Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. BoatUS is a Membership organization. In addition to receiving towing services, you will be part of the world’s largest association of over half a million recreational boaters which has provided savings, services, and representation on Capitol Hill to our members for over 40 years.

It is a promise by the Association to provide excellent Member satisfaction, assistance and towing services (which entails 24-Hour Dispatch, On the Water Towing, battery jumps, fuel deliveries, and soft ungroundings) without charge up to a Member's specified service level. The BoatUS Towing Program provides nationwide assistance as TowBoatUS in the eastern US and VESSEL ASSIST in the western US.

Both are trademarks of BoatUS. TowBoatUS is the service provider in the eastern US, Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico and VESSEL ASSIST is the service provider in the western US. If you are confused as to which company services your area, please call our 24 Hour Dispatch Service Center at 800-391-4869 or click here.

It represents the amount that BoatUS will pay for provided services. It is not a deductible. You are responsible for all charges in excess of your chosen service level.

Both unlimited tows service levels provide for towing assistance should your boat breakdown on the water or run aground and require assistance within the local towing companies Unlimited Service Area. In such an event the tow would be provided for in full with not out of pocket expense to you. All BoatUS approved towing companies offer a minimum Unlimited Service area of 25 miles from their homeport. Many offer extended Unlimited Service Areas to meet the needs of their local boating community. Your local towing company’s Unlimited Service Area  can be found here. If you require service outside an approved companies Unlimited Service Area, BoatUS provides for the first $2,500 of the tow under Unlimited Service Level.

In the event of a breakdown at your home dock or mooring the Unlimited Service Level will provide for 50% of the cost to tow your boat to a repair facility. The Unlimited Gold Service Level provides for 100% of the cost to tow your disabled boat up to 25 miles from its home dock or mooring to a repair facility. Towing Program does not provide for tows from a home dock or mooring in the first 30 days of Membership.

Freshwater Unlimited Towing applies to all inland lakes and rivers (other than those in Florida) up to the point where the water becomes “brackish” (water which includes some salt). There is no limit on the number of lakes or rivers you can boat on. If you use your boat on both Fresh and Saltwater, or in Florida, you’ll want to select  the Saltwater option.

Yes. BoatUS Towing Service follows you and your boat. No matter where your homeport is or where you keep your boat. If you’re within a TowBoatUS or VESSEL ASSIST service area, BoatUS will provide for towing service up to your selected service level. Even if you are boating in an area that does not support a TowBoatUS or VESSEL ASSIST Service Provider, BoatUS will reimburse your towing service up to your service level; $2,500 for Unlimited, $3,000 for Unlimited Gold and $5,000 for Commercial Towing Level, when authorized by the BoatUS 24-hour dispatch center.

BoatUS has the largest recreational boat and trailer dispatch center nationwide. The National Dispatch Center is open 24 hours, 365 days a year to answer questions and dispatch towing assistance. The Center can be reached by cell phone, VHF radio or via a Coast Guard relay.

When boating in an area without a TowBoatUS or VESSEL ASSIST service provider BoatUS will reimburse your our of pocket expense to your service level ($2500 for Unlimited, $3000 for Unlimited Gold and $5000 for Commercial Towing) when authorized in advance by the BoatUS 24 Hour Dispatch Service Center. In areas where BoatUS is available an authorized service provider must be used.

BoatUS Towing Service is for tows due to breakdowns at sea or at a restricted use dock. In addition, if your boat will not start while you are at your home dock, rental dock, or a non-restricted use slip, partial coverage may be available to you. By setting up the tow through normal channels; calling our dispatch center or contacting a TowBoatUS or VESSEL ASSIST company directly, BoatUS will provide 50% of the towing charge incurred to the closest repair facility, up to your current towing service level (100% if you have Unlimited Gold Towing). Of course, pre-existing conditions are not provided for at all.

Contact the National Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869. If there are no towers in your area, the dispatcher will use other resources to locate the assistance you need through local marinas or commercial towing services. Outside the U.S. tows are reimbursed by BoatUS
In an emergency situation, contact the Coast Guard or local authorities immediately.

TowBoatUS and VESSEL ASSIST are on call 24/7 during normal boating seasons. In some areas in the Northern US, the towers may pull their boats for the off-season due to weather conditions. Our 24-Hour Dispatch Center is available year round by calling 800-391-4869. They will be able to check on the status of the companies in your area.

