The "School Builder" Goes Into Business

Of Getting Boaters And Anglers Safely Home

Published online: Feb 14, 2008 News
Viewed 274 time(s)

Capt. William "Barry" Orem Opens TowBoatU.S. Lake Keowee, SC

Capt. William "Barry" Orem, a construction executive known locally for helping to build over 50 school projects in the Southeast, has opened TowBoatU.S. Lake Keowee, SC, an on-the-water towing port that provides assistance to recreational boaters and anglers. Located at John's Marine Services on the Barkshed Branch across from High Falls Park, it is the first 24/7, year-round boat towing service located on the lake. TowBoatU.S. Lake Keowee is now also the second inland waterway location in South Carolina after nearby TowBoatU.S. Lake Hartwell, and brings the total number of TowBoatU.S. towing ports in the state to eight.

TowBoatU.S. Lake Keowee is equipped with a 23-foot Seabird with 225 HP outboard and can be identified by its distinctive red hull with white bow stripes and "TowBoatU.S." lettering along the sides. Onboard is a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, engine fluids, pumps, and battery "jump packs" to handle every breakdown from running out of fuel to running aground.

A Greenville native, scuba diver and USCG licensed Captain, Orem is known locally for his participation with the Lake Hartwell Sail & Power Squadron as a vessel safety inspector. He is also a member of the Greenville Salt Water Sportsmen Club and on the Planning Committee of the Hartwell Gold Poker Run that is held annually on Lake Hartwell.

A Duke Power nuclear and hydropower impoundment lake, Lake Keowee can experience rapidly fluctuating water levels that can lead to grounding. "However, most of the time we are called for help it's due to an engine breakdown or running out of fuel," said Capt. Orem. While many boaters on Lake Keowee are from the local area, Orem said that several new resort areas being built could bring more tourist boaters to the lake.

Similar to a roadside auto club, BoatU.S. offers on-the-water assistance plans starting at just $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. Lake Keowee by calling the company directly at 864-420-1256; by VHF radio on channel 16; or through the BoatU.S. toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869 or visit for more information.

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