Tag Archives: boat towing services

BoatUS Report

TowBoatUS Cape  Coral

TowBoatUS is ready to assist in any way they can. Photo Credit: TowBoatUS Cape Coral.

TowBoatUS Cape Coral Earns “Tower Of The Year” Award

An on-the-water towboat company that helps Southwest Florida boaters get home safely was singled out for its professionalism at the BoatUS Towing Services Annual Conference recently held in Tampa, FL. Tower of the Year honors went to TowBoatUS Cape Coral, which is owned and operated by Capt. Richard Paul and Capt. Jay McMillin. The company has locations in Cape Coral, Ft. Myers Beach and North Ft. Myers. Services offered include jump-starts, soft ungroundings, tows back to launch ramps, marinas or home docks, and fuel drop offs.

Paul’s and McMillin’s locally-owned company is part of a nationwide network of 300 ports and fleet of 600 TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist towboats. The company was honored for its near-perfect towing dispatch operation, superior customer service and satisfaction, as well as towing case management. The company also ranked fifth in the fleet for new membership sales. Additionally, TowBoatUS Cape Coral was honored with the distinguished Dispatchers Choice of the Year Award for the Gulf Coast States region – for the second year in a row.

Award-winning TowBoatUS Cape Coral, Florida, crew.

Paul and McMillin first met over 17 years ago working at Publix Supermarkets, where both were former store managers before retiring and purchasing their first location, TowBoatUS Cape Coral, in 2005. Since then, they have expanded their operations to Ft. Myers Beach as well as North Ft. Myers. These additional locations have led to faster on-the-water response times, greatly decreasing the time it takes to arrive on scene. “With close to 2000 on-the-water tows annually, as well as un-groundings, adding these ports has been a huge complement to our business,” said Capt. Paul.

“What sets Paul’s and McMillin’s operation apart, is their deep commitment to marketing efforts that have really helped spread the word about our on-the-water towing services,” said BoatUS Vice President of Towing Services Jerry Cardarelli. “We are also very proud of their staffs’ professionalism and their deep commitment to providing Outstanding Customer Service.”

Much like an auto club, BoatUS Towing Services offers an “unlimited” towing plan for Florida boaters for just $149 a year, which includes BoatUS membership. Without a towing plan, the national average out-of-pocket cost for a tow is about $600. For another $14, those who trailer their boats on the road can also take advantage of BoatUS’ Trailer Assist program which will tow both a boat trailer and tow vehicle up to 100 miles to a safe location or home.

For membership and towing information visit, or call 800-888-4869.

About BoatUS: BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services.  For membership information visit or call 800-395-2628.

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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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BoatUS Report

Five On-The-Water BoatUS Towboat Captains Honored for Heroism

With over 600 tow boats spread across North America, the law of averages dictates that, eventually, BoatUS towing captains will be thrust into the middle of life-threatening emergencies. BoatUS Towing Services recently honored five of its TowBoatUS captains for their heroic actions with its annual BoatUS “Woody Pollack Lifesaving Awards” at a ceremony that capped off the group’s annual conference held in Tampa FL. The award is named after the well-respected towboat captain in the fleet who died at an early age.

“Sometimes the routine of normal day is interrupted by a life-threatening mayday call or an incident that unfolds in front of them, and our captains step in without hesitation,” said BoatUS Vice President of Towing Services Jerry Cardarelli. “They are not in the rescue business, but their actions save others. We are very proud of them.”

US Coast Guard Chief of Search and Rescue, Captain David McBride, who BoatUS also honored at the ceremony for his years of selfless and dedicated service to the nation’s boaters, presented the awards on behalf of BoatUS. Here are the details on the incidents:

One late, blustery summer night last year in July, Captain Kevin Freestone of TowBoatUS Big Pine Key, FL, responded to a mayday call from a 22-foot vessel with six persons aboard. After communications with the stricken boat fell ominously silent, Freestone desperately searched and found the swamped vessel, in which six passengers, standing in the semi-submersed boat, were precariously trying to balance to keep from overturning. Freestone took all aboard and safely returned them to shore and salvaged the vessel.

Capt. Kevin Freestone (L) of TowBoatUS Big Pine Key, FL, with US Coast Guard Chief of Search and Rescue, Capt. David McBride. Freestone was one of five BoatUS towing captains honored for heroism at the annual BoatUS Towing Services Conference.

When a late afternoon thunderstorm rolled in sheets of rain, 30 knots of wind, lighting and thunder, Captain Lee Eckler of TowBoatUS Tarpon Springs, FL was stunned at what he saw in the distance through the tempest: three heads bobbing in the water and an overturned kayak. Eckler immediately took aboard three girls, age 12 to 16, who only had one life jacket amongst them, and then safely deposited them and the kayak ashore at their nearby home. It was likely the luckiest break in their young lives.

One Friday last April, husband and wife Captains Rodney and Mattie Suggs of TowBoatUS Clear Lake, TX, raced to the scene of a disabled sailboat that had reported several persons in the water, but who were unable to swim back to the vessel as a swift current dragged them farther away. After finding one person and safely bringing them aboard, the Suggs’ were shocked to learn that six others were still missing. Searching, the captains soon found the remaining group – all of whom were severely exhausted, and one who had ingested a large amount of seawater. His friends said the young man would have soon drowned if it had not been for the Sugg’s fortunate actions.

On a Saturday afternoon Captain Mike Dunn of TowBoatUS Homosassa, FL, along with the local sheriff, arrived to a chaotic scene in which a 37-foot powerboat had violently overturned, ejecting its nine passengers into the water. While all had injuries, one 18-year-old was blue, not breathing, and had an exposed open wound to the head. After loading the young man aboard with the help of a Good Samaritan nurse and the boy’s mother, Dunn gunned the engines racing for shore while CPR was performed. At high speed, he then dodged dozens of boats along a narrow, constricted waterway, all the while making securite calls on the VHF radio and arranging to rendezvous with EMTs. The teen was life-flighted to the local hospital – and survived.

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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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