BoatU.S. Towing Services recently reported that it had more than 60,000 requests for assistance in 2006, which is an increase of 2.5% over the year 2005. Jerry Cardarelli, vice president of BoatU.S. Towing Services, says the slight increase could be attributed to the 18 new service locations added last year. “Once we open a port, boaters are more inclined to give us a ring when something goes wrong,” he says.
Cardarelli also says more boaters are using cellphones to request non-emergency help. One cause for that increase, reasons Cardarelli, could be that many boaters would prefer not to broadcast embarassing mishaps like engine problems or running out of fuel with the wide audience listning on VHF Channel 16.
Despite the convenience of cellphones, however, boaters should not abandon VHF completely, urges Cardarelli. “Boaters should still have a VHF radio,” he says. “In an emergency, the first responders most likely to come to your aid will be your fellow boaters. And the best way to reach them is with a VHF radio.”
BoatU.S. Towing Services is the largest on-the-water assistance program in the United States, with more than 670,000 members. The club’s assistance plans start at just $19 a year; without a towing plan, assistance on average runs about $600 per incident.
For more information on BoatU.S. Towing Services, contact (800) 888-4869 or www.BoatUS.com/Towing