BoatUS establishes Towing-Ungrounding as "any operation not involving immediate peril to the boat or to a legally protected marine environment and requiring only one towing vessel with lines attached to the grounded boat to re-float it or to the disabled boat to tow it." Salvage includes “any operation involving immediate peril to the boat, the marine environment or the use of special salvage equipment (pumps, airbags, dredging equipment, cranes, etc."). The BoatUS Towing Service does not provide for salvage operations such as a sinking or hard grounding. Salvage operations, including towing from the salvage site, would be paid for by a yacht or boat insurance policy, such as BoatUS Marine Insurance. More information about the difference between towing and salvage. More information about the difference between Towing and Salvage

The BoatUS Towing Service provides assistance should your boat suffer from a dead battery, an engine breakdown, run out of gas, or require a “soft” ungrounding while on the water. It is not designed for salvage operations such as a sinking or stranding. Salvage operations, including towing from the salvage site, would be paid for by a yacht or boat insurance policy, such as BoatUS Marine Insurance.

When the Member is a guest on a boat and the owner is present, regardless of who is at the helm, the owner of the boat would be responsible for having the appropriate towing service, not the guest member on board. BoatUS towing provides for any boat the Member owns, borrows or charters. Under those circumstances the Member is considered the Captain and responsible for the care and control of the boat.

Yes. A friend or family member using your boat would be provided for up to your Towing Service Level. The towboat captain would need to verify that you are the owner of the vessel and that your Membership and Towing Level are current.

Yes. BoatUS offers the Commercial Towing level which provides for the specific professional use boat named on the membership record or the delivery captain named on a Membership when in the act of delivering a recreational boat. The Commercial Towing Service Level provides for a single boat, with an engine, that is operated as an Uninspected Passenger Vessel being used in the following manner; charter, rental boat club, fishing, instruction, dive, survey, mooring maintenance, professional racing boats and recreational boats being delivered under hire. Please call 1-800-367-8222 for more information.

Yes. Towing companies begin charging for their service from the moment they get underway. Even after you are already safe and sound in your slip, the clock doesn’t stop until the tow boat has returned to its home dock. Remember to take that into consideration when selecting your towing service level. Our fleet is the only to be paid for servicing members. So they are dedicated to get up at 2 a.m. in the morning to service you!

Yes. You may upgrade your towing service level at any time during your membership year. Upgrading your towing option during the first six months of your membership year will require that you pay full price for the desired towing service level option.Upgrading during the last six months of your Membership year will be done at half price. Towing expires the same day as your Membership. To upgrade now, visit the towing upgrade page or call 800-395-2628 M-F 8-7 EST.

In this scenario, Commercial Towing is providing for the specific boat named on the Membership, as a result, the boat would be provided for regardless of who is operating it.

Yes. In addition, as with any of our towing service levels, you may also upgrade to Unlimited TRAILER ASSIST if you so desire.

Yes, if the Membership is for a specific boat. If the Membership and Commercial Towing are being purchased to provide for a Delivery Captain, then the Membership will need to be in the name of the individual captain.

TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist will be able to tow your boat for storm preparation but timing is everything. Early planning is essential. And keep in mind that you will need to pay them in full for the service. Our Towing Service Agreement does not apply to tows for 'storm preparation'.

If you have a BoatUS Yacht or Boat Saver policy, your policy may provide reimbursement of 50% of the tow (up to $1,000) to the nearest safe haul out if your boat is located within the hurricane watch or warning area issued by NOAA. This feature is not available on BoatUS PWC policies. If you have a different boat insurance company we recommend you call your Agent or Claims Adjuster to find out if they will do the same.

Due to the severity and cost volume of moving boats for haul out or safe harbor with an impending storm approaching BoatUS Towing wouldn't be able to keep the low prices of our Towing Program if we paid for tens of thousands of these tows each year.

You can submit your invoice for review by:

Email: invoices@boatus.com

Fax: 703-461-2877

Mail: BoatU.S.
Attn: Towing Department
         880 South Pickett Street
         Alexandria, VA 22304

Please remember that the BoatUS Towing Program requires the use of an approved towing company when available.  Your invoice will be reviewed with this requirement in mind. Please allow 2 to 3 weeks for processing.