BEAVER LAKE, AR, July 15, 2008 -- Capt. Jason Harte, a third generation commercial tug boat captain, has opened Beaver Lake’s first full-time on-the-water towing service that provides tows back to a marina or launch ramp, fuel deliveries, battery jump-starts, or ungrounding services for recreational boaters. TowBoatUS Beaver Lake is located at Prairie Creek Marina and is the first TowBoatUS towing port in Arkansas.
Capt. Harte has stationed a white 22-foot response boat at the port that can be identified by its red “TowBoatU.S.” lettering along the side. Onboard is a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, engine fluids, pumps, a battery “jump pack” to handle dead batteries and scuba gear. Because the lake’s flooding currently prevents boats from traveling under the Rt. 12 bridge, Harte launches the response boat with a trailer, allowing him to reach any part of the lake.
Capt. Harte, his wife Lisa and two sons recently relocated to Arkansas from Washington State, where Jason spent the last 15 years working as tug operator and towboat captain on the Columbia River. A former volunteer firefighter and US Navy veteran who served in both Gulf Wars, Harte gained his experience towing recreational boats for Vessel Assist Portland. Since relocating to Arkansas, the USCG licensed Harte has worked with local law enforcement, US Coast Guard Auxiliary and Rangers of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
He also volunteers his company’s services and was a safety boat at the Buddy Bass Tournament held last month. On August 16 Harte is co-sponsoring a poker run on the lake, with proceeds going to a local dive team.
“One of the most common reasons boaters request on-the-water assistance is when they run out of fuel,” says Capt. Harte. “There are eight marinas on Beaver Lake but they are spread out. People sometimes don’t realize how far they will have to go before they can fill up again,” adds Harte. Nationwide, the BoatUS towing fleet received over 60,000 requests for assistance from boaters last year.
BoatUS offers “Unlimited” on-the-water towing plans for freshwater boaters at just $53 a year, which includes BoatUS membership - a 70% discount off last year’s pricing. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that nationally average about $600 per incident. Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach TowBoatUS Beaver Lake by calling the company directly at 479-280-0104; by VHF radio on channel 16; or through the BoatUS toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869 or visitBoatUS.com/Towing for more information.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 650,000 members with a wide array of consumer services, including on-the-water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist Pacific. Combined, these two towing fleets offer North American boaters the largest network of US, Canadian and Bahamian towing ports with over 280 locations and nearly 500 towing assistance vessels - twice that of any other service provider.