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Old     (mkperceptions)      Join Date: Jan 2007       06-28-2007, 2:25 AM Reply   
Ok so I went to lake sonoma this weekend and the first day out there is a mastercraft 190 that needs a tow to the dock because there battery went dead. My boat being a 4cyl I was a little passive but did it anyways and it wasnt very far so no prob. But the driver kept asking me if i had a problem towing people, like I was in the wrong for being a bit passive. My boat is brand new and it was getting dark and I did have places to go like back to camp before dark. Last time I looked when you "ask" for a tow you are just asking not demanding. I was nice and did what I would want done for me but it just made me think. Then on my way back to the dock on sunday morning when we are getting ready to leave from your boat in campsite we see a jet skier waving at us for help. of course I could have pretended like I didnt even see her but that wouldnt be right. The boat is full of gear and people but I help get it tied to the boat and then tow it in at a snail pace because it keeps wanting to nosedive underwater. Either way if I was in that situation I would be greatfull for the help so I did what I would want someone to do for me. Just wondering about everyone elses towing experiences
Old     (ironj32)      Join Date: Jan 2007       06-28-2007, 5:46 AM Reply   
Towed somebody just last week. We were riding in our normal bay on our lake and these guys were fishing along the shore. For about a half an hour we were tearing up and down the bay boarding, throwing out big wake (fully loaded '00 XStar) and rocking the crap out of there boat. Eventually I fell and one of the guys starts yelling to me...I thought he was going to try and get us to go away. Turns out he needed a tow. I told him to "give me a few more minutes, I gotta try this trick one more time". So I did it again, went and towed him back. It was about a 15 minute tow back to the launch. We were already REALLY crunched for time...on our way there while gassing up the boat, some lady had car problems and the guy working on her car need to use one of our tools. So we had to stand around the gas station. Needless to say it was a lot of work for the two of us to just get one run a piece. Everyone was really nice and thankful though.
Old     (nickbot)      Join Date: Feb 2007       06-28-2007, 6:03 AM Reply   
i towed a pontoon boat back to their dock once...they were cool. coincidentally, they towed in my fiance's family the day before. karma man, keep it flowin.
Old     (oaf)      Join Date: Jul 2002       06-28-2007, 6:59 AM Reply   
NIckbot hit it on the head. Karma. At some point you will need a tow so help a brother out. Now we do have some rules to towing. We will want beers and if you don't have them on the boat I hope they are at your camp. Boobs are second but if kids are on the boats I don't make the request. Beers and boobs for a tow, a small price to pay.
Old     (depoint50ae)      Join Date: Jul 2005       06-28-2007, 7:14 AM Reply   
It never fails, I seem to give a tow at least once a season to a down boat. It never took too much time out of my day and I would hate to be stuck in the middle of the lake with no help.
Old     (mossy44)      Join Date: Oct 2001       06-28-2007, 7:37 AM Reply   
when towing, i have always tied up the boat from the back. however, i read that you could also tie the boats up side by side. which is the better way? is one better than the other?

i agree.....karma
Old     (michealhoward)      Join Date: May 2007       06-28-2007, 7:44 AM Reply   
Since I just got my boat i have never had to tow anyone yet or be towed so i have a question. What rope do you use to tow? Dock lines? tube rope? wakeboard ropes? Just wondering in case i ever need to tow someone or need to be towed.

I agree with the karma I would hate to be stuck out in the lake and have to try to use a paddle to get back in.
Old     (migs)      Join Date: Aug 2006 Location: SF Bay Area       06-28-2007, 8:14 AM Reply   
ALWAYS tow anyone that needs one. No questions asked.
Old     (gobigorgohome)      Join Date: Aug 2005       06-28-2007, 8:33 AM Reply   


Then on my way back to the dock on sunday morning when we are getting ready to leave from your boat in campsite we see a jet skier waving at us for help. of course I could have pretended like I didnt even see her but that wouldnt be right. The boat is full of gear and people but I help get it tied to the boat and then tow it in at a snail pace because it keeps wanting to nosedive underwater.

