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New owners expand central New York 24-hour on-water towing service for recreational boaters

by Scott Croft 31 Aug 06:59 PDT
(R to L) Capt. Grant Langheinrich and Karla Langheinrich with Jennifer Van Reenen and Capt. Jake Van Reenen aboard TowBoatUS Clayton's response vessel at the recent 55th Annual Antique Boat Show & Auction in Clayton, NY. © Scott Croft

Earlier this summer, long-time Central New Yorkers Capt. Grant Langheinrich and his wife, Karla Langheinrich, became owners of two 24-hour on-water towing ports, TowBoatUS Rochester and TowBoatUS Oneida Lake, part of a nationwide network of 300 ports and 600 towing response vessels across the country that provide routine assistance to boaters. Now the couple has expanded to a third location, TowBoatUS Clayton. The three locations were sold to the Langheinriches by Capt. Jake Van Reenen.

"We are looking forward to growing our company's footprint and helping boaters with professional on-water assistance in the Thousand Islands region," said Capt. Langheinrich. "With TowBoatUS, having engine troubles or running aground isn't going to leave you wondering how you will safely get back to the launch ramp or dock. We are there for you 24/7."

Battery jumps, fuel drop-offs and tows back to a launch ramp or marina are the most common reasons boaters call TowBoatUS for help. BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $85 per year. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying more.

Grant Langheinrich began with TowBoatUS as a deckhand four years ago at TowBoatUS Oneida Lake before earning his U.S. Coast Guard captains license and becoming a hired captain for the company. The Langheinriches' operation is a true family-run business - Karla handles the business side of the operation, including dispatching, marketing and finance. One of the Langheinriches' three children, 10-year-old Rylee, is already helping mom and dad sell memberships to boaters. "She's going to be our top seller," said Karla. All of the towing port's Coast Guard-licensed captains remain with the company. "We have a wonderful, committed and caring staff ready to help you," added Grant.

Stationed at TowBoatUS Clayton and located at French Bay Marina is a 24-foot Stanley landing craft response vessel rigged for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings, easily recognizable by its bright red hull with TowBoatUS logos emblazoned in white letters on each side. The company also offers salvage, recovery, dive and hazmat services.

The fastest way to summon assistance from TowBoatUS Clayton is to download the free BoatUS App, which connects boaters to the closest local towing captain. Additionally, the company can be reached at 315-744-2229, by hailing on VHF channel 16, 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 by calling 800-888-4869.

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