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Capt. John Piskura new owner of TowBoatUS Lorain and Vermillion

by Scott Croft 19 May 05:43 PDT
Capt. John Piskura, new owner of TowBoatUS Lorain and Vermillion © Scott Croft

A local small business with two locations is changing hands, TowBoatUS Lorain and TowBoatUS Vermillion. The 24-hour, on water towing ports on Lake Erie new owner is longtime manager and lead towing captain John Piskura. The Gulf War veteran and retired fireman/paramedic purchased the locations, which provide routine on-water assistance including battery jumps, soft ungroundings, fuel drop-offs and tows back to port, from his former boss, Capt. James Kennedy.

While the local recreational boating community may recognize Capt. Piskura for his on-the-water work helping boaters get home, the Ohio native also served as a councilman and mayor of nearby Sheffield Lake for 12 years before the cancer survivor stepped down from public life to beat his disease.

Why do boaters call Piskura for on-the-water help today? "Most calls are for the unexpected things — engine trouble or dead batteries," said Piskura, who also holds a U.S. Coast Guard 50-Ton Master License and was a towboat and charter/dive boat captain in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawaii. "The weather can turn quickly. We sometimes get requests for assistance from boaters who run their electronics all day, but by late afternoon, as a storm pattern approaches, they can't get under way."

BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $85 per year. Boaters without a towing membership face an average nationwide cost of $750 per towing incident. Included with Unlimited Towing are more than 25 benefits and discounts, a subscription to BoatUS Magazine, free DSC-VHF radio registration, and more.

Rigged for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings, the company's 24-foot Zodiac and 31-foot Fountain red response vessels are helmed by professional U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains and are part of a nationwide network of more than 300 ports and 600 TowBoatUS towing vessels across the country. Separate from BoatUS on-water towing services, the company also refloats sunken boats and offers salvage and dive services.

The fastest way to summon assistance from TowBoatUS Lorain or TowBoatUS Vermillion is to download the free BoatUS App, which connects boaters to the closest local towing captain. Additionally, the company can be reached at 440-789-0088, 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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