Sea Tow membership gives you Peace of Mind on the Water® knowing that, should you need it, our captains are standing-by 24/7 ready to help. While we do love our members, we understand that you would rather NOT have to call us and would prefer to enjoy a full, uninterrupted day on the water. That said, we got together with two of our captains to learn about the five most common reasons why boaters call Sea Tow for assistance and how you can avoid the same situations.
- Engine or equipment breakdown. “The biggest reason why we tow people is because of mechanical failure,” says Capt. Mike DeGenaro of Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor. “It all comes down to proper maintenance. That means having the boat looked over by a professional mechanic on a regular basis… and don’t forget to change your water impeller.”
- Fuel-related issues. “We always suggest a pre-season, spring inspection and maintenance on the fuel system. This means changing all fuel the filters and inspecting the fuel lines and fuel bulbs,” says Capt. Chris Ward of Sea Tow South Mississippi. “We also recommend that if you put 100-percent ethanol-free gasoline in your gas-powered boat’s tank. If you must use ethanol fuel, we suggest using a fuel additive, such as Star Tron, and using all ethanol-resistant fuel components.”
- Out of gas. “Don’t trust your boat’s fuel gauge. They’re all different. Know your average fuel burn per hour and track the hours of use in-between fill-ups. Be sure to also take the weather into account,” says Capt. Mike. He’s made fuel drops to scores of boaters who thought they had more fuel in the tank than they did. “Go by the “Rule of Thirds” – one third of the tank going out, one third to get back and one-third in reserve.”
- Dead battery. “Battery issues are our second largest call in the springtime, even on the newer boats,” said Capt. Chris. “I suggest having a marine trickle charger plugged in during winter months and installing a new battery every three to five years. Most of the newer four-stroke engines require much more amperage for cranking and the electronics. We also suggest that checking all connections on batteries are clean and tight. Remove the wing nuts that come on some marine batteries and replace them with lock nuts to ensure there’s a solid connection.”
- Ran aground. “Boaters unfamiliar with the area will call Sea Tow and ask for help with local navigation,” said Capt. Mike. “It’s great and we’re happy to help. It’s also our advice to skip the shortcuts and unmarked passages until you have that local knowledge. By staying in a marked channel, you generally don’t have to worry about shoaling or shifting sandbars.”
“Familiarize yourself with local charts and make sure they are up to date,” Capt. Chris added. “If you’re running at night, use a handheld light, have a proper lookout and keep your vessel at a safe and manageable speed. If in doubt, stop, regroup and then resume your trip.”
With these tips in mind, you can enjoy the other benefits of Sea Tow membership - like the exclusive member-only offers with more than 1,700 of our Sea Tow Savings Club® partners.