New On Water Towing Service Opens on Lake Murray
By Mel Fabrikant Thursday, May 01 2014 @ 02:48 PM EDT
Anyone who knows Captain Hamilton Foster will tell you that “boat” should be his middle name. Foster, and his wife Jessica, are the new owners of TowBoatUS Lake Murray, SC, an on the water towing assistance company. And Foster, who began sailing on Lake Murray when he was six-years old, is thrilled to be able to work on the waters where he grew up.
“I love going out and helping people on boats,” said Foster, who did subcontractor work for a few years for TowBoatUS Charleston. “I think it is a great company. When I heard Lake Murray was available, I jumped at the chance.”
“This is a crazy lake,” he continued. “It has more than 500 miles of shoreline with all kinds of nooks and crannies, and it is extremely deep in some spots and very shallow in others. You can be in 100 feet of water, then in two feet with no rhyme or reason. I know this lake really well, and TowBoatUS Lake Murray will be there to assist any boater who runs aground, has a mechanical break down, runs out of fuel or needs battery jump. We are on call 24/7.”
Much like an auto club for boaters, TowBoatUS offers on the 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 costs that average $600 per incident nationally.
Foster, who used to work as a financial advisor, traded his suits for boating attire several years ago. “Instead of doing something just for the money, I decided to do something I love, and it turns out I am actually good at it,” the 32-year old mariner said. Foster, who holds a US Coast Guard Masters License has run 100-passenger sailing catamarans, corporate yachts, fishing charters, and commercial crew boats. “Pretty much anything you could do on a boat professionally, I’ve done.”
He has big plans for the service he will provide on Lake Murray, with multiple boats and captains ready to assist boaters in need. “I’ve got the boats,” he said, “And as I hire captains, we will be in several locations on the lake, which is huge,” at 41-miles long and 14-miles wide.
His current boat, a 25-foot Boston Whaler with a cuddy cabin, is powered by twin 150-horsepower Mercury outboards. It is painted a distinctive red with words “TowBoatUS“ on the hull, and it is fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel. “It’s a great boat,” he said. For a sea trial he and Jessica took it from Charleston to the Bahamas and back — on their honeymoon last September.
Boaters can contact TowBoatUS Lake Murray by hailing on VHF channel 16, calling the company directly at 803-814-4869, or calling the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869. Assistance can also be summoned via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App, and BoatUS is also the only towing service that offers satellite messaging services with the SPOT and inReach satellite communications services. To see the company’s location on a map, go to BoatUS.com/lakemurray.
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. For more information go to www.BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-888-4869.