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New owners take helm of Central New York Boater Assistance Service

by Scott Croft 25 May 07:33 PDT
Capt. Grant Langheinrich and Karla Langheinrich aboard one of their TowBoatUS response vessels © Scott Croft

Long-time Central New Yorkers Capt. Grant Langheinrich and his wife Karla Langheinrich are the new owners of two 24-hour on-water towing ports, TowBoatUS Rochester and TowBoatUS Oneida Lake. Much like an auto club for boaters, the locations are part of a nationwide network of 300 ports and 600 towing response vessels across the country that assist boaters with 24-hour routine on-water assistance, including battery jumps, fuel drop-offs and tows back to a launch ramp or marina.

BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $85 per year. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying much more.

"Most requests for assistance from boaters are for unexpected things like dead batteries, running out of fuel, a broken belt or hose, or electrical or starting issue," said Capt. Langheinrich. "We can get you and your family safely back to the launch ramp or marina so you don't have to worry."

A U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, Grant Langheinrich began as a deckhand at TowBoatUS Oneida Lake working under the tutelage of former owner Capt. Tom Tyo, who Langheinrich credits as his mentor. When Tyo sold the port to Capt. Jacob Van Reenen in 2016, Langheinrich joined the company as a deckhand, then later became a hired captain during the summer. "Tom urged me to get my captain's license and helped me study for the test," said Langheinrich. "He trained me how to provide professional on-water assistance to recreational boaters. Jacob and Jennifer Van Reenen were also great mentors in helping us get the business off the ground, and we continue to have a great partnership."

Karla Langheinrich handles the business side of the operation, including dispatching, marketing and finance. Both locations have Coast Guard-licensed captains.

The Langheinrichs have completed top-to-bottom refurbishments of the company's two response vessels, a 23-foot Pacific wheelhouse center-console located at Snug Harbour Marina in Verona Beach and a sturdy 23-foot Maritime Patriot pilothouse located at Shumway Marine in Rochester. New paint, electronics and towing gear have been installed. Both are rigged for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings and are easily recognizable by their bright red hulls with TowBoatUS logos emblazoned in white letters on each side. The company also offers salvage, recovery, dive and hazmat services.

Boaters can reach TowBoatUS Rochester at 585-797-9847 and TowBoatUS Oneida Lake at 315-744-2229. Both can also be reached by hailing on VHF channel 16, by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869, or via smartphone using the new BoatUS App.

More information can be found at BoatUS.com/Towing, or by calling 800-888-4869.

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