When boats break down on the water, run aground or run out of fuel, many recreational boaters use the free BoatUS App to summon TowBoatUS for routine on-water assistance. The app’s new Connect feature will automatically link app users with the closest local TowBoatUS captain, eliminating the need to call to BoatUS national dispatch and providing better service to boaters by shortening response times from the nation’s largest 24-hour, on-water towing fleet.
“At BoatUS, we know what it’s like to have to make a phone call for on-water assistance when conditions are not optimal,” said Mike Vatalaro, BoatUS digital innovation manager. “We have now eliminated that need, speeding up the dispatch process to get you service more quickly.” On average, more than 70,000 boaters a year request on-water assistance from the TowBoatUS fleet. “We are going to shave thousands of minutes off dispatch times,” added Vatalaro. “And that’s good for boaters.”
When a recreational boater requests on-water assistance by tapping the BoatUS App’s “Request a Tow” button on his or her smartphone, the app automatically provides the nearby TowBoatUS responder with the disabled boat’s confirmed GPS location. The boater will be asked to answer a few short questions to confirm the vessel type, the number of passengers aboard, anchoring status, the nature of the boat’s disablement, and the preferred destination.
Within seconds, a text message to the customer on the disabled boat will confirm the request was received. A follow-up text a few minutes later provides an estimated time of arrival. “The next communication is a call or text message from the local TowBoatUS towing captain advising he or she is underway,” added Vatalaro.
The app also offers hurricane alerts, weather and tides; helps BoatUS members find discounts on fuel, transient slips, and marine services; and makes it easy to file an insurance claim, pay bills, and update policy information.
BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $85 a year and $159 for saltwater. In addition to towing, both offer more than 25 benefits and services. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying into the thousands out of pocket.
BoatUS Towing Services provides assistance for routine on-water assistance. In the event of an emergency, boaters should contact the U.S. Coast Guard or a local government agency.