John Wooden, the new owner of TowBoatUS Red Wing, said his love for the waters of the upper Midwest and his longtime career in the marine industry provided the stepping stones that led him to take over the local TowBoatUS port. TowBoatUS is 24-hour on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters
“I’ve been on boats my whole life in this area,” Wooden said. “I have years of experience working in the power sports and marine businesses, and when I came across the opportunity to purchase TowBoatUS Red Wing, it just made sense.”
Much like an auto club for boaters, BoatUS offers on-water unlimited towing memberships for freshwater boaters and anglers for $85 per year. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying thousands out of pocket.
TowBoatUS Red Wing is part of a nationwide network of more than 300 TowBoatUS locations. Providing a safe tow home, a battery jump or a gentle pull off a shoal are their specialties.
Wooden’s 24-hour on-water assistance business services boaters in the upper end of the St. Croix River all the way to U.S. Lock & Dam 4 near Alma, Wis. He’s seen the problems firsthand that boaters can run into on this waterway, with the most common being running aground on rock dams.
“In addition to your typical mechanical issues, the biggest problem here by far is groundings,” he said. “The wing dams in the area keep a navigable channel open, however, powerboaters frequently run aground on them and need assistance getting off.”
Wooden and his three U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains have a good working relationship with local law enforcement in the area, they said, and share a common goal of getting boaters safely home when they get into trouble on the river.
TowBoatUS Red Wing operates a 27-foot Blackfin center-console that’s rigged and ready for towing, jump-starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings any time of the day or night. The boat is located at River Valley Marina and is easily recognizable by its red hull with TowBoatUS logos emblazoned in bright white letters each side. The company also keeps another boat on a trailer that’s easily launchable for flexibility and faster response times.
Boaters can reach TowBoatUS Red Wing by hailing on VHF channel 16, by calling the company directly at 651-380-4634, 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 call 800-888-4869.