Was the rider still on the jet ski under tow?

Talking of Karma - we (props to Chris) towed a broken down boat back to the ramp at Lake Saguaro AZ a couple of months back. The guy was really grateful, offered us money but we said 'no, pay it forward'. Last Sunday evening we were on the way back to the ramp after boarding and we saw the same guy towing someone else. I guess he did as we suggested, paying it forward.
Old     (bazel)      Join Date: Oct 2001       06-28-2007, 8:40 AM Reply   
Out of curousity, what type of line do you use to tow other boats with? This thread has inspired me to make sure I have the right stuff, just in case. Also do you typically tie to the pylon?
Old     (extremeisaac)      Join Date: Aug 2005       06-28-2007, 8:46 AM Reply   
We towed in couple of kids who's jet ski broke down at don pedro over memorial weekend. They were nice kids and their parents were really thankfull and offered us cold drinks and lunch at their houseboat once we got there..

I always try to play the karma card
Old     (jwharan)      Join Date: Nov 2006       06-28-2007, 8:54 AM Reply   
I towed someone in about 10 min, they bought me a full tank of gas and a case of beer. So ya never know!
Old     (02wakesettervlx)      Join Date: Jun 2001       06-28-2007, 9:14 AM Reply   

I normally use a ski rope rather than a wakeboard rope, because it will give a little. I always tie to the transom, or through both of the rear lifting rings. Seems like I had to tow a Rinker before.
Old     (bazel)      Join Date: Oct 2001       06-28-2007, 9:20 AM Reply   
Thanks for the advise. It has been a while and my selective memory is kicking in.
Old     (johnsvt)      Join Date: Dec 2006       06-28-2007, 9:24 AM Reply   
This year I have towed a little fishin boat, some old i/o, a jet boat, and even a dreaded jet ski back. I don't have a problem and most of the people don't mind me towing them at 22 mph...just kidding no wake speed.
Old     (fatsac)      Join Date: Jun 2004       06-28-2007, 10:00 AM Reply   
The last time I launched at Orwood, I ended up towing a Bayliner of some sort. Granted, karma is what it's all about but I pulled him for nearly 45 minutes to the Discovery launch, landed at the gas dock and got a mere "thanks"! I didn't let it bother me but had I been in their shoes, 20 bucks would have landed in my tank.
Old     (wakeshoe)      Join Date: Jun 2004       06-28-2007, 10:05 AM Reply   
The following quote is from the Texas Water Safety Course, but I believe it is a universal regulation:

"Rendering Assistance—The navigation rules also require operators to stop and render assistance to a vessel in distress unless doing so would endanger their own vessel or passengers."

Providing a tow is rendering assistance. My understanding is it is not an option to choose to do so or not.
Old     (jdrcrew8)      Join Date: Jun 2005       06-28-2007, 10:15 AM Reply   
I agree with what has been said so far. Always tow if someone needs it. It could be you next time. I've towed and been towed in all the boats I've ever spent considerable time in.

When I have towed, I use dock or anchor line tied off on my pylon or on my old boat on the center ski eye at the transom, a straight pull is better than an off-center pull and the pull point should be from the strongest point on your boat. Three strand braided line is considerably more heavy duty and is designed for much higher load rating. I always keep some good marine line in my boat and know the very basic non-binding knots. Knots are easier to tie and get out in the thicker line.

One thing to keep in mind however, I'm not sure everyone knows this. Under inland marine regulations, when you take a boat under tow you become responsible for that vessel. That means if any damage happens, technically it is your fault. Make sure that any boat you tow is in a safe area and tow slowly to minimize any possibility of damage. Someone would have to be a pretty big jackass to come after you for doing them a favor unless you did something truly negligent but be aware. This is not to say that you shouldn't tow people in need of assistance though.

