Call today for more information.
(252) 728-5088 or (919) 303-1669

Every TowBoatUS Member should have the BoatUS App installed on their smartphone (if you have a smartphone). This app is amazing if you do ANY amount of boating. It so simple to download too. Simply go to your app store (either Iphone App Store or Droid Google Play) and search for BoatUS. It's a FREE APP and provides so much information. I did a few screen shots of my app just to show you some of the features -
BoatUS App - Home Screen

This is a picture of the Home Screen. You always have a digital copy of your membership card handy as well as current GPS position and weather.



BoatUS App - Menu Screen



The menu screen shows all the options you could possibly need while on the water. Does everything but pay for fuel! But another handy feature is that the app will provide you a service directory that lets you know who offers fuel discounts for BoatUS Members! AND you have a digital copy of your card with you to provide your membership information. 

Need tide info and forgot to check your tide clock before you left? No Problem!
BoatUS App - Weather  Tide

Ready to get the app? Here is a handy QR Code to take you right to the download screen!QR Code - BoatUS App

We are always here standing by too if you need help downloading the app, need your member information and of course if you need a tow! Call us anytime 24/7/365....252-728-5088 ext 0 and you will be directly in contact with our dispatcher or Captain on Duty if it is after hours.
Don't have a TowBoatUS Membership but want to know more information??? Call us anytime and we will be glad to answer any of your questions.
TowBoatUS has more ports on the Coast than any other on-the-water towing service. More Ports means More Boats on the water ready to assist which equals FASTER RUN TIME!

wrongWe have fielded quite a few calls already this boating season and hope to help prepare boat owners and our members by providing helpful information to protect their investment as well as all passengers onboard. We genuinely hope everyone has a safe and joyous boating day every single time you are on the water. Here are a few things you can prepare yourself for to assure a GREAT DAY ON THE WATER!

These are actual questions asked this month from callers into the office / dispatch….

Q – My boat insurance agent told me that my boat was covered under my homeowners insurance policy. Now that I have filed a claim he tells me that capsizing my boat is not covered. Come to find out – towing is not provided for either. I am cancelling my policy with them and going with someone else. Any Suggestions?

A – Just like all insurance you should get an explanation of benefits that outlines your coverages once you have paid your policy. Look for anything that you have added and if you do not see what you are looking for call your agent for clarification. Sometimes Homeowner policies cover your belongings in the vessel (or your car) but does not provide for liability coverage in the event you damaged another vessel or sustained damage yourself. It is a good idea to have a separate policy just for your boat. Boat Insurance is really not that much when you compare the cost to what you can receive in benefits in the event of a liability situation. Further you may want to ask specific questions to validate your coverage such as –

  • Is this hull insurance for my boat?
  • What is covered? What is Not?
  • If my boat sinks in the slip am I covered?
  • If someone hits my boat and does not have insurance, am I covered?
  • Are there any waterway restrictions or months of the year that my boat has limited coverage?
  • Is any towing included in my policy? How Much?
  • If my boat is a total loss, how is the benefits value assessed?

Q – I have towing coverage on my boats insurance policy. Am I covered with TowBoatUS?

A – Well yes and no. You are covered up to your benefit level. Many times insurance will provide towing coverage but it is for only the first $250.00 or $350.00 (levels are variable). With a TowBoatUS Unlimited policy in addition to your boat insurance policy, you are covered on any recreational boat you own, borrow or rent for the day. This covers any amount of per incident towing, soft ungrounding, and fuel delivery and jump starts away from your home dock. Call 252-728-5088 ext 0 for more details.

Q – Is TowBoatUS and BoatUS the same thing?

A – TowBoatUS is the Towing division of our parent company BoatUS.

Q – Can I buy BoatUS Insurance from you?

A – No – you must purchase insurance from a licensed agent for BoatUS. We can only sell the TowBoatUS Memberships locally. For more information about BoatUS Insurance for your vessel you can call 800-937-1937 and speak with a licensed agent for BoatUS.

Q - If I am broke down, what is the best way to reach you for a tow?

TowBoatUS can be reach via the 800 number on the back of your card or by calling your local tower. Hopefully you jave saved the number to your phone already! TowBoatUS Beaufort, Morehead City and Swansboro is 252-728-5088. The Lakes phone number is 919-303-1669. It's always best though that if you are having a distress situation that you use your VHF radio. Sometimes several towers will answer but can always determine who is closest. If no one answers your VHF call - please do a radio check to make sure your radio is in proper working order. The USCG may hear you though and relay communications for you. DO NOT CALL MAYDAY unless you are actually having an immediate situation and not just a rescue tow or ungrounding.

