BoatU.S. projects 3,400 boaters will need help over holiday weekend

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — BoatU.S. Towing Services projects that 3,400 recreational boaters and anglers nationwide will need some type of on-the-water assistance during this Memorial Day weekend, which marks the unofficial start of the boating season in many parts of the country.

Most tows will results from incomplete spring commissioning or fuel that has gone bad over the winter, the company said in a release. Battery jump starts, fuel drop-offs and ungrounding services are also common problems.

"We expect the switchboards at our 24-hour Atlantic and Pacific call centers will start to light up on Thursday the 21st and stay busy through the holiday weekend," BoatU.S. Vice President Jerry Cardarelli said.

The company said favorable weather has caused an uptick in its volume of calls for assistance this year.

"Year to date, we are up five percent in the number of towing incidents in Florida, California, Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland, largely because of good weather," Cardarelli said.

Cardarelli also thinks the economy is a having an impact on the increased number of calls.

"Recreational boating is largely middle class, and right now many household budgets are tight, leaving less money for maintenance and repair on the family boat," Cardarelli said. "That leads to more breakdowns."

Another factor has been fuel prices.

"Lower fuel prices bring more people out on the water, which also correlates to increased use of towing services," he said.

A free "Spring Safety Pre-launch Checklist" is available online at the BoatU.S. Web site.

BoatU.S., which includes the TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist branded fleets, has more than 290 locations on coastal waters as well as freshwater lakes and rivers throughout the U.S.

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