Frequently Asked Questions

Membership FAQs

What is BoatUS?
BoatUS is an acronym Boat Owners Association of The United States. BoatUS is a Membership association, with over half a million Members, that has been providing service, savings, and representation for recreational boat owners nationwide since 1966. BoatUS is the nation's most powerful advocate for advancing the interests of boaters and the single source to meet all boaters’ needs.
What savings and service benefits do BoatUS Members receive?
Members enjoy over 25 benefits including discounts at boating businesses, savings with national partners, and rewards at West Marine. Members also have access to a number of service benefits like on water towing services ($50 included with basic Membership), roadside assistance, marine insurance, and boat financing. Other benefits include representation on Capitol Hill, and a subscription to BoatUS Magazine (6 issues included).
How do I join?
To join BoatUS, click here, call the Membership Department (800-395-2628), or send in $24 (plus additional towing service if desired) to 880 S. Pickett St. Alexandria VA 22304. The only information we require from you is your contact information: name, mailing address, phone, and email address. We also ask for the year, make and model of your primary boat; but this information is not required. We do not need boat registration numbers, etc.
When will I receive my BoatUS Membership card?
A new set of cards – two wallet cards and two key tags - will arrive in 10-15 business days after you join, renew, or upgrade your BoatUS Membership. If you provided an email address, you will also receive an email confirmation with a printable card at that time.
Do I need a different Membership for each boat or PWC I own?
No, your Membership and towing services follow you on any boat you own, borrow, or charter. If you own more than one boat, you do not need to register each boat with your Membership. They are all eligible for assistance up to your towing service level.
Can I have more than one name on my BoatUS Membership?
Yes, you can add the name of an immediate family member residing in the same household (ex: spouse or child). A Membership card will be sent in both names to the primary Member.
I own a boat with several people, can we have a BoatUS Membership in the boat’s name?
No, BoatUS Memberships are only issued in the boat owner's name, not a boat's name or a business name.

Towing FAQs

Do I have to join BoatUS to get towing?
Yes. BoatUS is a membership organization. In addition to 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 for over 40 years.
What is the BoatUS Towing Program?
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.
What does the service level on my Membership Card mean?
This amount 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.
What does Unlimited mean?
Both Unlimited and Unlimited Gold towing service levels provide towing assistance should your boat breakdown or run aground within the local towing company’s Unlimited Service Area. “Unlimited” refers to the amount of the bill BoatUS will pay when assistance is provided within the dispatched tower’s Unlimited Service Area; the tow would be paid for in full with no out of pocket expense to you regardless of cost. Should you require service outside an approved company’s Unlimited Service Area, BoatUS will pay the first $2,500 of the tow bill under the Unlimited Towing service level and the first $3,000 under the Unlimited Gold Towing service level. All BoatUS approved towing companies offer a minimum Unlimited Service Area of 25 miles from their home port; many offer extended Unlimited Service Areas to meet the needs of their local boating community.
What is the difference between Unlimited and Unlimited Gold?
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.
How do I know whether I need salt or freshwater Unlimited Towing?
Freshwater Unlimited Towing only applies to inland lakes and rivers (except in Florida). 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 Unlimited option.
Is my BoatUS Towing Service valid wherever I boat?
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 service area, BoatUS will provide for towing service up to your selected service level. Even if you are boating in an area that is not supported by a TowBoatUS Service Provider, BoatUS will reimburse your towing service up to your service level: $2,500 for Unlimited Towing, $3,000 for Unlimited Gold Towing and $5,000 for Commercial Towing, when authorized by the BoatUS 24-hour Dispatch Center.
What’s so special about BoatUS Towing Dispatch?
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.
What do I do if there is no TowBoatUS in my area? Can I use another towing company to tow my boat?
In areas where BoatUS is available, an authorized service provider must be used. Contact the BoatUS 24 Hour Dispatch Service Center at 800-391-4869 if there is not one in your area. Once verified by the Dispatch Center that you are boating in an area without a TowBoatUS service provider, BoatUS will authorize to reimburse your out-of-pocket expense to your service level ($2500 for Unlimited, $3000 for Unlimited Gold, and $5000 for Commercial Towing).
If I’m broken down at my dock, does my BoatUS Towing Service still work for me?
BoatUS Towing Service is meant for tows resulting from breakdowns at sea or at restricted use docks. 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 pre-existing conditions or tows from a home dock or mooring in the first 30 days of Membership.
What is the difference between Towing and Salvage?
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 refloat 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.
Does BoatUS Towing Service apply if I am a guest on a friend’s boat?
If the owner of the boat is present, regardless of who is at the helm, the owner would be responsible for having the appropriate towing service, not the guest Member on board. BoatUS towing provides for any instance the Member is considered the Captain and responsible for the care and control of the boat (owns, borrows, or charters).
If a friend or a family member borrows my boat and it breaks down, can they use my Membership?
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.