To the original point. That guy was a jerk if he was giving you a hard time about being tentative. There could be any number of reasons you would've been hesitant and to look down your nose at someone doing you a favor is bad form. Don't worry about him and good on you for offering another tow the same weekend, most people you will find are more gracious about it.

(Message edited by jdrcrew8 on June 28, 2007)
Old     (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       06-28-2007, 10:22 AM Reply   
Karma man. I tow people on my lake atleast 3 times a year. Last year my fuel gauge didn't work and I had to be towed twice. Apparently I wasn't smart enough to bring a jerry can but none the less. I always offer some cash for the pull but the person that towed me never usually takes it as well as either do I when I have ever been pulled. Yes you have the right to refuse to pull but would you want that to happen to you. It's not as if it's a car and I can just get out and walk. Rowing doesn't get you anywhere. I pull and have no real problem with it.
Old     (oaf)      Join Date: Jul 2002       06-28-2007, 10:31 AM Reply   
One item you should always keep in your boat is a Tube line with a clamp. The whole set up is less than $30 bucks and will save you more often then not. Most tube lines are $20 and have a very good strength ratio and the clamps are another $3-5 at Home Depot.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       06-28-2007, 10:59 AM Reply   
My boat stalled on the lake twenty minutes from our cabin on our way home. I'd been towing my daughter and when she fell I went around but it wouldn't restart. (Found the prob and fixed it the next day).
I stood on the bow and waved an Orange lifejacket, blew the horn, called out, and none of the boats we saw came over to check. Nor did anyone on the shore. We were not in a busy area but at least 15 boats could have seen us that made no effort to help. After two hours I finally got hold of my brother in law who travelled down to find us and we met by cel phone communication as dusk was setting in. Rode home in the dark. Three very small kids in the boat at the time. I was not very impressed by the other boaters.
I've always stopped to help and tow or give a hand. I actually enjoy doing it. It makes the world a better place.

In Canada it's actually a Criminal Code offense to not help another boat in trouble.
Old     (scanboarder)      Join Date: Feb 2005       06-28-2007, 11:09 AM Reply   
Maritime laws are international. You MUST assist any vessel in need, failure to do so is punishable by law. Not sure if this applies to lakes and rivers tho, but definately at sea.
Old     (mossy44)      Join Date: Oct 2001       06-28-2007, 11:19 AM Reply   
coach - what kind of "clamp" are you talking about?
Old     (sanddragon2004)      Join Date: Jul 2005       06-28-2007, 11:33 AM Reply   
last year, i had a guy in a malibu deny me a tow when i overheated due to a bad water pump impeller. he indicated that he was"breaking in the boat" and sped off! jack ass! 5 mins later he comes sking by with 2 wakeboarders on his line.

this was at anderson. man ive met alot er seen alot of jack @$$es at that lake very rude.

I have pulled people half way across the delta when needed.

never mind karma its the right thing to do. 20 years ago i image it was not ever a question to offer a tow.
Old     (photoguy)      Join Date: May 2005       06-28-2007, 11:37 AM Reply   
At sea you must stop & check on the situation but if the boat is in no immediate danger you are not obligated to tow them in. We have an ocean boat as well and we carry what is called vessel assist sort of an auto club for the ocean. If you are stuck 60 miles out and you think the coast guard is going to tow you in your in for a surprise. If you are on fire etc they will be all over you if your boat just broke down they call vessel assist for you if you don’t have a card 60 miles would be like $1500 ouch! Last time we towed someone was after like 15 hours of fishing pulled them off the rocks in the harbor took them to the ramp and hardly got a thank you… have lots of towing storied bottom line most people are very grateful and many times will give you gas money for your trouble.

