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On-water boat towing service, TowBoatus Crisfield, Maryland, opens

by Scott Croft 10 May 2019 07:09 PDT
Capt. Christopher Parker aboard his TowBoatUS Crisfield response vessel © Scott Croft

Visitors to Crisfield, Maryland, soon learn that The Old Line State's southernmost town has long tied its fortunes to Chesapeake Bay – much of the town was built atop discarded oyster shells.

Just what took so long to get locally provided on-water help for routine boat breakdowns was the area's remoteness on Maryland's Eastern Shore, but no longer. TowBoatUS Crisfield is the newest 24-hour on-water boater assistance service on the bay, providing tows back to the launch ramp or marina, battery jumps, fuel drop-offs and soft ungrounding services.

TowBoatUS Crisfield is the first TowBoatUS port for Captain Christopher Parker, who for the last eight years has managed and helmed response boats for TowBoatUS Ingram Bay on Maryland's western shore. "TowBoatUS Crisfield can better serve boaters and BoatUS members on the Eastern Shore," says Parker. "No longer will we need to make the run across the bay, which can be slow when conditions are rough. Now we'll be right here where you need us." The company's professional on-water assistance is provided by U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains.

Much like an auto club for boaters, BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Saltwater Towing Membership for just $159 per year. Parker says the main reason why boaters call for assistance is for routine breakdowns, such as engine troubles or a dead battery. "We also do a fair amount of soft ungroundings in Eastern Shore waters, where shoals sometimes move around a bit," adds Parker. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying into the thousands out of pocket.

Chesapeake Bay boat owners who have BoatUS Marine Insurance may choose to add Unlimited Saltwater Towing to their insured boat's policy for just $48, cutting the price for on-water assistance by more than half.

TowBoatUS Crisfield operates 21- and 22-foot center-console response vessels with outboard power out of Somers Cove Marina. Both vessels are easily recognizable by their red hulls with TowBoatUS logo emblazoned in bright white letters on their hull sides. Each boat is rigged for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery, and soft ungroundings. The company also offers salvage and dive services.

Included with Unlimited Towing is BoatUS membership, which offers more than 25 benefits and discounts, a subscription to BoatUS Magazine, free DSC-VHF radio registration, and more.

Boaters can also download the free BoatUS App, which speeds response times when requesting assistance. "It's as simple as pressing one button on your smartphone screen," says Parker, "and we'll know right where you are."

Additionally, boaters can reach TowBoatUS Crisfield by hailing on VHF channel 16, by calling the company directly at 804-724-4633, or by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/Towing or call 800-888-4869.

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