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New TowBoatUS LaBelle Port opens to assist boaters on Okeechobee Waterway

by Scott Croft 11 May 2019 08:16 PDT
Capt. Mike Ammons aboard his 24-hour boat towing and response vessel © Scott Croft

Most boats crossing the state of Florida on the Okeechobee Waterway are transient, only trying to get from one coast to the other as quickly as possible. That means their captains may not have local knowledge, and if they need assistance for an unexpected grounding or engine problem, the newly opened 24-hour on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters, TowBoatUS LaBelle, is ready to help.

It's the fourth TowBoatUS port servicing the 134.3-nautical-mile waterway, which includes bookend locations in Stuart and Fort Myers, and in Okeechobee. TowBoatUS is the only national, 24-hour on-water service delivering professional assistance on the waterway from end-to-end, providing boaters with routine help with dead batteries, soft ungroundings, running out of fuel, or a tow back to the launch ramp or marina.

TowBoatUS LaBelle is the second location for Capt. Mike Ammons, who opened TowBoatUS Lake Okeechobee in 2018. Prior to that, Ammons owned three TowBoatUS ports in the early 2000s. Today, TowBoatUS has over 300 locations and 600 towing response vessels across the country.

Much like an auto club, BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for boaters and anglers for just $159 per year. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying thousands out of pocket.

TowBoatUS LaBelle and TowBoatUS Okeechobee offer extended service areas, including Lake Okeechobee in its entirety and the Caloosahatchee River. St. Lucie Canal service is provided by TowBoatUS Stuart.

TowBoatUS LaBelle operates a 22-foot power cat response vessel with twin outboards, easily recognizable by its red hull and TowBoatUS logos emblazoned in bright white letters on its sides, rigged and ready for towing, jump starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings.

Boaters can reach TowBoatUS LaBelle by hailing on VHF channel 16, by calling the company directly at (239) 600-0140, by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at (800) 391-4869, or via smartphone using the BoatUS App.

More information can be found at BoatUS.com/Towing, or call (800) 888-4869.

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