Old     (monkey)      Join Date: Oct 2002       06-28-2007, 11:41 AM Reply   
About 50% of the times I've been to Copper Canyon in Lake Havasu on a holiday weekend, someone has asked for a tow back. Since there are always 100's of other boats there coming and going, I usually tell them I'll do it but they'll have to wait until we're ready to leave. About 1/2 of the time they end up finding someone who's leaving sooner and the other 1/2 of the time they end up tying up to our boat and leaving when we leave. We usually use it as an excuse to bum a beer... We never ask for money.

The answer to the rope question is, of course, ALWAYS USE THEIR ROPE .

I've been towed back to docks twice now myself. 1 time the dude who towed us apparently got angry about how long it ended up taking, and ended up leaving us floating on the wrong side of the dock to get the boat out of the water. We tried to convince him to pull us the extra 30 feet back to the right side, but he just flipped us off and left... wouldn't even take the money I was holding out for him. We tried to paddle ourselves back, but the wind was too strong. Thankfully another boat towed us the extra 30 feet to where we needed to be.
Old     (oaf)      Join Date: Jul 2002       06-28-2007, 12:06 PM Reply   
Steel Snap is what is called I thinkUpload
Old     (dcooper)      Join Date: Mar 2005       06-28-2007, 12:31 PM Reply   
I think it's called a carabiner
Old     (darinmg)      Join Date: Jul 2006       06-28-2007, 12:44 PM Reply   
I normally wouldn't chime in here, but I feel I have a couple points that haven't been raised. It is law that you assist, and check the situation. It is not required that you tow them. I remember an article in boating magazine a while back that touched on this very subject. Their whole point was that we live in a sue happy society, and you are risking a lot when you give a tow. Sad, but true. The other point was that it can be very dangerous.

This is my personal experience: 2 of my friends were off-roading in Michigan a couple months back. One of them got stuck. Both were in 4x4 jeeps or something similar. They tied a tow strap to both vehicles and the guy in front began pulling. The line built up so much tension that it ripped a metal part off the truck in the back and that part and the rope came through the back window and through the head rest and almost completely severed his head off. He died instantly.

There are several things you can do to protect people in this situation. The best thing to do is watch the rope at all times. The other thing is to tie something in the middle of both tow points that will 'catch' or 'slow down' the rope or anything attached to it when it breaks. There are other things that could save lives in this situation, and I am sure they could be found through a simple on-line search.

FYI: I have given many tows, but since that accident with my friend, I am a lot more careful, and always have a weight or barrier in the middle.

Be careful people.

Old     (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       06-28-2007, 12:53 PM Reply   
I keep a carabiner and a rope in the boat just for towing as everyone should.
Old     (javony)      Join Date: Oct 2006       06-28-2007, 1:14 PM Reply   
I towed a guy that was broken down on the Sac river last summer. The next day we ran into him at Crawdads and he sent over a couple rounds of drinks, not necessary but appreciated. I think helping someone always comes back around. Not as far as the drinks go, but who knows when I might need a tow. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       06-28-2007, 5:52 PM Reply   
a couple weekends ago I towed a guy in an old I/O 2.5 hours back across new melones to the launch ramp. He gave me $30 (all he had) to cover my gas which probably came just a bit short. It was Sunday late afternoon, he was way up in the cove, had I not towed him in he would have been screwed. Nice family with two small kids. It was not convenient but I felt it was the right thing to do. I always put myself in the opposite position before I make the decision. I tend not to tow jet skis.
Old     (cp3)      Join Date: Dec 2005       06-28-2007, 7:42 PM Reply   
I have never seen someone that needs a tow in so I couldnt help anyone but I have had to been pulled in twice now. First time I ran out of gas and second time the motor blew
Old     (gobigorgohome)      Join Date: Aug 2005       06-28-2007, 7:44 PM Reply   


This is my personal experience: 2 of my friends were off-roading in Michigan a couple months back. One of them got stuck. Both were in 4x4 jeeps or something similar. They tied a tow strap to both vehicles and the guy in front began pulling. The line built up so much tension that it ripped a metal part off the truck in the back and that part and the rope came through the back window and through the head rest and almost completely severed his head off. He died instantly.

