BoatUS, which offers recreational boaters on the water boat towing, has towed a lot of boats since it opened its first 24-hour dispatch center in Alexandria, Virginia in 1994. That’s understandable as the boating association’s TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist fleets are the largest in the nation with over 600 towboats. However, last Wednesday, August 14, was cause to celebrate: BoatUS’ Dispatch Center received its half a millionth request for assistance from “lucky” BoatUS Member Caron Collins and her husband, William, when their 28-foot cruiser broke down with engine troubles early in the morning about a football field away from their home dock on Charlotte Harbor, Florida.
To celebrate this milestone BoatUS is giving the Collins a $500 West Marine Gift Card, a Delorme inReach personal satellite communicator, and five years of BoatUS’ Unlimited Gold on the water towing with Trailer Assist roadside assistance. Of course, TowBoatUS Charlotte Harbor also swiftly brought the couple safely back to their dock – and like nearly all of TowBoatUS’ annual towing plans, there was no out-of-pocket cost to the Collins.
After they were forced to pay $350 out-of-pocket for short tow in 1996, the Collins became BoatUS members and added an annual “Unlimited” TowBoatUS towing plan. “Anyone who has a boat should have TowBoatUS,” said William. “We wouldn’t go without it.” In 2012 alone, BoatUS’ three Dispatch Centers and towing fleet received 70,000 requests for on the water and on the road assistance.
171 Years of Towing
BoatUS reports that the national average request for (non-emergency) on the water assistance takes about three hours to complete, from the time BoatUS’ TowBoatUS or Vessel Assist towboat is dispatched, provides assistance to the boater and returns to homeport. If only one towboat was assigned to handle all of the half-million requests for the assistance provided since 1994, it would take an incredible 171 years of 24-hour, round-the-clock operation to complete.
Much like an auto club for boaters, BoatUS offers on the water towing plans for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $67 a year and saltwater boaters for $149 a year, which provides for any boat they own, borrow or charter and includes BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership. This non-emergency 24/7 on water assistance will get you back to a launch ramp or marina when your boat won’t, including boat towing, battery jump-starting, fuel drop off and ungrounding services. BoatUS now has three dispatch centers located in Virginia, Florida and California and there are over 300 TowBoatUS and Vessel locations across North America.
For on road help, BoatUS has over 18,000 roadside assistance providers in North America with the right equipment to handle breakdowns for both a boat trailer and it’s tow vehicle. This Trailer Assist Service, which can be added for just $14 to any BoatUS membership, will tow both the tow vehicle and trailer up to 100 miles to a repair facility, safe area, or driveway at home. Lock-out service and ramp-winching are also included.
For more information on BoatUS Water and Roadside Towing Services, including the TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist fleets, go to www.BoatUS.com/towing, or call 800-888-4869.