Not every day on the water goes as planned, and an empty fuel tank, a dead battery or a mechanical issue can leave a boat and its crew dead in the water. It’s a maritime tradition to render assistance to those in danger at sea. If your buddy’s boat breaks down they may not be in danger, but they might really appreciate a tow back to dock or launch ramp.
Here are some things to consider before towing a boat in the water.
7 Steps for Towing a Boat in the Water
If there’s no alternative and you feel you can safety tow the disabled boat with your vessel, follow these tips:
1. Rig up a bridle to spread the strain of towing to two points on your boat using two dock lines.
2. Always approach the disabled boat into any wind or current to prevent drifting.
3. Once the tow line is secured, take the slack very slowly and then accelerate gradually.
4. While towing: go slow, never put your boat in reverse, and plan to make wide turns.
5. Tow the disabled boat to the nearest safe harbor or dock.
6. Make your final approach to the dock or ramp into prevailing wind or current.
7. Slowly approach the dock, secure your boat, then use the tow line to pull the disabled boat to the dock by hand.