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Salvage laws

Old 05-08-2021, 05:27 AM
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Default Salvage laws

Iíve had sea tow for 20 yrs and fortunately never used them.
Iíve raised the question about a break down 100+ mi offshore once but donít remember their response. Anyone here have any experience with this sort of thing and what legally triggers the salvage law to the extent they take ownership of your boat. Iím referring to 35í- 42í CC boats that can be easily towed.
Old 05-08-2021, 05:37 AM
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They are supposed to have unlimited distance. BUT good luck with that. (*edited lol*)Are they coming to the Bahamas. The Gulf? I would hope they would eventually come.

I have seen situations.....Busy weekend. Boat looses steering 70 miles out. Communications sketchy. Tow doesn't want to come. They are up to their necks in local work. They just can't drop everything to come 5 hours out and 10-15 hours back. And if they do decide to come, and boat fixes itself halfway out. Or they can't find it. All sorts of nightmare scenarios!!

It's f'ed up beyond belief. What you should do is call their local hub and ask for specific clarification. Here in AC NJ area Sea Tow came out to rescue me 39 miles off. Reached me at 10PM. Fixed my boat and we were home by 12 oclock hour. Whenever I saw Gregg after that I tried to give him some cash!!

Last edited by Re-Bait; 05-09-2021 at 04:41 AM.
Old 05-08-2021, 06:25 AM
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I'm no maritime lawyer, but my understanding is that in order for "salvage" to be claimed (vs. just "towing"), (1) the boat must be "in peril" (and that can be loosely interpreted), (2) the boat owner must agree to have the salvor perform the services (like, you're really going to have a choice ?), and (3) the "salvage" must be successful. It is very skewed to the advantage of the salvor.
Old 05-08-2021, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by stanaland View Post
Iíve had sea tow for 20 yrs and fortunately never used them.
Iíve raised the question about a break down 100+ mi offshore once but donít remember their response. Anyone here have any experience with this sort of thing and what legally triggers the salvage law to the extent they take ownership of your boat. Iím referring to 35í- 42í CC boats that can be easily towed.
I believe a scenario of 100+ miles offshore, broken down, and adrift at sea is a matter for the CG. Lives are at risk.
Old 05-08-2021, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Re-Bait View Post
They are supposed to have unlimited distance. BUT good luck with that. For sure they aren't coming to the Bahamas. But into the Gulf? I would hope they would eventually come.

I have seen situations.....Busy weekend. Boat looses steering 70 miles out. Communications sketchy. Tow doesn't want to come. They are up to their necks in local work. They just can't drop everything to come 5 hours out and 10-15 hours back. And if they do decide to come, and boat fixes itself halfway out. Or they can't find it. All sorts of nightmare scenarios!!

It's f'ed up beyond belief. What you should do is call their local hub and ask for specific clarification. Here in AC NJ area Sea Tow came out to rescue me 39 miles off. Reached me at 10PM. Fixed my boat and we were home by 12 oclock hour. Whenever I saw Gregg after that I tried to give him some cash!!

TowBoat US will come get you in the Bahamas. I forget the max range that they will go, and itís going to cost a lot more than regular tow. Lots of surcharges thrown in.
Old 05-08-2021, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Capt Easy View Post
TowBoat US will come get you in the Bahamas. I forget the max range that they will go, and itís going to cost a lot more than regular tow. Lots of surcharges thrown in.
A Bahamian company has to tow it out of Bahamian waters.

My local Sea Tow goes as far their resources and conditions allow.

A salvor does not need permission.
Old 05-08-2021, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post
A Bahamian company has to tow it out of Bahamian waters.

My local Sea Tow goes as far their resources and conditions allow.

A salvor does not need permission.

Tow Boat US in Ft. Lauderdale will definitely come get you in the Bahamas. Says so at the website under long distance towing
Old 05-09-2021, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post
A Bahamian company has to tow it out of Bahamian waters.

My local Sea Tow goes as far their resources and conditions allow.

A salvor does not need permission.

That's not correct, tow boat pulls boats back to states all the time.
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Old 05-09-2021, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by DoubleDose View Post
I believe a scenario of 100+ miles offshore, broken down, and adrift at sea is a matter for the CG. Lives are at risk.
Seeing as most SeaTow ad TowBoatUS boats are less than 26' in length to keep them from having to be inspected towing vessels under federal law, I seriously doubt any of them have the fuel capacity (range) to go 100 miles out and tow another, most likely much bigger vessel back to port.
At least in the NY/NJ area, Sea Tow will usually not come to get you if you are more than 50 miles from the inlet, and that beyond that the USCG will tow you most of the way back to the either the closest inlet or the one they are out of and they hand you off to a commercial tower. I don't know what range the smaller USCG 33' UTL's, 45' RBM's or 47' MLB's have as we rarely see them more than 20 nm outside the inlet , but the 87' Patrol Boats regularly are out at the NE Canyons.
On the law of salvage, distance offshore in and of itself is not a triggering event - the vessel must be in imminent peril, the salvage voluntarily entered into if someone is present on the vessel and not the subject of coercion. If a tower is called for a tow and says to those on the vessel: "although the vessel is not taking on water and the weather is good now, you know you are a long way from shore and your engine has died, so unless you agree that this service is salvage, I will not be towing you back to port" even if the person signs the salvage agreement the courts will not enforce it and more than likely force the tower to forfeit the money for the tow too.

