Harry and Judy Honan, U.S. Air Force veterans who met while serving abroad, are the new owners of TowBoatUS Stuart, Florida, a 24/7 on water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters. The port’s former owner, Capt. Woody Woodruff, one of the first TowBoatUS company owners in the nationwide fleet, has decided to retire. However, some familiar faces, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed towboat captains Jesse Hofmeister and Scott Alvarez, remain with the company.
TowBoatUS Stuart is part of a network of 300 TowBoatUS ports and 600 towing response vessels across the country that responded to more than 70,000 requests for assistance last year.
The Honans are excited about their new venture, which comes after a long career as CPAs. They provided accounting and tax services to all types of small companies, including towboat and offshore fishing businesses. The longtime boaters – Harry has boated since he was 8 – underwent extensive training under Woodruff.
“Woody ran a very successful operation,” says Harry. “We have gotten to know the business well and are looking forward to helping boaters have a better day on the water. Jesse and Scott are really good at what they do, and Judy and I are very pleased to have them.”
The Honans say they will be seeking additional response vessel captains to round out the company roster.
TowBoatUS Stuart patrols offshore through the St. Lucie Inlet to Lake Okeechobee, up the Intracoastal Waterway to Fort Pierce and south to the Jupiter Inlet. The company has four red TowBoatUS response vessels homeported at Sailfish Marina and Riverwatch Marina. All are rigged for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings and easily recognizable with TowBoatUS logos emblazoned in white letters on each side. Separate from BoatUS towing services, the company offers boat salvage and dive services.
The most common requests for on-water assistance, says Harry, are for ungrounding or fuel issues. “Sand bars move around continuously. Being on the wrong side of a buoy or mark could mean going from seven feet of water in the channel to just two outside the mark.”