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Zhik 2020 AnneMarieRindom LEADERBOARD

TowBoatUS 24-hour on-water assistance for recreational boaters now available on Old Hickory Lake

by Scott Croft 19 May 22:10 PDT 16-17 May 2020
Captain Kirk Fonte, owner of TowBoatUS Old Hickory Lake. © Scott Croft

Towing recreational boats is a family affair for the Fonte household of La Verge, Tennessee. Capt. Kirk Fonte began operating TowBoatUS Percy Priest Lake in 2014, offering towing, battery jump-starts and soft ungrounding services to recreational boaters 24/7. Now the local business that is part of a nationwide network of more than 300 TowBoatUS locations is operated by Kirk's son, Junior. Taking the opportunity to grow the family business and support boaters throughout the Nashville boating region, Junior has opened a second location, TowBoatUS Old Hickory Lake.

No stranger to helping others, Junior was a young Navy veteran at 26 when TowBoatUS Percy Priest Lake first opened and he began working for his dad as a towboat captain. Having already served four years aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, Junior's time in the Navy included six months working on cleanup efforts on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 as well as responding to the Kalamazoo oil spill in Battle Creek, Michigan. Fonte's on-water experience responding in times of need has proven to be valuable in Tennessee, where helping boaters is a daily routine.

Now with TowBoatUS Old Hickory Lake as a second port in the company's service area, TowBoatUS Piercy Priest Lake will be able to assist boaters from Turtle Bay to Cedar Creek. "We can help get them wherever they need to go," said Junior Fonte about his company's operating region. "We even go all the way out to Kentucky Lake."

Much like an auto club for recreational boat owners, BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing memberships for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $85 per year. Included are more than 25 benefits and discounts, a subscription to BoatUS Magazine, free DSC-VHF radio registration, and more. Boaters without a towing membership face an average nationwide cost of $750 per towing incident. The top three reasons boaters most cite when requesting on-water help are mechanical issues, running aground, and battery/electrical issues.

Ranging from 20- to 23-feet in length, all three of the company's 24-hour towing response vessels can be recognized by their bright red hulls with "TowBoatUS" in white letters on each side. At the helm are professional, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains.

Separate from BoatUS on-water towing services, the company also refloats sunken boats and provides salvage and underwater inspection services. The company's crew of three certified divers includes a divemaster with 20 years of experience who is authorized to examine structural integrity of dams.

The fastest way to summon assistance from TowBoatUS Old Hickory Lake is to download the free BoatUS App, which connects boaters to the closest local towing captain. Additionally, the company can be reached at 615-663-3599, by hailing on VHF channel 16, or by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/Towing, or by calling 800-888-4869.

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