Letters to the Editor

Pricing rule clears murky salvage costs

When you’re out on your boat and there’s a problem, it can be a scary situation. As a salvage operator, I’ve seen countless situations where boaters have required assistance. But needing help shouldn’t be an invitation to get ripped off by a predatory operator, and that’s why I support price transparency legislation for boaters.

The legislation would require maritime salvage companies to give boaters an estimate before providing service. This is important because many boaters aren’t aware of the costs of some of these services or what situations constitute a salvage claim.

As the owner of Fast Response Marine Towing and Salvage, I know the cost and risk involved in sending a crew out to help a distressed boater. Those costs can vary greatly depending on the situation, but boaters should be aware of the fees so they can make an informed decision.

Too many times, I have arrived at a stranded boat — only to find that another company beat me there and is having the boat owner sign a salvage form without disclosing the price. Those boaters frequently get stuck with bills for more than they expected, and it’s truly unfortunate and avoidable.

Before having my own company, I worked for two of the large national marine salvage and towing companies and some of the smaller companies based in South Florida.

One individual I met there described his job as “trying to turn a toothache into a root canal” in order to extract higher fees. I couldn’t tolerate that business philosophy, and my experience at some of those companies led me to start my own business.

They say a rising tide lifts all boats. I believe this legislation will lift the perception of the entire industry — an industry that truly does a lot of good for boaters.

Chuck Hansen, owner,

Fast Response Marine Towing,

Miami

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