel.
Fuel Transfer: Delivery of gasoline or diesel fuel to disabled vessel.
Home area: The large geographic area of responsibility (AOR) that a Sea Tow franchise covers that will include your home port.
Home port: A member's specified marina, yacht club, pier, launching ramp, dock or mooring.
Incident: Any event or series of events arising from the same occurrence.
Jump Start: Starting a disabled vessel's engine by attaching an outside power source to the starting circuit by means of cables.
Member: The specific person named on the Sea Tow membership card, to whom the primary vessel is registered, or is owned by.
Primary Vessel: The named, or otherwise identified, specific vessel to which select membership privileges apply. Proof of ownership by the member is required.
Recreational Vessel: Any vessel, with an engine, that is not commercially registered or being used in a commercial manner.
Safe Port: One that can accommodate the safe mooring of your vessel and has available a means of communication (definition from 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).
- Bahamas, Mexico and Canada Service
Sea Tow reserves the right to modify or terminate this policy at any time without notice.
In all cases the member or a designated representative must be aboard the vessel.
Vessels disabled in the Bahamas, Mexico or Canada will be serviced in accordance with the Sea Tow Membership Agreement.
Total coverage provided under Universal Towing Coverage is limited to USD $225 per hour or $5,000.00 per incident, whichever is less. The member is responsible for any additional charges, including but not limited to, dockage while the tow is arranged, flying guests, passengers or themselves to and from the United States, customs fees, etc..
Vessels will be towed to the United States only from a safe port upon prior arrangement. Vessels will not be towed during periods of storms or conditions that could deteriorate or endanger the vessel, captain, crew or passengers of the towed vessel. The Sea Tow captain will, in his sole discretion, decide when to perform the service.
Tows to the United States will only be performed Monday through Friday by prior arrangement. Due to heavy service, we will not schedule any service to the United States on a Saturday or Sunday. All vessels being towed from a foreign port must clear U.S. Customs or other as U.S. law indicates. All U.S. Customs, Bonding, Agent or other costs for the tower and the member are the responsibility of the member. Stand-by time of the towboat caused by Customs delays will be the responsibility of the member and invoiced per the franchise's rate card. Sea Tow reserves the right to fly in parts or personnel to effect repairs in lieu of towing or to place personnel on board the vessel to assist in towing.
Vessels that cannot be serviced in the nearest Bahamas facility at Marsh Harbour, Nassau or Freeport, and require a tow back to the United States, must make arrangements with the local franchise, their home area franchise or Sea Tow Services International. These vessels may only be towed to commercial ports in the United States. Vessels may be towed from West End, Grand Bahama Island to Lake Worth Inlet, West Palm Beach, FL, Fort Pierce Inlet, Fort Pierce, FL or from Bimini to Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, FL or Port of Miami, Miami, FL. In lieu of towing the vessel, it may be shipped via freighter to the United States. member is responsible for arrangements and Customs fees and paperwork; Sea Tow will pay freight charges only.
MEXICO & WEST COAST
When possible, vessels will be towed back to the United States from Ensenada, Mexico to the closest port allowed by U.S. Customs. All arrangements must be via Sea Tow San Diego or Sea Tow Services International. All other vessels south of the United States border will be serviced according to the Universal Towing Coverage policy.
MEXICO & EAST COAST
All vessels will be serviced according to the Universal Towing Coverage policy.
All vessels will be serviced according to the Universal Towing Coverage policy.