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Little Red Towboat Starts Working Off the Big Island

Vessel Assist Kona HI Helps Boaters Get Home

Photo Caption: If Kona area anglers have boat troubles and need a little help getting back to Honokohau Harbor, this little red tow boat of Vessel Assist Kona can help 24 hours a day.
Download hi-res photo.
KONA, Hawaii, February 25, 2014 – The waters around the Big Island of Hawaii aren’t known for being friendly to local boaters. To give them a helping hand when their boat needs a jumpstart or fuel, or a tow back to Honokohau Harbor is Capt. Rob Hemsher of Vessel Assist Kona, an on water towing service for recreational boaters and charter operators.
If Hemsher’s name sounds familiar, Big Islanders may recall his surfing report that was carried on a local radio station for many years. He also owns Ocean Eco Tours, a Kona-based dive tour operator, surfing school and whale watching business. Vessel Assist Kona is part of a network of 300 locations and over 600 towboats across North America, including a nearby location on Oahu, Vessel Assist Oahu. To see Vessel Assist Kona’s location on a map, go to
“Now that I have my team behind me and the community’s support, we have started providing assistance to boaters and offshore anglers.” The company’s number one towboat, a 30-foot Almar, recently returned from the paint shop and now has a bright red hull and distinctive white “Vessel Assist” lettering and buoy logo along her sides. Hemsher also has a second response vessel, a 30-foot Pursuit, and each are fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel.
Since opening last year, most of the recent on water requests for assistance have been for fuel or engine problems. “The Pacific Ocean is not the best place to be when your boat breaks down,” said Hemsher. Vessel Assist Kona offers 24-hour dispatch with a 100-mile extended service area. Included with Vessel Assist service is membership in Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) or BoatUS Angler, for those focused on catching fish.
Vessel Assist offers “Unlimited” on the water towing plans for saltwater boaters and anglers for just $149 a year, while six-pack charter fishing and delivery captains have a commercial towing plan available for $281. Each includes 24/7 on water assistance as well as BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership.
Boaters can reach Vessel Assist Kona 24 hours a day at 808-331-2121, through the BoatUS toll-free dispatch service at 800-391-4869, via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App, or by hailing Vessel Assist on VHF channel 16. BoatUS is also the only towing service that offers satellite messaging services with the SPOT and inReach satellite communications services to summon a towboat.
About BoatUS Towing Services:
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. For more information on Vessel Assist, go to or call 800-888-4869.