GRAYS HARBOR, Wash., May 20, 2013 -- Capt. Dennis Crowley, the owner of Crowley Marine in Aberdeen, Washington, has been fixing boats and engines and helping Washington State boaters for more than 35 years. This year he has added a much-needed new service: 24-hour on water towing and assistance for recreational boaters and charter operators.
Vessel Assist Grays Harbor, Crowley’s new company, is now open for the season. Much like an auto club for recreational boaters, Vessel Assist is a membership program of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). It offers an on water towing service plan for recreational boaters in salt waters that costs just $149 a year and includes BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership. Six-pack charter fishing and delivery captains have a commercial towing plan available for $281. Without a towing plan, boaters face out-of-pocket costs that nationally average about $600 per incident, or $250 per hour. More information can be found at www.BoatUS.com/towing.
“I learned about Vessel Assist at boat shows,” Crowley explained. “It sounded great, and it was clear we sorely needed something like that in Grays Harbor, so I decided to join the program.”
Crowley, an avid surfer and sportfisherman who holds a 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard Master License, grew up with boats. While still a teenager, he became a certified outboard mechanic at his dad’s company in Denver, Colorado. After a stint as a submarine electrician in the Navy, he moved to Washington and eventually started his own boat business. Crowley Marine, a certified marine service shop and supply store, is located on the Chehalis River in downtown Aberdeen, the largest city in the Grays Harbor area. Since it is on the only route to the coast, anyone headed for the ocean must pass by. Ever since he parked his bright red “Vessel Assist” truck in front, people have been dropping by to ask about the new towing program.
Grays Harbor is a major sportfishing port on the Washington coast with an inlet to the Pacific Ocean and a connecting network of inland rivers. The harbor itself is full of shallows that can be troublesome for anyone who strays out of the channel, and crossing the bar between the harbor and the ocean can be challenging.
Crowley is ready to help boaters when they need assistance. He chose his Vessel Assist boat, a 26-foot Penn Yan with twin tunnel drives packing a total of 700 horsepower, because of its versatility. It is wonderfully stable in the ocean and, when called into shoal areas, it can operate in 18 inches of water. It is also trailerable. “Our area is huge, and sometimes it is quicker to tow the boat to a local boat launch, than to travel by water,” Crowley explained.
The boat is painted a distinctive red with "Vessel Assist" on the hull, and it is equipped with state-of-the-art electronics and fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel.
Boaters can contact Vessel Assist Grays Harbor by hailing on VHF channel 16, calling 360-310-0421, via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App
, or by calling the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869. To see the location on a map go to www.BoatUS.com/graysharbor.
BoatUS is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with a wide array of consumer services, including on water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS in the east and Vessel Assist on the West Coast. Combined, these two towing fleets offer boaters, anglers and sailors the world’s largest network of towing ports with over 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels — three times larger than the closest competitor.