Q - So when DO I call MAYDAY?

Hopefully you will never have to call MAYDAY for the USCG to answer. But if you prepared to answer the following questions-
1) What is the nature of your distress? (Do not go into too many details - the USCG is trying to determine how fast they need to move!!! DO NOT KEEP YOUR MIC KEYED.
2) How many POB (person's on board)? Ages? They will also ask that everyone put on a lifejacket.
3) What is your location? USCG is looking for a GOS position. If you do not have that then call a boat close to you and have them relay to USCG. If you are within cell phone range the FREE BoatUS App will show your GPS position one the 1st screen! Good to have!!!!
After all that they will determine who can get to you fastest. Rest assured - we are listening and probably on the way as well!

Q – Can you tow my boat from New York back to Morehead City, NC?

A – Well sure we can but it is not a covered incident with TowBoatUS. TowBoatUS provides emergency towing coverage for your recreational vessel while underway. If you were on your boat in New York and broke down, TowBoatUS would cover the cost of your tow to a repair facility or back to where you put your boat into the water. If you broke down in Oriental and needed to get back to Morehead City however, your towing charges would be covered up to $2500.00 (which is quite a lot of towing) with a TowBoatUS Unlimited Membership (that only costs $149.00 annually by the way).

Q – I heard that TowBoatUS only goes out 20 miles and then the Member has to pay out of pocket. Is this true?

A – Absolutely not! All TowBoatUS ports are required to cover at least a 25 mile radius from the towers port. If the port has personnel and vessels that can provide extended service then you are covered there also. For example: TowBoatUS Beaufort provides coverage in a 75 mile radius of our home port in Morehead City, NC. With our Curtis 41’ we can easily travel off-shore to the Big Rock and beyond. If you EVER have to pay out of pocket (fuel, oil, some dock-to-dock charges, etc) your TowBoatUS Captain will let you know well in advance.

Whatever type of boat you have you should have Boat Insurance AND TowBoatUS Towing Coverage! Call today for more information. 252-728-5088 ext 0

ICE (In Case of Emergency) 

If you have never had need to call on the USCG or TowBoatUS while underway, then you can count your blessings! It happens to the best of Boaters everyday though so why not be prepared “just in case?” There are a few things you can do to prepare before ever leaving the dock.

ä      Radio Check – while most vessels are not required to have a VHF radio on board – if they do however it is required to work. Either way, if you have a VHF radio on your boat call TowBoatUS for a Radio Check before leaving the dock. It’s as simple as calling out on VHF Channel 16 “TowBoatUS, TowBoatUS, this is ‘Reel Fun’ calling for a radio check.” Our dispatcher will likely have you switch your traffic to one of our working channels to complete your radio check.

ä      Maybe you rely on a cell phone for emergency response. Make sure your battery is fully charged and check your cell reception periodically to make sure you are in range of a signal. Most cell phones are not going to help if you transit too far off-shore. A VHF radio will insure that you are heard by boaters in the area (generally within a 20 mile radius).

ä      Have phone numbers and boat info handy. This includes phone numbers to USCG, TowBoatUS and any other Emergency contacts such as insurance carrier.

A few words about how to address your call……


MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY –To signal grave and imminent danger. This could mean your boat is sinking or there is an immediate medical emergency onboard. This phrase is not used to raise the Coast Guard! I have heard this used to let the USCG know that there was a piling floating in the channel. Worth the effort to call them but certainly NOT a MAYDAY call.

PON PON PON PON PON PON– To signal less than grave and imminent danger but still urgent danger.

SECURITY SECURITY SECURITY - This is the International Safety Signal and is a message about some aspect of navigational safety or a weather warning.

If you are calling on VHF or even a cell phone, and you are in an emergency situation the person you are speaking with will know what to ask. Do NOT try to give all the information in one transmission unless your vessel is in imminent peril (as in a MAYDAY call)! In other words – let go of the mic button! Take a breath. Make sure you are being heard. If no one responds, ask for confirmation of your transmission. It may be that you are being heard but protocol dictates that the person you are calling answer first.

In case of an emergency you will likely be asked the following questions. Try to keep your answers clear and concise. Below are a few questions you will likely be asked (in no specific order of importance).

