Amongst the e-mails today was one from C-PORT, for those of you not familiar with the organization it represents the assistance towing industry (you pay we tow) with federal, state and local agencies. Here are some definitions:
- Assistance towing is defined as towing a disabled vessel for consideration (money dude!) as per 46 CFR 10.107 (b)
- Disabled vessel means needing assistance while docked, moored, anchored, aground, adrift or underway as per 46 CFR 10.107 (b)
- Consideration means economic benefit, inducement, right or profit including pecuniary payment (once again money dude!!) as per 46 USC 2101 (5a)
Now it seems local agencies and marina operators are taking business away from them. Local law enforcement agencies are performing routine towing operations and marina operators are offering towing to their customers. This seems improper even illegal to NAUTICAL LOG who by the way has absolutely no involvement with the towing industry in any way or form. Our interest are the professional and legal issues involved.
The problem we have with all this is Insurance when these people mess up as you can bet they will. It is extremely difficult, to put it mildly, to sue or get satisfaction from a law enforcement agency. We know first hand from an Investigation NAUTICAL LOG is involved with all this week. As to marinas, do you really want that summer job kid the marina sent in a rubber boat towing your private yacht. He/she may be a good kid trying the best they can but they will have no license and little or no training in towing. Not good and also illegal !!
The assistance towing people can correct this themselves, legally (!), and C-PORT can help. Owners should remember it is against federal law to hire a person to tow without that person being licenced and your insurance is thus voided - so be careful of good samaritans as well. Please note the person must hold their own USCG towing licence not the marina or company they work for.
Another point raised by C-PORT is vessel inspection. NAUTICAL LOG is firm and clear on that point - ALL vessels should be Inspected Vessels and ALL Operators Licensed - NO EXCEPTIONS. We are NOT open for discussion on this at all.
Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with all those trying to free them.