Call For a Tow

Press Room

NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
5323 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22151
BoatUS Press Room at

Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864,

New Owners Come to TowBoatUS Destin and Panama City

Former police and fire department divers team up for their second business venture on the water

Two of TowBoatUS Destin and Panama City's response vessels rigged and ready to assist boaters 24/7.
Download hi-res photo.

DESTIN, Fla., July 23, 2019 – Two friends who met 14 years ago when training to be public safety divers have started their second business venture together with the recent purchase of TowBoatUS Destin and TowBoatUS Panama City. Charles Gorrell and Robert Smith served on separate fire and police dive teams on Georgia’s Lake Lanier before starting their first business venture together in 2014, MarineTechs Unlimited, a successful dive and salvage company. Now the two divers are TowBoatUS owners, ready to assist recreational boaters 24-hours a day with routine on-water assistance, including battery jumps, fuel drop-offs and tows back to a launch ramp or marina.

MarineTechs has been called on to salvage “anything that sinks,” said Gorrell, including boats, helicopters and even Tomahawk cruise missiles. Gorrell said he and Smith, a Navy veteran, are new to the area and are looking forward to ensuring boaters get home safely after a breakdown or running aground. “Taking care of boaters after they’ve had a bad day on the water may not be the same as locating a piece of government hardware, but it is certainly more rewarding,” said Gorrell. “I like seeing the smile return to a boater’s face after a well-done job.”

BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for saltwater boaters and anglers for just $159 per year. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying much more. Included with Unlimited Towing are more than 25 benefits and discounts, a subscription to BoatUS Magazine, free DSC-VHF radio registration, and more.

The two TowBoatUS locations staffed by U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains are part of a nationwide network of 300 ports and 600 towing response vessels across the country that responded to over 70,000 requests for on-water assistance last year. Most of the issues boaters have relate to dead batteries, overheating and engine-related maintenance issues as a result of the harsh saltwater environment. “We also have a lot of shifting shoals that cause problems for boaters,” added Gorrell.

Separate from BoatUS towing services, Gorrell and Smith will continue to offer salvage and dive services to boaters, marinas and insurance companies.

TowBoatUS Destin and Panama City have four response vessels and are about to add a fifth. They include a 28-foot and two 30-foot center-consoles with twin outboards used for running offshore (the company has a 50-mile service area and can go farther if necessary). For super-fast response to salvage sinking vessels, the company has a 32-foot high-performance “go-fast.” A former 26-foot Boston Whaler law-enforcement vessel, currently being refit, will join the company towboat fleet later this summer.

The boats are located in Fort Walton Beach Yacht Basin in Destin and St. Andrews Marina in Panama City. All are rigged for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings and are easily recognizable by their bright red hulls with TowBoatUS logos emblazoned in white letters on each side.

The fastest way boaters can reach TowBoatUS Destin and Panama City is by downloading the BoatUS App that directly connects boaters to the closest local towboat. Alternatively they can call TowBoatUS Destin and Panama City at 850-865-5672, hail them on VHF channel 16, or call the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869. More information can be found at or by calling 800-888-4869.


Suggested Tweet and Facebook post:

New owners of TowBoatUS Destin and Panama City, Florida, are ready to assist recreational boaters 24/7 @BoatUS

About TowBoatUS:
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate, services and safety group for recreational boaters. We are the Boat Owners Auto Club and 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, jump starts, fuel delivery, and soft ungroundings. The TowBoatUS towing fleet is North America’s largest network of towing ports with more than 300 locations and over 600 red towing assistance vessels, responding to more than 70,000 requests for assistance each year. The BoatUS App makes it easy to summon water and road assistance 24/7 and can speed response times ( For more information go to