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Abell Point Marina 2018 Nautical Mile

TowBoatUS comes to Lake Oconee

by Scott Croft 10 May 15:09 UTC
Daniel and Brandy Whitby, new owners of TowBoatUS Lake Oconee, aboard one of their 24-hour on-water assistance company's response vessels. © Scott Croft

It wasn't until after helping in two hurricane-relief efforts that Brandy and Daniel Whitby realized their passion for assisting boaters. Earlier this year, the couple opened TowBoatUS Lake Oconee, a 24-hour on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters, to continue fulfilling that passion on the lake they've boated on for years.

While the Whitbys have seven years of experience salvaging boats, all it took was an extra push from friends to finally open their own port. "When we were in Texas helping after Hurricane Harvey last year we ran into some friends of ours who are fellow TowBoatUS owners," said Daniel. "They were the ones who encouraged us to open our own TowBoatUS port, and took us under their wing to help us get everything up and running." The local business is part of a nationwide network of over 300 TowBoatUS locations.

Much like an auto club for boaters, BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $72 per year. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying into the thousands out of pocket.

With the lake drawing everyone from recreational fishermen to retirees and young boaters, the 24-mile waterway is packed with people in every nook and cranny during boating season. "With so many boaters on this waterway, we see all sorts of problems that people face," said Daniel. "Whether it's engine failure, dead batteries, or folks who accidentally run aground, we know the types of unexpected issues even the most seasoned of boaters can sometimes face."

TowBoatUS Lake Oconee keeps a 19.5-foot Triton center-console response vessel at The Boathouse At Harbor Club in Greensboro. It is rigged for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings, and is easily recognizable with a red hull and a bright white TowBoatUS logo on its sides. The company is also hoping to eventually expand their coverage area to Lake Sinclair.

While Daniel helms the response boat, Brandy runs the day-to-day operation in the office ensuring things go smoothly. Their 20-year-old son, Jacob, will also be helping during the summer months part-time.

"I enjoy being out on the water, and I love helping people," said Daniel. "I'm on call 24/7, but there's nothing about it that I don't like. It's what I love to do."

Boaters can reach TowBoatUS Lake Oconee by hailing on VHF channel 16, by calling the company directly at 770-314-1478, by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869, or via smartphone using the new BoatUS App.

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