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
Nations Largest On-The-Water Boat Towing Service Reports Increase In Calls For Assistance In 2006
More Boaters Also Use Cell Phones
BoatUS Towing Services, the nation’s largest on-the-water assistance program with 6 70 ,000 members, reports that it had over 60,000 requests for assistance in 2006, an increase of 2.5% over the previous year. Those requests, which include tows back to port, fuel drop offs, ungroundings and other services, were handled by the organization’s 500 TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist tow boats across the country.
Jerry Cardarelli, Vice President of BoatUS Towing Services, believes that the up tick is a result of greater TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist visibility at the local level. “We added 1 8 new port locations in 2006 to meet increasing demand,” said Cardarelli. “Once we open a port, boaters are more inclined to give us a ring when something goes wrong,” he added.
More boaters are also using cell phones to request non-emergency help. “Cell phone calls to our 24-hour call centers increased 4% over 2005,” said Cardarelli. But, he cautions, “Boaters should still have a VHF radio. In an emergency, the first responders most likely to come to your aid will be your fellow boaters – and the best way to reach them is with a VHF radio.”
Another potential reason for the increase in cell phone use, says Cardarelli, is that many boaters prefer not to share routine mishaps such as gently running aground, engine problems or out-of-fuel situations with the entire world on VHF’s public airwaves. TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist towers monitor VHF channel 16 – 24 hours a day seven days a week.
BoatUS Towing Services – the boat owners auto club – offers on-the-water assistance plans starting at $ 19 a year. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that nationally average about $600 per incident. Boaters can call 800-888-4869 or visit http://www.BoatUS.com/Towing for more information.