That is a terrible story. I have been in a similar situation and seen how much energy a rope can have in it. In offroading competitions it is normally a requiement to have a 'sail', a piece of canvas that is draped over the rope. If nothing else an old jacket or rope/strap will do the trick of arresting the flying rope. This could happen whilst towing in boating so I'd be wary of having any metal attached to the rope. I'm sure those snap hooks are ok for attaching directly to the boat, that's what I do.

Interesting laws about being liable for the towed boat, next time I tow someone in I'll cast them off nr the dock and they can paddle their way in. Hell, I'll even lend them my paddles if need be!
Old     (mossy44)      Join Date: Oct 2001       06-28-2007, 9:23 PM Reply   
ok...i am no boy scout, so can you tell me how you work the carabiner into the equation? do you just make a loop on one end of the rope and clip the caribener from the loop to the tow point of the boat?
Old     (oaf)      Join Date: Jul 2002       06-28-2007, 9:30 PM Reply   
Caribener goes to the bow eye and the tow rope. Whether or not you make the loop yourself or it is on the rope the caribener goes on the boat being towed. The loop end goes on your boat just like pulling a skier. I have thought about the line snapping but never heard such a bad story. A simple wire connected to the tow rope and an s hook could prevent any snap back if you worried about it.

I am sure that the good Samaritan laws would protect you if you tow someone. Sue a guy for helping you. You need to get your head smashed in and then pissed on for even thinking like that.

(Message edited by oaf on June 28, 2007)
Old     (oaf)      Join Date: Jul 2002       06-28-2007, 9:32 PM Reply   
Just to clarify I am not talking about anyone who has posted here or on the boards, just a general comment about someone suing another for helping them. It just pisses me off.
Old     (gobigorgohome)      Join Date: Aug 2005       06-28-2007, 9:35 PM Reply   
I use a bridle (a piece of rope that is attached at either end to tow points on both sides of my boat). This ensures that I get a straight pull as I don't have a tow point in the middle of the back of the boat (like a ski eye).

Each end of it has a snap hook onto the eye on the boat, and the towee can make a loop in the end of his rope that is free to slide so it can center on the bridle.

I would also use the same arrangement at the front should I need to be towed.
Old     (peterc4)      Join Date: Aug 2005       06-28-2007, 11:06 PM Reply   
We towed a family in last year. It was really a hassle and took a long time but we were happy to help.
Old     (jayc)      Join Date: Sep 2002       06-30-2007, 4:30 AM Reply   
I've towed loads of people. Always hope if i ever need a tow someone will do the same.

A few years back we were riding late one evening and some old boys in a 35ft or so cruiser got it stuck on a mud bank as the tide was going out. They asked us to help them get a line to the shore so they could pull it by hand to free it. I did tell them i had 300hp in my boat but they were convinced they (4 of them) had more pulling power than my engine. I dropped them on the shore with the line and lef them to it as I had a table booked at the local restaurant. If I had more time i would have loved to watch them try to pull it!
Old     (bftskir)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-30-2007, 9:18 AM Reply   
always offer assistance as long as you are capable of helping.
towing is a bit like launching in that you don't do it as often as you might need to in order to have it careful to not get pinched by the towline or use rope that might break...

ive never had a problem towing and once towed a 29 foot cabin cruiser with a mastercraft power slot...

i also had a 69 jeepster commando and a guy got his dodge power wagon stuck down in a creek, we chained them up but his bumper was wedged against the bank, i let out the clutch and all 4 wheels were spinning and the jeep was hopping up and down and BANG blew the rear end to smithereens, popped off the cover and pieces of gears and bearings fell out...the guy got me a case of beer for my troubles...$700 for new dana44, i blew up a dana30 pretty wimpy...
so be careful pulling other vehicles...think alot about what you are doing to be safe.


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