Cape Coral On-the-Water Towing Company for Recreational Boaters

April 2009 News
TowBoatU.S. Cape Coral, the on-the-water towing company that offers recreational boaters reliable on-the-water assistance day or night, has added two new operating locations. Company owners Capt. Richard Paul and Capt. Jay McMillin have opened TowBoatU.S. Ft. Myers, located at City Yacht Basin, and TowBoatU.S. Ft. Myers Beach, located in Siesta Isles. The U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains say the two new ports will decrease response times for boaters seeking non-emergency help on the Caloosahatchee River east of Ft. Myers and near Bonita Springs. Battery jump starts, fuel drop offs, ungrounding services and tows back to a launch ramp are common requests.

Stationed at TowBoatU.S. Ft. Myers is 22-foot center console response boat with 225-hp Yamaha while TowBoatU.S. Ft. Myers Beach has a 21-foot Atlas Pompano with 115-hp Yanmar diesel inboard. Both vessels have shallow drafts necessary for plying the region's skinny waters and carry a full complement of towing and salvage equipment including extra fuel, engine fluids, pumps, dive gear and a battery "jump pack" to handle dead batteries. They can be identified by their distinctive red hulls, white bow stripes and "TowBoatU.S." lettering along their sides.

The company's service area includes from Redfish Pass south to Wiggins Pass, and the Caloosahatchee Waterway all the way up to Moore Haven on Lake Okeechobee. Offshore the company offers a 75-mile "extended" service area in the Gulf.

Paul and McMillin first met over two decades ago working at Publix Supermarkets. "We have retained our customer service focus," says McMillin, who along with Paul were former store managers before retiring and purchasing TowBoatUS Cape Coral in 2005. McMillin has been in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers area since 1960. "I'm not yet considered a local," he says with a chuckle. Paul grew up in the Lakeland/Winter Haven area and learned to fish as a child living on Little Gasparilla Island, where he took the family boat to school. Both had extensive boating experience before going into business together and are certified scuba divers.

Captain McMillin says the region sees may transient boaters who are unfamiliar with local waters, which sometimes leads to trouble. "It's very shallow around here, but the good news is the bottom is sand so we can usually get them on their way with a gentle pull," he says.

BoatU.S. offers
"Unlimited" on-the-water towing plans in Florida for just $135 a year, which includes BoatU.S. membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that nationally average about $600 per incident. Boaters in need of towing assistance can reach all three ports by calling the company directly at 239-945-1664; by VHF radio on channel 16; or through the BoatU.S. toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869.

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