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On-water towing service grows on the bay: TowBoatUS Alameda opens

by Scott Croft 20 May 22:27 UTC
TowBoatUS Alameda's 28-foot response vessels, ready to assist Bay and Delta boaters any time of the day or night © Scott Croft

A 29-year-old family-owned business that helps boaters get safely home after their boat has broken down, run aground, or run out of fuel, has added a third location to the company's waterborne footprint.

TowBoatUS Alameda is the newest location for TowBoatUS San Francisco Bay and Delta, which also has on-water assistance ports at San Francisco's Gashouse Cove and Bethel Island. The company provides routine around-the-clock assistance for dead batteries, soft ungroundings, fuel drops, or tows back to the launch ramp or marina.

The company's service area is unique among the 300-plus TowBoatUS fleet locations nationwide. From the open ocean swells in the Pacific Ocean, 50-miles off the Golden Gate Bridge, to the hot upper reaches of the Sacramento River Deep Water Ship Channel nearly 70 miles inland, TowBoatUS Bay and Delta has helped all types of mariners. Stormy seas, strong currents, high winds, fog, ship traffic and summertime Delta temperatures north of 100 F are all operational challenges for the company.

Company owner Capt. Phil Delano said, "We've assisted everyone from oceangoing yachts to 16-foot bass boats. The unexpected can happen to anyone."

While TowBoatUS Alameda is just 8 miles from Gashouse Cove, Delano says "the new port will help us shorten response times on the bay." Stationed at the location are two new, rugged all-weather 28-foot RAIV Almar/North River response vessels with twin 225-hp outboards, fully rigged for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings. They're easily recognizable by their red hulls and the TowBoatUS name and logo emblazoned in bright white letters along their sides. All company captains are U.S. Coast Guard-licensed.

Separate from BoatUS on-water towing services, the company also refloats sunken boats, provides salvage services, and is hazmat-certified.

Boaters can reach TowBoatUS San Francisco Bay and Delta by hailing on VHF channel 16, by calling the company directly at 925-684-2183, by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869, or via smartphone using the BoatUS Towing App.

More information can be found at BoatUS.com/Membership.

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