Last edited by LI32; 05-09-2021 at 04:24 AM.
Old 05-09-2021, 05:10 AM
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My local Sea Tow will go as far as their fuel capacity allows them. Obviously, bad weather eats more fuel and the size of the boat being towed effects fuel usage.
Old 05-09-2021, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Slimshady04 View Post
That's not correct, tow boat pulls boats back to states all the time.
Seatow/tow boat us in Bahamas question
Old 05-09-2021, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by LI32 View Post
Seeing as most SeaTow ad TowBoatUS boats are less than 26' in length to keep them from having to be inspected towing vessels under federal law, I seriously doubt any of them have the fuel capacity (range) to go 100 miles out and tow another, most likely much bigger vessel back to port.
At least in the NY/NJ area, Sea Tow will usually not come to get you if you are more than 50 miles from the inlet, and that beyond that the USCG will tow you most of the way back to the either the closest inlet or the one they are out of and they hand you off to a commercial tower. I don't know what range the smaller USCG 33' UTL's, 45' RBM's or 47' MLB's have as we rarely see them more than 20 nm outside the inlet , but the 87' Patrol Boats regularly are out at the NE Canyons.
On the law of salvage, distance offshore in and of itself is not a triggering event - the vessel must be in imminent peril, the salvage voluntarily entered into if someone is present on the vessel and not the subject of coercion. If a tower is called for a tow and says to those on the vessel: "although the vessel is not taking on water and the weather is good now, you know you are a long way from shore and your engine has died, so unless you agree that this service is salvage, I will not be towing you back to port" even if the person signs the salvage agreement the courts will not enforce it and more than likely force the tower to forfeit the money for the tow too.

For some unknown reason I assumed the USCG would not tow.
Old 05-09-2021, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post
That's absolutely not true, I have helped a sailboat in chub get supplies for emergency repairs to make vessel seaworthy enough for towing back to states. He negotiated with tow boat and sea tow on best price. Sea tow came across checked in and towed him home. Second vessel was also towed home from chub by sea tow. Came across, checked in and left with boat in tow.
They also salvaged a 38 ft stolper express from the islands. Owner ripped her bottom out on a coral head. Sea tow came over filled with concrete to make water tight and towed her back.
No Bahamian was involved in any of these events.
They can state what they want but it is absolutely false.
Old 05-09-2021, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post

You cite a one post thread from 2014 instead of looking at the website I mentioned.



“TowBoatU.S. Ft. Lauderdale has an extensive resume of long distance towing operations. BoatU.S. has extended our area of coverage from the typical 25 mile offshore limit to allow Unlimited and Unlimited Gold members to receive free towing from as far as 130 Miles from our home ports. West End, Freeport, Bimini and Cat Cay are all within TowBoatU.S. Ft. Lauderdale's approved BoatU.S. coverage area. The only out of pocket costs for Unlimited and Unlimited Gold members on tows from these distant islands is the cost of U.S. and Bahamian commercial Customs and Immigrations”

https://www.towboatusftlauderdale.co...g_distance.asp
Old 05-09-2021, 10:26 AM
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I was always under the impression that the coast guard would provide aid for lives at risk or where an environmental risk is present, but they do not put much effort into saving property. They will save the crew, but will not risk their crews for your vessel beyond providing dewatering pumps in safe conditions.

And an abandoned vessel is pretty much an automatic salvage if it doesn't sink first.

But something would be salvors should take note of is that salvaging (saving) a boat doesn't give you ownership to it or its contents. It only gives you a claim against it in court. You can't take all the gold reels and electronics. You can't sell the boat.
Old 05-09-2021, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Slimshady04 View Post
That's absolutely not true, I have helped a sailboat in chub get supplies for emergency repairs to make vessel seaworthy enough for towing back to states. He negotiated with tow boat and sea tow on best price. Sea tow came across checked in and towed him home. Second vessel was also towed home from chub by sea tow. Came across, checked in and left with boat in tow.
They also salvaged a 38 ft stolper express from the islands. Owner ripped her bottom out on a coral head. Sea tow came over filled with concrete to make water tight and towed her back.
No Bahamian was involved in any of these events.
They can state what they want but it is absolutely false.
They coordinate the tow tow to 3 miles out with a Bahamian company then take over. So Sea Tow will bring it back but they sub out the Bahamas portion. But what would the Sea Tow franchise owner in Palm Beach know? May not be strictly enforced but that is the law.
Old 05-09-2021, 11:50 AM
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The examples I gave there was zero involvement by any Bahamian, didn't even untie the docklines. They came into chub, went to airport to clear, came back, left with client in tow. Wasn't in chub more than an hr.
The sailboat obviously made it home because he mailed the check for supplies we purchased for him in Nassau. Proof not all blowboats are bad!!
Did tow boat just pay the customs guy a few extra for not having to do the transfer? Don't know.
Old 05-09-2021, 11:51 AM
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This isn't a tow boat bash, they were professional and fast.
Old 05-12-2021, 04:55 AM
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I broke down off of Jacksonville 50nm out. Sea tow was busy towing another boat that was 70nm out. The coast guard came out with their 47' boat and started to tow me in. Once sea tow was done with other boat they rendezvous with us and took over tow. Coast Guard pulled me at 9 kts. Sea tow hooked up and pulled me on a plane at 20kts.
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