ONSET, Mass. – Capt. Shawn Brule, who retired from the U.S. Coast Guard last August after 22 years of service, is the new owner of TowBoatUS Cape Cod, an on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters.
“I’ve always known I would own a boat towing company at some point in my life,” said Brule, who began working as a deckhand in a similar business when he was a teenager in Florida. “Just as I was getting ready to retire, I heard the previous owner wanted to sell his Cape Cod business. Everything was in alignment, so the deal came together.”
Brule, who was a senior chief boatswain’s mate, spent his entire Coast Guard career in New England waters, serving for the last five years as head of the Aids to Navigation Team out of the Boston station. He also worked at the Woods Hole Coast Guard station for a few years. “I know these waters well,” he said, referring to Buzzards Bay, the Cape Cod Canal and Cape Cod Bay, the area he serves.
Brule will use that local knowledge to come to the aid to boaters who get stuck on a sandbar, have an engine breakdown, need fuel, a battery jumpstart or other routine assistance. Much like an auto club for boaters, TowBoatUS offers nationwide on water towing plans for saltwater boaters and anglers for $158 a year that includes BoatUS membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that average $750 per incident nationally.
Brule’s boats, a 27-foot Boston Whaler with twin 350 horsepower inboard engines and a 27-foot Robalo with twin 250-horsepower outboards, are equipped with dewatering pumps, dive gear, lift bags, towing gear, battery jump packs and extra fuel. They are painted red with the white TowBoatUS letters on each side and are on call 24 hours a day seven days a week. Brule, who is 42, is pleased that his son, a junior at Massachusetts Maritime Academy will be working with him this summer, and he has other captains in the pipeline to call on when needed. Brule’s girlfriend, Stacey Russell, another Coast Guard retiree, will assist with management.
To see the TowBoatUS location on a map, go to BoatUS.com/capecod.