A day out on the water is a day well spent, but even the most seasoned boaters will admit – the unexpected can happen. Some will chalk it up to a faulty fuel gauge, others might blame it on the wind, but it’s safe to say, Sea Tow Captains have seen their fair share of preventable mishaps.

Here are four of the most common mishaps boaters face and how you can avoid following in their wake.

Mishap #1: Running Out of Fuel

Know your average fuel burn per hour and track the hours of use in between fill-ups. Understand that there are several things that can affect your fuel efficiency, like how much you bring on board and the water conditions alone. Be sure to refuel safely before you leave the dock and always follow the rule of thirds… 1/3 of your fuel to your destination, 1/3 back home, and 1/3 in reserve.

Mishap #2: Dead Battery

If you find yourself with a dead battery, there are a few things to check first. Is the engine cutoff switch attached? It often gets disconnected when at anchor, especially with multiple passengers aboard. How are the battery connections? Make sure the ground wire and all connections are tight with no corrosion to get the engine to crank over. Some boats have backup batteries; make the switch if one battery does not work. If all else fails, time for a jump.

Mishap #3: Uncharted Waters

Navigational errors happen. Choppy waters can push you far from course and the weather can turn and put a damper on your day. Always check the forecast before pushing off the dock. Read up on and familiarize yourself with your destination, especially if you’re heading to a new area. Heading out at night? There’s even more to consider. Bottom line, plan ahead so you don’t find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable.

Mishap #4: What Backup Plan?

No one ever plans on getting stuck out on the water. That’s where Sea Tow comes in. In addition to a boat insurance policy, boaters should have an on-water assistance membership. It’s peace of mind knowing that there is a local Captain ready to assist 24/7 with no claims to file for the service you receive. Unlimited boat towing within your home area, jump starts, ungroundings, and more, Sea Tow is one card with all kinds of help.

Keep these mishaps in the back of your mind next time you head out, it could be the difference maker in your day.



As the premier leader in on-water boating assistance, Sea Tow members receive the most comprehensive benefits available. Membership includes a full suite of on-water assistance services for every boat you own, rent or bareboat charter. Learn more about our membership options today. To find the Sea Tow closest to you, use our service locator or call our Customer Care Team at 800-4-SEATOW.

Sea Tow Team

Sea Tow has been the premier leader in on-water boating assistance since 1983. We want to share news, press, tips and all things boating.

You might also be interested in...

It’s been another busy summer on the water. With an estimated 100 million Americans boating…

Photo courtesy of Grady-White Boats. Exactly what is a float plan? you ask. In its…

"Safety is paramount to everything we do." When you're working on the water, it all…

Every year on April 6th, ACR Electronics, Inc. celebrates 406 Day to help raise awareness…

Every boater needs the proper emergency distress equipment on board their vessel. As a new…