SARASOTA, Fla., Feb. 6, 2023 – By the time Maine Maritime College student Mike Blunt had become the youngest towing captain employed at a recreational boat towing company in his home town of San Diego in 1998, he had already worked on a fuel dock, held jobs in the sportfishing fleet, and was a certified rescue diver. That’s when, he says, he cultivated his passion for the sea and set a goal: By age 50, he wanted to own his own recreational marine boat towing business.
After a false start or two, he’s now gotten his dream job as the new owner of TowBoatUS Sarasota and TowBoatUS Manatee River, Florida, two of more than 300 TowBoatUS locations across the country that provide on-water towing, ungrounding, battery jump and fuel drop-off services to recreational boaters 24/7. All TowBoatUS companies are locally owned and operated.
Soon after the fateful summer job and while still in college, Capt. Blunt made his first attempt at purchasing a local TowBoatUS company on the California coast, but funding proved to be elusive. He later moved to the Tampa region and for the last 19 years has been working in the maritime shipping industry. Three years ago he came close to purchasing another red-boat location, but the sellers had a last-minute change of plan. Other prospects also didn’t pan out – until now.
“I’m so excited to have my own TowBoatUS territory!” said Blunt. “I love being able to help boaters and make their day better.” The company’s dispatcher, Ray Sickles, who, for more than 21 years, has helped boaters get the on water help they need, remains with the business.
Much like an auto club for recreational boat owners, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for Florida boaters and anglers for just $165 per year. Included with Unlimited Towing membership are more than 25 Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) benefits and discounts, a subscription to BoatUS Magazine, free DSC-VHF radio registration, and more.
Blunt has three red TowBoatUS response vessels and he plans to add a fourth. All of the company’s captains are U.S. Coast Guard-licensed. Separate from BoatUS on-water towing, the company offers boat salvage and environmental remediation services.
The fastest way to request assistance is to download the free BoatUS App, which connects boaters to the closest local towing captain. Additionally, both TowBoatUS locations can be reached at 941-228-8684, or by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869.
For more go to BoatUS.com/Towing or call 800-888-4869.