NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
TowBoatUS Bay St. Louis Opens On The Mississippi Gulf Coast
“Hurricane Katrina Ground Zero”
TowBoatUS, part of the nation’s largest on-the-water towing service for boaters, has returned to an area of the Gulf known as “Hurricane Katrina ground zero.” Capt. Matt Caldwell has opened TowBoatUS Bay St. Louis on Mississippi’s “West End” on St. Louis Bay adjacent to the Bay Waveland Yacht Club. The news follows the recent opening of TowBoatU.S. Lake Pontchartrain, LA, and brings the total number of TowBoatUS in the Gulf (from the Keys to the Mexican border) to 51.
Captain Caldwell, a USCG veteran, said “I’ve wanted to open my own on-the-water towing port for a long time and I believe this is the right location and right time to do it. This region will grow significantly and I want to be there when boaters need assistance.” Before returning to his home state, Capt. Caldwell was a towboat captain in the Charleston region, ran a dive boat and also worked in the oil service industry.
Caldwell has equipped TowBoatUS Bay St. Louis with three vessels: a 20-foot Boston Whaler Guardian center console, a 21-foot Impact pilothouse and a 27-foot Boston Whaler pilothouse. “We use the 20-footer when we need to trailer to a location or when bridges are problems,” said Caldwell. All three vessels can be identified by their distinctive red hulls with white bow stripes and “TowBoatU.S.” lettering along its side.
Onboard each boat is a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, pumps, airbags and battery “jump packs” to handle every breakdown from running out of fuel to running aground.
Hurricane Katrina changed the topography of many local waterways says Caldwell, which can lead to groundings. “Many of our barrier islands and shoals have shifted since the storm. But I want boaters to know they can rely on us – I enjoy being able to help them,” he added.
Similar to a roadside auto club, BoatUS offers on-the-water assistance plans starting at around $37 a year. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that nationally average about $600 per incident. Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach TowBoatUS Bay St. Louis by calling the company directly at 228-217-4439 or 800-315-6206; by VHF radio on channel 16; or through the BoatUS toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869 or visit http://www.BoatUS.com/Towing for more information.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 670,000 members with a wide array of consumer services, including on-the-water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist. These two fleets combined offer North American boaters the largest network of US, Canadian and Bahamian towing ports with over 270 locations and nearly 500 towing assistance vessels - twice that of any other service provider.