  1. What is your position? If you do not have a GPS then be prepared to answer questions about visual references and / or distance from inlet, markers, or other known reference points. The FREE BoatUS app for your Smartphone also allows you to view your GPS position. That comes in real handy when you have a dead boat battery!
  2. How many people are onboard? You will then be asked if everyone is wearing a life jacket. Make sure this is done as soon as you realize your vessel is in distress. All POB’s (Persons On Board) should wear their PFD (personal floatation device) until you are safely ashore. You may also be asked names and ages of those onboard as well as if there are any medical conditions.
  3. What is the nature of your distress? This is the time to be succinct. If your vessel is taking on water there may be more info that is needed to transmit than if you have a dead battery. However, try to be as brief as possible. The responder likely has more questions to get to.
  4. Description of the vessel? Whoever is speaking on the radio should know the name of the boat, the length, make, model, color and any distinctive characteristics of the boat (color, bimini top, dinghy on bow, etc). Again – try to speak clearly and just answer the questions asked.

The USCG will likely have more questions for you to answer than the above. They will also ask if you are a member of a commercial assistance company. Trust that our Captains and/or Dispatch are listening. And we are likely on our way……………. :-)

Enter these numbers now -
TowBoatUS Beaufort / Swansboro - 252-728-5088
USCG - Station Fort Macon - 252-247-4584
NC Marine Patrol - 252-726-7021
Whale or Dolphin Strandings - 252-241-5119 - Vicky

While I generally do not receive many questions via email, I do get asked quite a few things during each day that I would like to share. I would like to take a few minutes to clear up a few things and to explain about Towing Memberships vs. Hull Insurance. The short answer is you need BOTH! For purposes of this article I will compare TowBoatUS Unlimited Membership vs. Full Coverage Hull Insurance. Hull insurances, just like towing memberships, come with a varying selection of coverage. Some basic hull insurances offer limited towing coverage also. Ask questions; read your policy(s); check all the fine print; know what you do and do not have.

Q – My boat is on a mooring, (in a slip; tied to a private dock; at the ramp) and I need it moved. I live in Raleigh. Can you Move my boat?
A – Of course we can move your boat – HOWEVER – this is not a covered incident under your TowBoatUS Membership UNLESS you are an unlimited GOLD Member. The reason for this is that Towing membership covers Emergency Towing. If you were to breakdown on your way back, (or even on your way out) to our mooring, slip, dock or ramp, then you would definitely be covered. Check your hull insurance policy to see if your policy covers any dock-to-dock or non-emergency towing.

Q – My boat was sitting on the beach and the tide fell away? Is this a soft ungrounding?
A – Yes. You are covered because your boat is potentially in peril of further damage. However, if your boat ended up beached because of a rouge wave or incident involved while piloting the boat, then that would need further observation. Which leads to my next question……

Q – My boat is _________, (YOU fill in the blank). Can you tell me how much it would cost to _______________?
A – Oh no no no! I have learned that sometimes a caller might say their boat is sinking when actually it is SUNK! Other times they may say that all they need is a tow and their boat is sitting on a rock jetty! I can only suggest that we get a captain on scene to see what we are dealing with.

And now for some actual situations……..

Caller – “If I buy a membership with you on the phone right now, can I use it for you guys to come get me today?”
A – I generally have to bite my tongue because I really want to say something like, “why in the world would you leave your dock without insurance and a TowBoatUS Membership???” But the short answer is “no.” Membership goes into effect as of midnight of the day you sign up. Which ultimately leads to the next question…..

Caller – “So if I sign up today can you come and get me at midnight?”
A – “Again, no. Unfortunately towing membership does not cover any pre-existing conditions with your boat. Just like you would not be able to buy health insurance after your doctor said you needed to be hospitalized.”

Caller – “I bought a Lake Membership and your competition told me that it only covers the first $58.00 of the tow.”
A – This is soooo untrue. The truth is that the competition charges DOUBLE what we do for the same coverage. A TowBoatUS Unlimited Lake membership costs $58.00 per year and covers your recreational boat for any amount of per incident towing, soft ungrounding, and fuel delivery and jump starts away from your home dock on any inland lake or river.

Here is a link for even more TowBoatUS FAQ. And you can always call us here for any questions about towing, ungrounding, salvage, dewatering, and especially TowBoatUS Membership! 252-728-5088

I just got a call from a member that had questions about the best way to get in touch with TowBoatUS. There are many answers to that question so let me begin by telling you what I think is the best way to get in touch with TowBoatUS…….CALL US LOCALLY! Now this may not be the favored way at BoatUS Corporate – although they get their fair share of phone calls on any given weekend. However – and now this is going to be the hardest to accept – sometimes the member is not sure of what they are calling about! Our Unlimited member John that just called after calling TowBoatUS Dispatch last week, said he broke down at a dock and needed a tow to the ramp which was about 200 yards down the waterway. John had been having lunch at a restaurant that had a dock for patrons and when he went to start his boat after lunch to head back it would not start! The TowBoatUS Dispatcher heard “dock-to-dock” so the member that had allowed his membership to lapse before renewing the previous week was told that he would have to wait 30 days for a tow.

