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Founding owner returns ready to help Lake Michigan boaters

by D. Scott Croft on 30 May 2013
TowBoatUS Kenosha’s 25-foot Parker towboat, ready to assist boaters 24-hours a day. BoatUS Press Room
Captain Pete Thompson, the founder and original owner of TowBoatUS Kenosha, which provides on water boat towing and ungrounding services, is back at the helm of the business he started more than ten years ago. 'We were the first TowBoatUS port in western Lake Michigan,' he said. 'I ran it for two years, and we built up a loyal membership. I hated to leave.'

But Thompson had no choice when his other job - he works in the veterinary sales industry when he is not on the water - forced him to move to New York's Long Island. While there, he worked part-time as a captain for a busy TowBoatUS port on Long Island's South Shore.

Much like an auto club for boaters, TowBoatUS offers on water towing plans for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $67 a year that includes BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face out of pocket costs that average $600 per incident nationally. More information is available at www.BoatUS.com/towing.

When Thompson moved back to Wisconsin and discovered that the Kenosha TowBoatUS port was in need of a new owner, he was thrilled. 'I love this work,' he said, 'and I know I can provide the same kind of fast response and excellent service that I did 10 years ago.'

Thompson, who grew up fishing, crabbing and water-skiing on the Potomac River, got his first boat when he was 10 and earned his US Coast Guard captain's license 15 years ago. He ran a charter fishing business on Lake Michigan before he became a TowBoatUS captain.

Kenosha, which is about 30 miles south of Milwaukee and 40 miles north of Chicago, is the sportfishing capital of Lake Michigan with an 'amazing' salmon fishery, according to Thompson. It is also a popular sailing and sailboat racing area.

'We cover a large geographic area, from Racine, WI, to Waukegan, IL,' Thompson said, so he made sure to get a fast boat-a 25-foot Parker with a 260-horsepower inboard/outboard engine. The boat is based at Southport Marina in Kenosha and is painted a distinctive red with 'TowBoatUS' on the hull. It is fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel. It can travel at 35 miles an hour, Thompson said, so he can reach anywhere in his area within an hour to assist boaters who have engine problems, run out of fuel or need a battery jumpstart. Service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with Thompson or one of two other US Coast Guard licensed captains running the boat.

Boaters can contact TowBoatUS Kenosha by hailing on VHF channel 16, calling 224-330-9789, via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App, or calling the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869. To see the location on a map, click here.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with a wide array of consumer services, including on water towing assistance provided by TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist. Combined, these two towing fleets offer boaters, anglers and sailors the world's largest network of towing ports with over 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels - three times larger than the closest competitor.
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