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Boat Owners Association of The United States
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New Owners Take Helm at Two TowBoatUS Delaware River Ports
Fast, reliable boater assistance continues from Philadelphia and Neshaminy, Pa.
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PHILADELPHIA, Pa., April 13, 2017 – When word got out that Bob Hartman, the well-respected, longtime owner of TowBoatUS Philadelphia and TowBoatUS Neshaminy was thinking of retiring, a trio of seasoned Delaware River captains stepped up to the plate and bought the business.
With the boating season on the horizon, the new owners, Captains Richard Busillo, Jack Kelly and Grace Marsh are working to assure a smooth transition. “We’re ready,” said Busillo, who has worked at TowBoatUS Philadelphia as a captain and dispatcher for the last 12 years. “We’ll be there 24/7 to help out if anyone has an engine breakdown, needs fuel, a battery jump, or a gentle tow off one of the river’s shallow spots.”
TowBoatUS Philadelphia and Neshaminy cover a 60-mile stretch of the Delaware River and its tributaries, from the Delaware Memorial Bridge at New Castle, Delaware, to the end of navigation at Trenton, New Jersey.
Much like an auto club for boaters, BoatUS offers TowBoatUS on-water Unlimited Towing Membership Plans for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $72 a year and $149 for saltwater. Both include BoatUS membership. Boaters face costs that average $700 per towing incident – with some paying into the thousands out of pocket – when they don’t have an annual BoatUS towing plan.
Business partners Marsh and Kelly met when they worked as captains for a Philadelphia duck-boat company, running amphibious sightseeing boats as well as the company’s tugboat. When that company closed last fall and they learned about the opportunity to buy a TowBoatUS business, they signed on. “It made sense to us,” said Kelly, who was an avid recreational boater before he became a captain. “We know these waters, and we know what it feels like when your boat breaks down. So here we are, ready to help.”
Capt. Marsh, who is port captain of TowBoatUS Neshaminy, joins the elite ranks of lady TowBoatUS captains in the nationwide fleet. A lifelong recreational boater, she earned the required sea time for her captain’s license working as a deckhand on a dinner cruise boat. She also went to engineering school to become a certified marine technician. She began helping Busillo with some tows and mechanical work in Philadelphia last season. “I love the water,” she said, “and I love helping people, so this is the perfect job for me.”
Busillo, who runs the Philadelphia port, agrees. “The nicest part of this job is that our customers are always happy to see us. They know we are there to help.”
Kelly handles the business end of things and fills in as captain when needed. “We wear lots of hats around here” he said, “and whatever hat you get that day, that’s it. We have a great partnership.”
Each port has a bright red 25-foot Hydra-Sports response boat powered by twin 150-hp Mercury outboards. The boats are docked at the Philadelphia Marine Center and All Seasons Marina in Croydon, Pennsylvania. A 24-foot Grady-White with a 200-hp Mercury outboard serves as a backup boat, ready to be used where needed. The TowBoatUS name is emblazoned in bright white letters on their hulls, and each is fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel.
Boaters can reach TowBoatUS Philadelphia and Neshaminy by hailing on VHF channel 16, by calling the company directly at 215-783-8259, phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869, or via smartphone using the free BoatUS Towing App. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-888-4869.
TowBoatUS Philadelphia and Neshaminy have new owners, ready to assist boaters 24/7 on the Delaware River https://goo.gl/GTG8fw #TowBoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate, services and safety group for recreational boaters. We provide our more than 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 towing fleet is North America’s largest network of towing ports with more than 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels, responding to over 70,000 requests for assistance each year. The new BoatUS Mobile App makes it easy to summon on-water and on-road assistance 24/7, and can speed response times (BoatUS.com/app). For more information go to BoatUS.com/towing.