Lots of problems and misconceptions happened in that short 2 minute call. First of all – John now thought that he could not use his membership for 30 days. FALSE! Membership goes into effect at midnight of the night that you sign up. What happened however was that TowBoatUS Dispatcher thought that the member was at a home dock. Had that been the case the Unlimited Member would have to wait for a period of no less than 30 days and would then be required to pay up to ½ of the tow charges. TowBoatUS coverage is defined as “emergency towing” so if your boat starts out at the home dock there is obviously no “emergency” that would require a tow. Unlimited GOLD coverage allows for a 100% PAID dock-to-dock tow after a waiting period (90 days?) designed also to allow for larger vessels that stay in the water to be able to have transport to a repair facility. This membership costs extra but is definitely worth it if you need your boat towed to a repair or haulout facility.

Another way to contact TowBoatUS is by installing and using your BoatUS app on your smart phone. All you have to do is push the “Call Now For A Tow’ icon and you are immediately connected to BoatUS (Corp) Dispatch. Another icon allows you to “Share Your (GPS) Position” which is also displayed at the top of your screen. The third icon allows you to surf the BoatUS Directory. The app is FREE and can be found in your market by searching “BoatUS.”

But back to my choice of “How To Call” – dial 252-728-5088 or your local tower. Put the number in the cell phone RIGHT NOW and call us direct. We are here 24/7/365 and ask all the right questions to get you taken care of as fast as possible. And now I know – I left off VHF radio. You can certainly hail “TowBoatUS” on VHF Channel 16 anytime – day or night. We monitor the channel 24/7/365 also. It’s helpful too if you say where you are located when you hail – for example “TowBoatUS Beaufort” or “TowBoatUS Big Rock.” The tower local to your position will answer and switch you to their working channel.

There are many ways to call – JUST CALL US! My ole boss used to say “Call me if you need me – Need me if you call me!” Give us a call either way – we’re listening!

The Basics of TowBoatU.S. Membership are just this – DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOCK WITHOUT IT! Just because you “are getting the magazine” does not mean that you have the coverage you need. One phone call to our office can give you the piece of mind that your day on the water is not going to be your “OH MY GOSH THIS WAS EXPENSIVE” day on the water. Non-member towing starts at $300.00 per hour. That is the time our Tow Captain leaves the dock, assists you with your distress, re-fuels his tow boat and returns to home base. So the absolute very least a tow would cost you (in a very rare instance) would be $300.00. And please do keep in mind how much time it took YOU to get where you are before you tell our tow captain that your tow should not take more than one hour!

Additional costs are added if your vessel is aground. If you are hard aground it could be an insurance case. Groundings for non-members start at $15.00 per foot times the length of the vessel. Small craft advisory can add $30.00 per hour to your tow and P.M. rates add $25.00 per hour to your tow. We are already at over $800.00 for a one hour grounder on a 30’ boat!

And sure, you can call your friend to come help you. But what did your friend do to you????? Now their day is re-routed! And they have to get their boat in the water and head your way. If you are aground you have the further chance of liability to your friend’s boat. Is that really worth the risk???

For only $149.00 per year you are covered on any recreational vessel that you own, charter or happen to rent for the day. You are covered 100% on any per incident breakdown for on the water towing, soft-ungrounding and fuel delivery and jump starts away from your home dock. If you keep your boat in the water year round you may want to consider the GOLD Membership that allows for 100% coverage of dock-to-dock tows and also pays for delivery of fuel or a jump start at your home dock.

You have made the investment of a lifetime to enjoy boat ownership – why would you not have a membership for those days that don’t give you 100% satisfaction? TowBoatU.S. Membership is by far the least expensive with the must reward that you can purchase for your boat. P.S. – your family is covered too!!!!!

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Upcoming Events

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SMLBA Poker Run
May 19 - 20, 2017
Smith Mountain Lake


Crystal Coast Boat Show
May 20 - 21, 2017
Waterfront - Downtown Morehead City, NC


Crystal Coast Boat Show


NC Seafood Festival
Oct 6 - 8, 2017
Morehead City, NC Waterfront

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