TowBoatU.S. Opens Two New Ports
Written by h2ohazard   
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 14:46

TowBoatU.S., part of the nation's largest on-the-water towing service for recreational boaters, has opened two new ports on southern Lake Michigan, TowBoatU.S. St. Joseph and TowBoatU.S. South Haven, MI.  The two ports are owned and operated by Capt. Richard Lenardson, a native of Bridgman MI.  This brings the number of TowBoatU.S ports in Michigan to 14.

Lenardson has a 25-foot Mako response vessel stationed on Pier 33 in St. Joe and a 21-foot Sea Ark on South Haven harbor.  Both vessels can be identified by their distinctive red with white bow stripes and "TowBoatU.S." lettering along their sides.  Each vessel has a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, pumps, airbags and battery "jump packs" to handle every breakdown from running out of fuel to running aground.

Lenardson, a USCG licensed Captain, said, "A lot of perch fishermen have battery problems and call us for help.  Also, many boaters enjoy cruising to the waterfront festivals in the area, but will occasionally run out of gas going to these events.  Others will call us because of a dead engine - usually the result of maintenance issues - or when they didn't follow the rules of the road on the St. Joe River and run aground, requiring a gentle pull off the bottom.  The river can go from a depth of eight feet to just 18 inches in one boat length so you really need to be aware of those channel markers," he added.

Similar to a roadside auto club, BoatU.S. offers on-the-water assistance plans starting at around $37 a year. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that nationally average about $600 per incident. Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach TowBoatU.S. St. Joe and South Haven by calling the company directly at 269-266-2125; by VHF radio on channel 16; or through the BoatU.S. toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869 4869 or visit for more information.

The new ports are also participating in the BoatU.S. Foundation's Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids, which allows boaters to borrow a right-sized kid's life jacket for the day afternoon or weekend for free. "With three kids of my own, I know how fast they can outgrow a life jacket. Our loaner locations have a range of right-sized jackets that are easy to get," said Capt. Lenardson.  Boaters can call the company or go to the gas dock at Pier 33 in St. Joe or the Municipal Marina in South Haven to get a life jacket.
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