Sunday, April 22, 2007

More Indies trying New England market.

Yet another independent tower has entered the already tight towing market on Long Island Sound. (for my geographically challenged friends, that's a large body of water between Long Island, NY, and Connecticut.) American Boating Services is some kind of partnership between two separate companies operating from harbors in Connecticut. They are offering memberships for as little as $75 for boats up to 28', but the membership is only valid during a 6 months boating season. Their out of area coverage seems a little vague:

If you find yourself outside the coverage area and disabled, PLEASE CALL and we will try to work something out for you.
Hers is what really bothers me. They have a Salvage vs Towing page, and in part it says:
Salvage is every boater’s worst nightmare. There is a clear distinction between towing and salvage, and every boater should know the difference. We understand that at a time like that you do not want vultures hanging around. After 25 years of experience with salvage operations, we are well qualified to help make your situation less painful. Our prices are less than any of our competitors, and cost is a very big factor. You and your insurance company will be relieved to know that we do not follow the industry standard of charging 10% of the insured value of the boat. Our philosophy is that the consumer should pay for what he/she is getting.
Why would a company who is actively promoting themselves as salvors want to begin their presentation by comparing the task to every boater's worst nightmare? I would think that the worst nightmare is having a vessel in distress and no one around to help. How can these guys hope to succeed in an industry that they condemn so fiercely? The above quote seems to boil down to this: "We're good guys simply because we charge less." Well, if you were really every boater's best buddy, you should just do the job for free. Whle we're on the subject of nightmares, exactly what is an ABS member supposed to do if they break down outside the coverage area?

Where does this "industry standard of charging 10%" come from? That kind of statement demonstrates a complete lack of any experience or even a rudimentary understanding of how marine salvage works. In all their 60 years of combined experience these guys haven't bothered to read Salcon 89, or heard of The Blackwall case?

It's bad enough when the boating press prints this kind of nonsense, but I think it really sucks when supposed professionals in our own industry stoop to reciting the salvors as vultures BS simply as a means of marketing themselves. And that is all this is folks - an attempt at self promotion with mud slinging and name calling.

Somewhere out there, I can hear the cries; "geeze Doug, chill out!". But here's the thing - if these guys had said on their public website something like "we're cheaper because we work faster, or more efficiently. Our salvage prices are lower because we always charge by the hour", I would say fine, and wish them luck. But printing bogus information and name calling is not the mark of a professional organization, and I think they deserve to be called on the carpet for it.