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Boat Owners Association of The United States
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Boater Assists Increase at TowBoatUS Old Saybrook as Captain Jeff Dziedzic Completes His First Year as Owner
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OLD SAYBROOK, Conn., September 9, 2015 – This year, Eastern Long Island Sound and Connecticut River boaters have been seeing new faces at the helm of the red towboats that provide assistance when they run aground, have an engine breakdown, need fuel or a battery jump. Capt. Jeff Dziedzic, who has been operating TowBoatUS ports in the New London/Groton and Mystic/Stonington areas for the past five years, took the helm at TowBoatUS Old Saybrook/Clinton in 2014. “Since then,” he said, “our business has grown significantly in terms of membership and the number of boaters we have helped out.”
Much like an auto club for boaters, TowBoatUS offers Unlimited on water towing plans for saltwater boaters and anglers for just $158 a year that includes BoatUS membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that average $750 per incident nationally.
Dziedzic, a US Coast Guard-licensed captain, is well known in the area for the work he’s been doing with Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, and is also co-chair of the New London Port Security Group.
A lifelong boater who grew up racing sailboats and fishing with his grandfather, Dziedzic is pleased that his company’s expansion into the Old Saybrook area gives him the opportunity to assist boaters all along Connecticut coast from just east of New Haven to the Rhode Island border – boating grounds famous for swift currents, winding, tricky harbor entrances and rocky islands. “It’s a beautiful boating area,” he said, “and boaters who follow their charts have no trouble, but it can be a different story if they wander out of a channel. We get quite a few calls for ungroundings.”
Tim Hyatt, a USCG-licensed TowBoatUS captain who been assisting boaters for the last 11 years, the last five at Dziedzic’s Stonington port, is now manager of TowBoatUS Old Saybrook/Clinton. Hyatt knows the area well, and he has been helping boaters ever since he could walk because he was born into the business. “My parents owned a boat rental company, and I helped carry the PFDs when I was little,” he said.
TowBoatUS Old Saybrook/Clinton keeps two fast, rugged assist boats in the area – a 26-foot Silver Ships Ambar 800 and an Almar 27. Both are outfitted with twin powerful outboard engines that are capable of speeds of more than 40 knots each. “We need that speed because we cover the Sound all the way across to Long Island and the Connecticut River as far north as Hartford,” Hyatt said. “It is a big area and we want to assist boaters as quickly as possible.” He runs one of the boats himself and has other licensed captains on call to run the other.
The boats, which are equipped with dewatering pumps, dive gear, lift bags, towing gear, battery jump packs and extra fuel are painted a distinctive red with the TowBoatUS name and logo on each side. They are on call 24 hours a day seven days a week and are based at Between the Bridges Marina on the Connecticut River in Old Saybrook and at Westbrook Marine Center, just east of the Clinton entrance channel.
TowBoatUS Old Saybrook can be hailed on VHF channel 16 or reached by calling directly at 860-227-1612 or by calling the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869, and via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-888-4869.
About BoatUS TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist:
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate, services and safety group for recreational boaters. We provide our over half-million members with a wide array of helpful services, including 24-hour on water towing that gets you safely home when your boat won’t, will bring you fuel if you run out, jumpstart your dead battery, or provide a gentle pull after you’ve run aground. The TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist towing fleets are the North America’s largest network of towing ports with over 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels, responding to over 70,000 requests for assistance each year. See more at BoatUS.com/towing.