FORT LOUDON/TELLICO LAKE, Tenn., June 18, 2014 – Captain Will Willison, the new owner of TowBoatUS Fort Loudon/Tellico Lake, Tennessee, made a fortunate phone call in January. He called the then-owner of the Knoxville area TowBoatUS “port” to ask if he might be looking for additional weekend captains to help with the business. I’m not hiring, the owner told him, and then he went on to say that he was thinking of retiring and selling his business. Two months later, Willison was the owner, fulfilling a longtime ambition.
“I worked as a captain for another Tennessee TowBoatUS port several years ago,” the US Coast Guard-licensed Willison explained, “And I told myself it I ever had the opportunity to have a business like this, that is exactly what I’d like to do. I just can’t get enough of being on the water, and I love helping people.”
Much like an auto club for boaters, TowBoatUS offers on water towing plans for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $67 a year that includes BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that average $600 per incident nationally.
“TowBoatUS Fort Loudon/Tellico Lake is staffed to succeed,” Willison said. “Captain Chad Tinch and Captain Zach Bisch carry most of the load on an everyday basis. I am fortunate to have such professionals representing me and TowBoatUS. You know, when your name is on the line, it just means more.”
Service will now be available to assist boaters on Fort Loudon Lake from Knoxville to Fort Loudon Dam and all of Tellico Lake, dispatched 24-hours a day. The lakes, which are connected by a short canal, are part of the Tennessee River system and are surrounded by beautiful homes and are popular with all kinds of boaters and anglers. “If anyone runs aground, has a mechanical breakdown or just needs a fuel drop or a battery jump, we’ll be there,” Willison said.
“The response you get helping people safely get home makes you feel a little like Superman.” Willison said. “When people feel safe on the water and know someone is there to help, they can relax and enjoy their time on the water. That’s good for the entire boating community.”
His response boat, a 21-foot Stratos with a 225-horsepower Mercury outboard, is fully equipped for most any kind of routine boater assistance, with a big aluminum towing bit, state-of-the-art electronics, dewatering and firefighting pumps, extra fuel and a jump pack to handle dead batteries.
Willison has just purchased his second boat, a 28-foot Bertram with twin 454 inboard engines, which is about ready to go into service. Both are painted a distinctive red with the words “TowBoatUS” on the side and will be based about midpoint in the lakes at Concord Marina, in Concord, TN. “I should be able to reach any boat in need within 30 to 45 minutes”, Willison said. He’s also not ruling out a third boat and spreading out his fleet along the river for quicker services.
Boaters can contact TowBoatUS Fort Loudon/Tellico Lake by calling them directly at 865-414-1626 or by calling the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869. Assistance can also be summoned via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App, and BoatUS is also the only towing service that offers satellite messaging services with the SPOT and inReach satellite communications services. To see the company’s location on a map, go to www.BoatUS.com/ftloudontellicolake.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with a wide array of consumer services, including on water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist. Combined, these two towing fleets offer boaters, anglers and sailors the world’s largest network of towing ports with over 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels, three times larger than the closest competitor. For more information go to BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-888-4869.