There can come a time when you’re out on the water and someone could be in need of assistance, but what happens if you don’t really know what to do in regards to this situation. What happens if you haven’t towed a boat before? Don’t worry, we’re going to go through what you can do in that situation.
It’s important to be able to understand what to do if you’re ever in this situation yourself, whether you’re the one that gets towed or the one that is towing.
So, keep on reading, and we’re going to let you know what you can do in order to assist in towing a disabled boat.
Use the disabled boat’s line
It’s important that when you’re towing the boat that you’re using the disabled boat’s line, the reason behind this is so that when the tow is over they can cast off from your boat and by doing so allow you to continue to do what you were doing before you assisted.
When you’re towing, it’s important to keep tension in the line, but don’t try to get your boat on plane–that’s definitely not a good thing to do. When you’re going to be towing, you have to understand that it’s going to change your day–obviously. When you take this on, you’re going to have to go out of your way, so be prepared for that.
It’s okay to call professionals in if you’re not really sure that you’re going to be able to do it right. Just be sure that you’re with the boat until you can be sure that they have received the help that they need.
When you’re towing, like it was said earlier, you want to make sure that the line has a good amount of tension, so it’s important that you have a steady throttle when you’re towing another boat behind you.
One thing that you really want to look out for is anything that can cause chafing on the rope. If there’s too much friction, it can result in the rope snapping, which in turn causes a whole new problem that you weren’t planning on dealing with, and that’s not going to be a fun experience. To prevent this, you can put some gear on the rope, even a t-shirt will work as well. In reality, the pressure and friction of the line can cause it to snap.
If your line doesn’t have enough slack, you can put a weight in the middle of the tow line which will help to absorb more of the shock then if you didn’t have that weight.
Choose length depending on the situation
Obviously, there is going to be different weather conditions depending on the situation and the location that you’re at. So it’s important that you’re aware of what to do when you’re in different bodies of water.
For instance, if you’re in open water and there are some pretty noticeable waves, you want to make sure that you have a long line. With this, you’re going to be able to make sure that you’re going to be in-sync with the other boat. You want to be sure that you’re both in the same location. Not someone in the trough of the wave and the other boat on the crest. This could result in you having a chance of injury or other damage to your boat.
When you’re in a harbor or in calm waters, you want to be sure that you have a short tow line, this will help immensely. In this situation, you can have the boats come together and have your boat on the disabled boats “hip”. But with this tactic, you have to be sure that you’re going to have tight lines that are all around.
You also have to be sure that you have some fenders on both boats, because of the tightness of the ropes, your boats can both have damage done to them easily, so it’s important that you’re prepared with what you have.
One of the most important things that you can do is establish communication with the other boat. The reason that you’d want to do this is that way you can know what’s going on on the other boat and if there is trouble, you can help do what you can in order to fix it.
With this, you can help decide on the speed that you’re going to go, as well as where you’re headed and how you can help make the ride smoother. If you don’t have the option of a radio, hand signals are another option that you can use when you’re trying to communicate. Cell phones work as well. If you’re using a radio, you want to be sure that you’re using a non-emergency channel.
If you’re towing someone and you just go for it without consulting the other boat, then you could cause some damage not only to your boat, but you can cause damage to their boat as well.
Maintain a “Tow Watch”
When you’re towing someone, you want to be sure that someone is watching the rope, not only to make sure that the boat being towed is okay but to make sure that the rope isn’t going to get caught in your propeller, because that would be the worst thing that could happen.
Another thing that you can do is to be sure that you’ve been in contact with the Coast Guard (If you’re in the ocean). When you do that, you let them know your position, the number of people on your boat and the boat that’s being towed. Tell them the description of both boats, the direction that you’re heading the destination that you’re headed to, and when you expect to arrive.
By doing that, you want to check in with them every hour to let them know your progress and just keep them updated in case something was to go wrong. It’s better to get in contact before something goes wrong then to have something happen and you’re trying to tell the Coast Guard where you are.
This is also good in case the water gets a little crazy.
Don’t feel obligated to tow
Sometimes the water can be really rough and you may not want to risk a tow, and that’s okay. You don’t have to feel obligated when you’re in a situation where a boat needs help. You can call professionals, or even the Coast Guard if you’re in open water.
If you’re on choppy water and you try to tow, it can result in a breakage or an injury, and you’re already in a situation that isn’t fun, so just be sure that you’re in a place where you can make sure they are safe and not cause more hurt than help.
Towing can be risky. This is the same with most situations, especially if you haven’t towed before. There’s a lot of liability when it comes to towing other people. You can have the towline break and hurt someone, have the line get wrapped in your prop, get someone’s hand pinched in the line, the list really goes on and on.
When you’re out on the water and you notice that someone needs help, or that you need help, you can assess the situation and decide how you want to go about it. As stated before, you don’t have to feel like you’re obligated to tow them top safety if you’re uncomfortable or feel that you’re going to put people at risk.
In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Being on a boat in the water has some risks on its own without you having to worry about another boat and other passengers. So take the time to decide what’s really for the best. You’re not going to get banned from the water because you didn’t want to help another boat because you worried about the risks that could be a possible outcome of the tow.
Be sure that you’re personally prepared for anything that can happen on the water, especially being prepared for a tow. Learn what to do if you’re the towboat or the one that’s being towed. It’s never a bad thing to learn something new.