A local fishing and hunting guide, Capt. Robert Sanders III, has opened TowBoatU.S. Port O'Connor, TX, an on-the-water towing service that provides 24 hour-a-day assistance to recreational boaters and anglers. The new towing port is located at Froggie's Bait Dock on the ICW and is the 43rd TowBoatU.S. port in the Gulf and the 12th in Texas.
TowBoatU.S. Port O'Connor is equipped with two towboats: a 23-foot Haynie and a 20-foot Trail Boss airboat. Both vessels can be identified by their distinctive red hulls with white bow stripes and "TowBoatU.S." lettering along their sides. Onboard each 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 sponsor of local fishing tournaments, Capt. Sanders says the biggest reason boaters call for help are accidental groundings. With great fishing grounds, the region draws anglers from afar who are unfamiliar with its shallow waters peppered with shoals. "My air boat can get through some really thin water," said Sanders of his ability to reach stranded boaters and anglers. "It's definitely a necessity to have in this business," he added.
"Robbie," as he is known locally, is a USCG licensed captain and native of the Port O'Connor area who has worked in the marine industry his entire career and is also currently pursuing a degree in marine transportation from Texas A and M at Galveston, TX.
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. Port O'Connor at 361-983-2058; 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.