ALEXANDRIA, Va. - On-water boat towing and assistance service TowBoatU.S. is predicting it will receive about the same number of calls for assistance over the Memorial Day holiday as last year, according to a recent company statement.
The holiday weekend is typically the "kick-off" of the summer boating season, with many vessels hitting the water for the first time. Requests for on-the-water assistance to the TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist fleet has traditionally been a reliable indicator of recreational boating volume on the nation's waterways, according to the company.
Potentially impacting boat volume are high gas prices, which are causing some boaters to use their vessel less and take shorter trips, and a decline in water-ready vessels due to repercussions from last year's devastating hurricane season; however, weather is the most significant factor impacting boater turnout on the nation's waterways.
TowBoatU.S. expects to receive 3,000 or more requests for assistance from boaters across the country this Memorial Day weekend who will need a jump start, fuel drop off or a tow back to port.
"Fuel prices are affecting the offshore power boating and fishing enthusiasts, more so in some areas such as the West Coast and Pacific Northwest," said Jerry Cardarelli, vice president of BoatU.S. Towing Services, which includes over 500 TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist response vessels stationed in some 260 ports across the country. "Our towers in that region say that not as many folks are taking long cruises through the San Juan Islands and up the British Columbia coast.
"In the Northeast we expect traffic to be flat or slightly lower. And the Gulf region has lost a large portion of its recreational vessels to hurricanes, so we are expecting numbers to be down in that region. However, the biggest wild card is the weather - if it stays good more people will be on the water and with that comes more breakdowns.”
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