BOOTHBAY, Maine, May 28, 2013 -- When Dan Miller of Ocean Point Marina in East Boothbay, Maine, learned that the owner of TowBoatUS Boothbay Harbor was thinking of getting out of the business, the marina operator knew he had to act quickly. “They had been operating out of our marina for three or four years,” he said, “and we thought they were providing such an essential service that we wanted to keep it right here, so we went ahead and bought it.”
“It’s really a safety issue,” Miller continued. “If you are a boater, you don’t want to be out in Maine waters without knowing there is a towboat around to help if you need it.”
Much like an auto club for recreational boaters, TowBoatUS, a membership program of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), offers an on water towing service plan for saltwaters that costs just $149 a year and includes BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership. 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
Miller and his wife Eileen, both graduates of the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, bought the full-service Ocean Point Marina in 2002. “We are right at the mouth of the Damariscotta River near Boothbay Harbor and the open ocean,” Miller said, “So there is a lot going on here.”
“Maine boaters are pretty well prepared,” he continued, “so we don’t get many calls from people who run out of fuel or need a jumpstart. Most of our requests for routine assistance are for engine problems or other unexpected breakdowns.” Encounters with Maine’s ubiquitous lobster traps occasionally prompt a call to TowBoatUS. Often people can free them themselves, but trap lines caught in the prop can sometimes disable a boat, Miller said.
Miller’s boat, a 25-foot Aquasport with a 300-horsepower four-stroke Yamaha engine, is painted a distinctive red with “TowBoatUS” on the hull, and it is fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel. Two experienced TowBoatUS captains, Jamie Ogg and Fred Bower, who worked for the previous owner, will be on call 24/7 to assist boaters in need. Both are US Coast Guard licensed.
Boaters can contact TowBoatUS Boothbay Harbor by hailing on VHF channel 16, calling 207-633-0773, via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App,
or 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/Boothbay
Boat Owners Association of The United States (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 and Vessel Assist. 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.