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Seatow or BoatUS Captains

Old 03-27-2020, 03:42 PM
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Default Seatow or BoatUS Captains

Im planning on retiring from my current job in about 3 years. I have a 50 ton master license and I’m interested in working for a Seatow or Boat US type company in retirement. I was wondering if there are any current Seatow or Boat US capt’s on here who could PM me and answer a few questions for me. Thanks in advance!
Old 03-27-2020, 04:37 PM
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6 year former Towboat/US captain.


Ask away here so everyone can chime in. Do you have your tow endorsement on your ticket?
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:37 PM
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Do you own the boat you tow with?

What are the shifts or how are you dispatched ?

longest tow you’ve had to make hours/distance?



Old 03-27-2020, 06:45 PM
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I did 10 seasons on the Great Lakes. Its a good job. I just didnt like the late night calls. You have to be on site. Sometimes it would be quite awhile between tows, but when it was busy, it went like gangbusters. You got to see a lot of characters and it was nice helping people.
Old 03-27-2020, 06:51 PM
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The company owns the boats and you work for the company. They are a franchise (Seatow) or licensed subcontractor (TB) of the parent corporation.

The shift are normally 12 hours in season and a busy area. Some quiet areas just have someone on call.
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:05 PM
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Feel free to pm me any questions. Off the bat I wouldn’t suggest it as a retirement job.
Old 03-28-2020, 05:42 AM
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Good sources of info from the guys above. I'd also be happy to answer your questions from an owner's perspective if you'd like to PM me.

Our industry is quite small and most of us have fun, work hard and enjoy helping people on the water.

The assistance towing industry operates quite differently depending on location (north vs south, year-round vs seasonal, etc). Where are you located?
Old 03-28-2020, 08:46 AM
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I once got called out for a 2am run to give a guy a battery jump, as his portable generator roared away powering his party lights. Pulling up to a call with a variety of drugs on the helm. 95% of the people were great though. I'm sure anyone who has worked on the towboats could write a book.
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:04 AM
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Maybe its just me but its not really what I would consider a retirement job. You get put in a lot of really crappy situations and in all types of conditions and its all hours of the day and night. Its just not a easy job. When there is a call in snotty weather you still have to hammer down to get to the call asap. Also the faster you handle the call the sooner you can move onto the next one so more calls mean more money but that also means you are beating yourself and boat up getting it done.

You will deal with a lot of interesting people some of which will make you want to pull your hair out. Some are just plain A Holes. Also if you make a mistake and scratch their boat its your ass.

Drive a tour boat or private captain. Way Less Stress.
Old 03-28-2020, 09:19 AM
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I always thought running a water taxi at Disney is the ideal retirement job.

Walking 700ft of 3/4 inch rope to a vessel aground is not easy. Especially when you get within 15 feet of the boat aground and the line is snagged on a cleat on your boat 685ft away.
Old 03-28-2020, 09:25 AM
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I could see having to do a lot of things that are just no fun. Long slow runs, boring stand by, walks in mud, dealing with complete A holes. I guess if you can do a few hours a day , maybe not so bad.
Old 03-28-2020, 10:23 AM
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An interesting subject! I've been pulled off of a grounding situation a couple of times, due primarily to trying to navigate at dusk when it's more difficult to determine water depth. That being said, the tow operator was always prompt, helpful, and courteous. One poster said he was an owner, so that leads me to thank there are franchises of one or both tow services, and then they hire others if necessary to provide the services in their agreed area? If anyone here knows how the two services are organized it would be appreciated if you would describe how they are organized and what a franchise is worth or what they sell for. BTW, some people retire at a pretty young age and are very physically capable of functioning in such an environment.
Old 03-28-2020, 02:38 PM
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likely one of the most if not the most under appreciated, in many ways profession in the marine industry
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Old 03-29-2020, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Bayfly View Post
One poster said he was an owner, so that leads me to thank there are franchises of one or both tow services, and then they hire others if necessary to provide the services in their agreed area?
Marine assistance towing businesses come in all sizes and shapes. Some businesses are small, where the owner does much of the work, and some have fleets of boats, a large staff of captains, maintenance and office staff and more. For example, I'm a franchise owner, do all the maintenance, marketing, admin and a lot of tows myself but, I also hire licensed captains during the busy season to operate my boats so that I can provide the level of service necessary to cover my area of operation.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:58 AM
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Does anybody ever work as a towboat captain part time. Maybe just on peak weekends?
Old 08-03-2020, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by tcijoe View Post
Does anybody ever work as a towboat captain part time. Maybe just on peak weekends?

Yes. Part time employees make up the majority in my opinion. Depends on the area. Since it is a 24/7 operation, good people are always needed.
Old 08-03-2020, 12:05 PM
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Thanks for sharing. How are they paid? I assume by the job? Is there a consistent hourly rate while on the job? Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I just submitted my paperwork to the CG for my master with towing today. Always thought it would be an interesting line of work, if I could do it part time.
Old 08-03-2020, 02:24 PM
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Seatow is typically by the hour while Towboat is per job. I used to get a flat daily wage and 20% of what I towed with Towboat. Each company is different.
Old 08-04-2020, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by captbone View Post
Seatow is typically by the hour while Towboat is per job. I used to get a flat daily wage and 20% of what I towed with Towboat. Each company is different.

Thanks for sharing.
Old 10-13-2020, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tcijoe View Post
Does anybody ever work as a towboat captain part time. Maybe just on peak weekends?


ive been part time for years. Work only nights in a tourist town. Paid hourly

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