Betting on the continued growth of the Slidell, LA region, Capt. Mark Tupper has opened his second on-the-water towing port on Lake Pontchartrain at Oak Harbor Marina. The new port, TowBoatU.S. East Lake Pontchartrain, LA, provides tows back to a marina or launch ramp, fuel deliveries, battery jump-starts, or ungrounding services for recreational boaters. The USCG-licensed Tupper also owns TowBoatU.S. West Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville at Mariners Village, which he opened just two years ago.
Tupper believes that the area's continued post-Katrina development will bring more boaters - and business. "We are seeing marinas growing, as well as hotels and canal-front homes sprouting up. With all of the new communities and people moving in, I hope to grow my service as well," said Tupper. "I also want to help fishermen get safely back to the launch ramp any time of day or night," he added.
Capt. Tupper has stationed at the port a 20-foot Twin V Cat response boat that was built especially for the lake's shallow and marshy waters. It can be identified by its distinctive red hull, white bow stripes and "TowBoatU.S." lettering along its side. Onboard is a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, engine fluids, pumps, and a battery "jump pack" to handle dead batteries.
A native of New Orleans and a former oil and gas industry engineer, Tupper is past chairman of the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited and a member of the local U.S. Power Squadron. His company also volunteers services to local fishing tournaments and sailing regattas.
The lake's thin water and unique tidal movement can conspire to leave some boaters or anglers with the need for a tow off a sandy shoal. However, the BoatU.S. towing fleet, which handled over 60,000 calls for assistance nationwide from boaters last year, reports that the number one reason for on-the-water breakdowns was maintenance issues such as dead batteries or engine overheats.
Similar to a roadside auto club, BoatU.S. offers on-the-water towing plans for saltwater boaters 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. East Lake Pontchartrain by calling the company directly at 985-373-6330; by VHF radio on channel 16; or through the BoatU.S. toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869 or visit http://www.BoatUS.com/Towing for more information.