On-the-water towboat company opens on Mississippi River

Published online: Jun 11, 2010 News BoatUS News
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ST. CHARLES, Mo., June 10, 2010 - Local marine repair business owner Capt. John Bloch has opened TowBoatUS St. Charles, Missouri, an on-the-water towing company that recreational boaters and anglers can call to get reliable assistance and tows back to a launch ramp or marina day or night. Battery jump-starts, fuel drop-offs, and ungrounding services are some common requests for help.

Located at mile marker 221.8 at the Polestar Marina in St. Charles, the company's service area includes the Alton Pool and parts of the Illinois River. It's a new venture for Capt. Bloch who has operated Bloch Marine Services for over 15 years with three locations on the river. The facilities provide repair and maintenance services with a lift capacity of 60 tons. Stationed at TowBoatUS St. Charles is a 19-foot Wellcraft response vessel fully rigged for marine towing and salvage work, including extra fuel, engine fluids, pumps, and a battery "jump pack" to handle dead batteries.

Bloch grew up in a boating family and helped his father repair and restore old boats. Active in the community, he's chairman of the Show Me The Mississippi Committee and is helping to organize the first annual Boat Race for Backstoppers, which provides financial support to families of fallen firefighters and law enforcement personnel. He also assists with the annual Blessing of the Fleet, and frequently provides a safety boat for local regattas and boat races.

"The shifting sand bars and wing dams often snare passing boats, requiring a gentle pull to safely break free," said Bloch. "Boaters can avoid the hassle of trying to get non-emergency help by having an annual towing plan with us, but we'll also help anyone who requests assistance."

This is the fourth TowBoatUS port in Missouri (three locations are on Lake of the Ozarks) and joins a nationwide fleet of over 600 towboats which are part of BoatU.S. - Boat Owners Association of The United States - the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its half-a-million members with government representation, programs and money saving services. 

The private on-the-water towing industry began in the mid-1980s when Congress, faced with budget shortfalls, mandated that the US Coast Guard no longer provide non-emergency services to recreational boaters. Like an auto club, BoatUS offers "Unlimited" on-the-water towing plans for fresh water for just $53 a year, which includes BoatUS membership. 

Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that nationally average about $600 per incident. Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach TowBoatUS St. Charles by calling the company directly at 636-250-3007; by VHF radio on channel 16; or through the BoatUS toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869.
Visit BoatUS.com/towing for more information.

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