Apparently Sea Tow has new “international” services – or at least that’s what some are being told when they purchase SeaTow insurance at boat shows. And who knows, maybe it’s true that they cover the Bahamas and other areas. But me being the skeptic, I called SeaTow headquarters to find out the scoop. We always figure that once we leave US waters we’re on our own — as in self-reliance, if we’re aground, we’ll have to kedge off. If we run out of diesel, tough. And I still think that’s true, but I’ll let you decide for yourself based on my telephone conversation — or even better, call them yourselves & ask the question. 1-800-4SEATOW.
Seems that after being put on hold many times and transferred a couple of times, that yes SeaTow does have a “provider” somewhere in the Bahamas. No one could tell me where or what area they covered. In fact, it took them awhile while I was patiently on hold to even find a Bahamas map — they kept coming back saying “we’re finding a Bahamas map, we’ll be right with you”. My specific question was regarding Georgetown in the Exumas. Which they couldn’t locate on their map.
Finally they conceded that yes, they definitely have a “provider” in the Bahamas, but maybe it’s just the central Bahamas. They refused to go so far as to admit maybe it’s just Nassau, but wouldn’t confirm any specific area.
The way it works is you have to call SeaTow first. Then they’ll tell you if they know of someone who can help. If so, then you have to call that company, make arrangements for whatever you need, then PAY that company fully and get a receipt. Then send in the receipt to Sea Tow and they’ll call you to determine what, if anything, they’ll reimburse. This part of the conversation was also sufficiently vague as to not commit to anything. Hmmm….
There are SeaTow franchises in both Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, but technically that’s US waters. I was told there was no coverage in the British Virgin Islands…. or any other Caribbean island since they wanted to start looking on their map again, so I politely thanked them for their assistance and hung up.
Now I don’t know about you, but that conversation doesn’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. I’m pretty sure it’s better to leave US waters with the assumption that you’re on your own, kedging off if you’re aground, and making sure you don’t run out of gas or diesel, take extra alternator belts – heck, take a couple of extra alternators, whatever it takes.
If anyone has first hand experience with Sea Tow (or Towboat US) outside US waters, please leave a comment and share clarifying what you experienced. And if SeaTow happens to read this & wants an official response, please contact me, I’ll be happy to share with commuterCRUISER readers. THANKS & Cheers! Jan