As the owner of five Virginia and North Carolina TowBoatUS ports, Captain Donald Duck (yes, that’s his real name), has spent decades providing on-the-water towing and assistance to recreational boaters in need. This month, he took the helm at a sixth port, TowBoatUS Virginia Beach.
Duck, who operates TowBoatUS ports in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hopewell/Richmond and Yorktown/Poquoson in Virginia as well as Coinjock, N.C., explained that Captain Allen Owen and his wife Paula, the former owners of TowBoatUS Virginia Beach, had been friends of his for many years. When the Owens got too busy to run the business full time, Duck bought it.
“We’ll be providing the same fine service that boaters in the Virginia Beach area are accustomed to,” Duck said. “We have the same on-the-water staff, with Byron Farlow continuing as primary captain, and Captain Owen helping out on a part-time basis. We’ll be there 24/7 to help any boater who has a mechanical breakdown, runs out of fuel, or needs a battery jumpstart or a gentle tow off a sandbar.”
TowBoatUS offers an on-water Unlimited Towing Membership Plan for saltwater boaters and anglers for $149 a year that includes BoatUS membership. TowBoatUS says boaters face costs that average $700 per towing incident – with some paying into the thousands out of pocket – when they don’t have an annual BoatUS towing plan.
Duck, who has been boating all of his life and has a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, enjoys running the boats himself.
“I operate boats in every one of my ports,” he said. “It depends on where I’m needed and what is going on. I am always on call.”
TowBoatUS Virginia Beach has three assist boats, a 34-foot custom towboat with 370-hp inboard diesel, a 25-foot inboard-powered Privateer and a 21-foot Privateer with 250-hp outboard engine. All are painted bright red with the TowBoatUS name and logo emblazoned in white on the sides. Every boat is fully rigged for towing and salvage, with pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel.
TowBoatUS Virginia Beach’s main base is at Marina Shores Marina just off the Lynnhaven Inlet. Duck also stations one of the boats at the Virginia Beach Municipal Marina for quick response to both inland and offshore waters.
Boaters can reach TowBoatUS Virginia Beach by hailing them on VHF channel 16, calling the company directly at 757-692-4555, using the free BoatUS Smartphone App ,which instantly texts breakdown location and boat information to the BoatUS 24/7 Dispatch Center, or by calling 800-391-4869. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/towing.