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Vessel Assist Needles, CA Opens
VESSEL ASSIST NEEDLES, CA OPENS
On the Lower Colorado River
Vessel Assist, a part of the nation's largest on the water towing service provider , has opened a new port located on the Colorado River in Needles, CA. Located at Needles Marina and owned by Capt. Greg Ewing, Vessel Assist Needles provides assistance to recreational boaters from the I-40 Bridge north to Laughlin, NV, some sixty miles upriver. This is the second Vessel Assist port in the area, with Vessel Assist Lake Havasu covering the lake south to Parker Dam.
Capt. Ewing also operates Metropolitan Marine Solutions, a local company specializing in marine environmental remediation and dive services. A licensed USCG captain and certified Divemaster, Ewing has worked and boated in the area since 1982 when he started to dive popular anchorages and raft-up spots to treasure hunt for lost jewelry, watches or other expensive gear mistakenly dropped overboard by boaters.
Vessel Assist Needles has three towing vessels. A 23-foot er with Bravo III duo-props is used for un-grounding duties while a 21-foot center console with 235hp outboard is good for all around work. Both are identifiable by their red hull color and “Vessel Assist” lettering along the side and each carry a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, pumps and battery “jump packs” to handle every breakdown from running out of fuel to running aground.
A third vessel, a 28-foot Western, is primarily used for salvage and environmental remediation work and equipped with compressors, water “bandages,” and spill recovery tools. With a national refuge nearby, boat owners can be subject to fines related to leaking oil and gas from a sunken vessel. The company is the only one in the area fully licensed and insured to provide environmental remediation services on the waterway and has over 3,000 feet of containment booms available as well as a quarter mile of marine “sweeps” that absorb petroleum products.
The narrow stretch of Colorado River north of Needles where Capt. Ewing operates can be treacherous. There are seven- to nine-knot currents with a three- to six-feet water level fluctuation daily and a rocky bottom strewn with boulders and sand bars, which Ewing says frequently damages outdrives and props. “Sand ingested into water pump impellers can also lead to overheating,” he says.
The river is also known as a haven for go-fast vessels with high-performance engines. Operating at high temperatures, these motors have occasionally been known to melt their own internal exhaust systems, dumping hundreds of gallons of engine cooling water into the bilge that can quickly lead to a sinking.
Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach Vessel Assist Needles 24-hours a day, seven days a week by VHF radio on channel 16; by calling the company directly at 928-788-1815; or through the BoatU.S. toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869.
Often referred to as the “boat owners auto club, ” BoatU.S. Towing Service offers on-the-water assistance plans starting at around $37 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:// BoatUS.com/Towing for more information.
BoatU.S. – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 650,000 members with a wide array of consumer services including a group-rate marine insurance program that insures nearly a quarter million boats; the largest fleet of more than 500 towing assistance vessels; discounts on fuel, slips, and repairs at over 825 Cooperating Marinas; boat financing; and a subscription to BoatU.S. Magazine , the most widely read boating publication in the U.S. For membership information visit http://www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.