5 Reasons You Might Need a Boat Tow (and How to Avoid Them)

Although boating can provide hours of fun in the sun, boats are not foolproof. Unfortunately, mechanical components can break down. Plus, user error can play a role in whether or not a day on the lake is a success.

So, what can you do to ensure your time soaking up some sunshine is not interrupted by the need for a boat tow? Many towing incidents are preventable with proactive maintenance and basic common sense. Let’s look at five frequent reasons why boats require a tow and what you can do to avoid that fate.

#1 – Empty Fuel Tank

Problem: While you might think you’d never run out of fuel, you’d be surprised at just how many boat operators end up needing help due to a fuel shortage. Boats run out of fuel, just like cars. But when you run out of fuel amidst a body of water, you can’t fix the problem by getting out and walking to your nearest gas station.

Furthermore, other fuel-related issues can cause your boat to stop functioning properly. Your fuel system is a delicate conglomeration of lines, hoses, vents, filters, and fittings. Each element serves a purpose, and even the smallest part failure can take down your entire boat fuel system.

Solution: Always head out on the water with a full tank of fuel. There are countless scenarios that might make you burn through your fuel faster than anticipated, so be ready with the max amount of fuel beforehand.

Also, don’t push limits. If you see your fuel is running low, don’t squeeze in that last wakeboard run. Play it safe. Err on the side of caution by heading back to the dock. Being overly confident could lead to your own demise. And remember, fuel gauges can be inaccurate.

#2 – Dead Battery

Problem: Dealing with a dead battery is a real headache. Many boaters that end up requiring tow services due to a dead battery have a sneaking suspicion that their battery is on the way out.

Solution: While it is true that a battery can die without any notice, batteries often give warning signs that they are fading. The outside of the battery case may begin to deteriorate or develop cracks. The battery terminals can collect visible debris build-up and appear corroded. Do not ignore such signs.

A weak battery is asking for trouble. If you notice something is off, do not attempt to get every last drop of juice out of your battery. Instead, replace that battery before it’s too late. You can even check your battery voltage level every so often to ensure you don’t set out on an adventure ill-prepared.

Also, beware of actions that can drain your battery, like leaving the radio on. Having a small jump pack on hand isn’t a bad idea, either.

#3 – Dead Engine

Problem: Engine failures are a common reason for a boat to need a tow. Boat parts decay over time, and the engine is no exception.

Engines can overheat as well. An overheated engine can disable your entire boat, forcing you to use a tow service. And if that’s the case, your engine is most likely not the only part of your boat that needs attention.

Solution: An engine overheating doesn’t necessarily equate to a malfunctioning engine. It often means other components are not working. Corroded exhaust manifolds, your water pump, hoses, or belts could be the issue.

If your boat completely stalls, using an anchor is extremely important. You don’t want to be floating away into an abyss. Also, keeping a GPS with you on the boat is helpful. If you are stranded and in need of a boat towing service, pinpointing your location can be very effective.

#4 – Failed Mechanical Elements

Problem: Engines aren’t the only mechanical component of a boat that can fail. Other equipment can become problematic, such as the transmission or drive belt.

Solution: It is always wise to take the time at least once a season to have a professional mechanic look over your boat. Regular tune-ups could be the difference between a day of ease or a day of frustration.

#5 – Sandbars

Problem: While exploring the open waters may sound like loads of fun, going into unmarked areas may lead to trouble. If your boat runs aground, it can be near impossible to escape your doom. A tow might be your only option to return to shore.

Requiring a tow might be the least of your worries, though. When you run aground, you run the risk of incurring costly damage to your boat. Actually, it’s possible to incur so much damage that you sink your boat.

Solution: Most boaters get stuck in shifting sandbars when distracted or wandering. Avoid being so distracted that you lose track of your location. Pay attention to your surroundings. Skip those enticing shortcuts. Also, calibrate your depth sounders to ensure they are in working order and can alert you to troublesome areas.

If You Need a Boat Towing Service

Boat outings require forethought and preparation. When you are not prepared, the fun can only last so long. Preventative and proactive upkeep goes a long way.

If you find yourself caught in a situation where you need to hire a “boat towing service near me,” Roadside Rescue has you covered.